The members of Equity and Appleton Lodge No 1384 were honoured with the news of a new candidate seeking admission. Andy Carroll has been on the radar of a couple of members at Widnes due to a strange coincidence in where he lives. Andy is from Weston Village, Runcorn and has lived there since 2002, which is nothing strange but the road and estate where he spent those years has a unique link with Masonry in Widnes. This road has yielded over the years, five Masons, including Andy, who have all looked to the Masonic Hall on Kingsway, Widnes for their Masonic career. These include, a past group chairman and our current group chairman Derek Williams and two other Widnes Masons. Andy is a Freelance Inspector and Consultant in the oil and gas industry and has also previously worked as a chemist and quality engineer.
Prior to his enquiries about masonry, Andy had been known for many years to Derek Williams as a friend and neighbour to his mother. Because of this connection it was Derek to whom he looked to for the final guidance needed to cement his long standing interest in the Craft. This in turn gave Derek the greatest of honours that can be given and that is to propose a friend into Freemasonry. It was also a special occasion for Derek, due to him occupying an office in the lodge, so was more involved with the initiation ceremony for Andy.
Not only was this a first for Andy, it was also a first for several of the officers of the lodge, namely Dave Penney who exercised his role during the ceremony as junior deacon with great passion. The worshipful master of the lodge Chris Douglas was also delighted to be able to perform his first initiation ceremony after many months of practice. Unfortunately the lodge junior warden Ian Edge couldn’t be present due to other commitments and so couldn’t deliver the working tools to the new brother. Thankfully, Brian Rafferty the assistant director of ceremonies was on hand at the 11th hour to happily step in and deliver the ritual, again like Dave Penney, it was of the highest standards.
Another brother who rightly deserved credit and the adoration of the brethren is that of Bob Winch. Bob had the significant task of delivering a part of the narrative in the form of the ancient charge which he did with great feeling, achieving something that many couldn’t do. In all, every brother in the lodge played a part in the ceremony, even if it was just a friendly greeting or handshake in the bar before the ceremony and was proud to welcome Andy into the lodge. It was clear from Andy’s face that the initiation ceremony and Masonry in general had already had an impact on him and that he would no doubt enjoy a long Masonic career in the Craft and other degrees.
With the ceremony over, the brethren moved into the hall for the meal and the toasts of the evening. One of the most important toasts on the evening was that to the candidate and it was for Derek Williams to propose this toast to Andy Carroll. Derek, amongst other items, encouraged Andy to visit other lodges and specifically visit another initiation ceremony as it might clear up some of his questions. Andy responded accordingly and thanked Derek for the opportunity and support he had. Andy also thanked the brethren for the friendship they had extended to him and that he was anxious to return to the lodge and experience more of what it had to offer.