Pharos Lodge No 7421 held their 2022 installation at Fleetwood Masonic Hall and, for the first time since the start of lockdown, Peter Draper who had held the mastership for three years, passed on the lead on to his successor.
There could be no better successor than Father John Hall; the Provincial Grand Chaplain of West Lancashire. Fr John has served the community of Fleetwood as Vicar of St Peter’s and St David’s Churches for the past 141/2 years, a position from which he has just retired.
Quite apart from his work in Freemasonry, during his time in Fleetwood his achievements cannot be denied. This saw the inception of Faith in the Community, which is made up of two local Christian-based groups, developed and supported by the Roman Catholic parishes of St Wulstan’s and St Edmund’s and Church of England St Peter’s and St David’s. Working with Canon Alf Hayes, Fr John Hall developed a group to explore working together and merging their community projects into one provision.
Among his many community roles that he has been involved in, John is the treasurer for The Pantry, a local food bank which he helped found with colleagues from other churches and organisations in the town. He is also a governor of Chaucer School from where the girls’ choir came to the church’s Harvest Festival. Father John is truly a man who typifies the purest principals of Freemasonry; brotherly love, relief and truth.
The installation meeting was opened and conducted, in what can only be described as his own style, from the Latin password communicated to the Tyler and Inner Guard which raised a laugh amongst the brethren to the mixture of Pharos Lodge and Old Wellingtonian Lodge No 3404 ritual (where Peter Draper is a member) which saw the eyebrows raised on the long-suffering lodge director of ceremonies Dennis Smith.
Once Peter had opened the lodge to the third degree it was time to receive Stuart Thornber, the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews. Stuart was accompanied by Peter Greathead, Jason Dell, the North Fylde Group Chairman John Cross and acting Provincial Grand Deacon Paul Smedley.
Once greetings had been exchanged and the formalities of the salutations completed the lodge was returned to the second degree and Peter requested the assistance of Jason Dell, John Eastwood and Andy Curtis to act as installing officers.
Peter then handed the master’s chair to Dennis Smith to start the installation, whereupon Fr John was presented by his proposer into Freemasonry Greg Groves. Prior to the lodge entering the inner workings, the chair was returned to Peter to complete the installation, which he did in fine style.
Thereafter the working tools were expertly delivered by Clive Chorley, Liam Burns and Paul Troughton, the address to the master was given by Greg Grove with Dennis Smith delivering the addresses to the wardens and deacons. Jason Dell showed his experience by giving the address to the stewards leaving the final address to the brethren of the lodge in the more than capable hands of Stuart Thornber.
Once the installation was completed, Stuart had great joy in bringing the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews after which John Presented Stuart with cheques for £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ charity and £500 to the Alzheimer’s Society.
The brethren duly retired to the comfortable surroundings of the bar and ultimately the dining room, where they enjoyed an excellent meal and great company at which a raffle raised £200 and the Master’s Song was rendered by the lodge’s own singing superstar John Darrell with the curtain being brought down by Ian Glass giving the Tyler’s toast.