More than 90 brethren assembled at Garstang Masonic Hall to witness a first-class ceremony, which saw Robert James Hughes installed into the chair of St Michael’s on Wyre Lodge No 8348.
The principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Francis (Frank) Anthony Umbers, who had travelled up from the depths of Liverpool to be with the brethren on this special occasion. Frank was especially appreciative for the company of fellow grand officers Malcolm Worsley, Jim Wilson and Raymond Firth, as well as Lancaster and District Vice Chairman Scott Devine, group secretary Chris Larder and acting Provincial grand officers Paul Mason, David Parker, Steve Lowe and Ben Yates.
WM Frank Hogarth ensured the initial business of the meeting was dispensed with in as timely a manner as possible, before the director of ceremonies Allan Brown entered the lodge room to inform the WM and brethren that the APrGM stood without and ‘demands admission’. On entering the lodge, the WM welcomed Frank to the installation and hoped he had a pleasant evening. On being offered the gavel, Frank replied that he knew for certain that it would be a wonderful evening, as he was aware that there had been five rehearsals for this installation and given that was five more than he had, he was passing the gavel back to ensure success – a very pleasant and humorous way to start the afternoon.
Malcolm Rowlandson had the privilege of presenting James Hughes as master elect for the ensuing year, before installing master Frank Hogarth expertly placed James in to the master’s chair, with the lodge DC Allan, ensuring the proceedings were smoothly conducted.
The working tools of an installed master were explained by Bernard Snape, followed by the third degree working tools being presented by David Williamson. The second and first degree working tools were delivered by David Gardner and Cyril Whitehouse respectively. The address to the master was given by David Catterall, that to the wardens by Peter Pemberton and the all-important address to the brethren by Frank Umbers.
Following the appointment and investment of the lodge officers, Frank rose to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who had asked him to extend his best wishes to James, the newest ruler in the Craft and the master of such a very distinguished lodge. Frank added, that they had witnessed a sincere ceremony and thanked DC Allan Brown and all those brethren who had taken part, in making it a day to remember.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Frank presented cheques and notices of disbursements by the lodge during the past year of £5494. This included £2040 to the MCF 2021 Festival, a sum which now entitled the lodge to receive Patron status. A certificate recording the lodge’s endeavours was presented to the WM by the group assistant charity representative Andy McClements.
A further £1450 was also presented, the money having been raised when the previous IPM David Christopherson had been in the chair. The two sums together totalled a magnificent £6944. On behalf of the eventual recipients, Frank thanked the brethren for their generosity.
At the Festival of St John, held in the Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, Frank was able to bring his own greetings and in particular marked out the standard of ritual evidenced during the ceremony. Frank particularly praised the brethren who had presented the working tools so effectively. In conveying the thoughts and wishes of the PrGM, Frank discussed the MCF 2021 Festival and congratulated the lodge on achieving ‘Patron’ status, as well as all the other brethren present who had taken out pledges and were wearing their festival jewel.
He moved on to speak about the benefits of membership of the Royal Arch and how this is the foundation for all the other degrees in Masonry. He concluded in stressing how we should make sure that we support our Masonic halls and ensure that they are run successfully for the future.
Following the toast to the master by Frank Hogarth, the master’s song was sung by John Darrell without accompaniment. The WM James Hughes having replied to his toast, the brethren made their home, secure in the knowledge they had witnessed a superb evening all round.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.