After 10 years of leaving the chair of his mother lodge, Gordon Sandford was installed into the chair at Old Lerpoolian Lodge No 9270 at the Geoffrey Hirst Masonic suite within Woolton Golf Club to melodic tunes played on the organ by the West Lancashire Provincial organist Stephen Derringer and as there were several retired military officers present. Stephen played some rousing melodies and marches.
In the absence of the worshipful master, Steven Baker OBE, Gary Devlin was invited to take the chair for the ceremony. Gary opened the lodge to the first degree and after the opening business had been concluded the director of ceremonies Rob James was admitted informing Gary and the brethren that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews was outside and was seeking admission.
The lodge was pleased to welcome Stewart Cranage accompanied by grand officer Guy Story and Mersey Valley Vice Chairman John Gibbon who were warmly welcomed by Gary and then they took their seats. Rob James requested the brethren to salute Stewart Cranage who afterwards suitably replied.
Gary opened the lodge to the second degree and Mike Cunliffe presented Gordon Sandford as master elect. Gordon reaffirmed his obligation, and the lodge was opened to the third degree where Gary requested all below the rank of an installed master to retire from the lodge. This allowed Gary to install Gordon into the chair of King Solomon in a sincere manner. Guy Storey presented the working tools of an installed master which was received well by all past masters present.
The lodge resumed work in the third degree and master Masons were readmitted and after greeting the new WM, had the explanation of the working tools presented by Gary. Fellow crafts were readmitted and the working tools of the second degree were delivered in full by Rob James in a confident and eloquent manner. Entered apprentices were readmitted and the working tools of the first degree were delivered by Geoff Roberts. After Gordon had appointed an invested his officers for the ensuing year, Gary delivered the address to him after which Stewart Cranage delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge.
The ceremony of installation being completed Stewart rose to bring the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master saying that Mark knew that he was attending the ceremony and even knew the name of the WM as he had been in his presence the evening before. Stewart congratulated all the members of the installing team saying that it had been a genuine and sincere occasion and had Mark been present, he would have been very pleased to witness such a ceremony, particularly the explanation of the tools delivered by Guy Storey and Rob James.
Gordon had great pleasure in presenting Stewart with a cheque for £750 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity which Stewart received saying that it was a very generous donation. Gordon asked the brethren to stand to order in respect of departed merit for Fred Hulse who unexpectantly and suddenly passed to the grand lodge above on 22 February.
After grand lodge communications had been dealt with, Rob James formed the procession to retire and requested brethren to stand as Stewart, along with other grand officers and John Gibbon retired from the lodge. After other Masonic business had been concluded the lodge was duly closed.
At the festive board, Steward gave his personal congratulations to Gordon and in his usual jocular manner, particularly as he had been given some detailed information from Gordon’s personal guests, Guy Storey and John Stancliff, before informing the brethren of news from Grand and Provincial Grand Lodge.
The reply to the toast to the guests was given by Guy Storey who had known Gordon for many years and this brought about some hilarity. An excellent evening was ended by the tyler proposing the last toast.
Story and pictures by Colin Roberts.