A visit to Hawkshead Lodge No 4354 is always a pleasurable event and especially so when it is the installation meeting. The lodge is held in the centuries-old Market Hall situated in the main square of the beautiful village of Hawkshead.
There is not a quiet time in the Lake District nowadays and the gentle bustle of the many tourists and walkers adds an almost holiday feeling to the day as you make your way through these most picturesque of settings to the meeting.
Before installing master Tim Gill could go about the business of installing Geoff Biddulph as his successor he had, however, one last duty to perform in his year of office. The Hawkshead Surgery of the Central Lakes Medical Group has moved to new premises. There was no government money on offer to equip the building so the good folk of Hawkshead banded together and raised £35,000 to ensure the surgery was properly fitted out.
As part of that local community, Hawkshead Lodge decided that they would like to do their bit. A Last Night of the Proms concert held in the Market Hall together with regular raffles amongst the members meant they were able to present a cheque for £2,364 to local GP, Dr Jane Rimington.
Accompanied by other lodge members Tim went to the surgery to make the presentation. Jane Rimington commented: “We are very grateful to the Freemasons of Hawkshead and indeed the people of Hawkshead as a whole who have shown great community spirit in helping us equip the new surgery. The donation will be used to pay for cabinets for the storage of patient records.”
Tim added: “When we mentioned helping to equip the surgery the thought of cabinets for the patients’ records did not spring straight to mind. However the secure retention of such records are an essential part of the day to day running of the surgery and they do not come cheap. We are pleased to join in with the rest of the community in supporting this venture.”
Following this pleasant duty there was a return to the Market Hall for the main business of the day. Awaiting Tim was principal the guest, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder. David was accompanied by four grand officers and 10 acting Provincial grand officers. Furness and South Lakeland Chairman Peter Schofield, his deputy Gary Rogerson and secretary Alan Pattinson were also in attendance.
The processional entry of David into the lodge was heralded by a fanfare from lodge organist Paul Gregson. A noted professional organist, Paul’s skill with the instrument is such that he manages to make it sound as if a complete musical ensemble is present. His musical prowess adds significantly to any proceedings of the lodge.
Tim was assisted by Barry Wilson who shared a portion of the work of installing Geoff. Together they undertook the ceremony with great feeling and sincerity which was a delight to observe. As David afterwards mentioned, Tim can reflect on a job well done as well as a year in which he has served the lodge well, being a regular visitor and excellent ambassador for Hawkshead Lodge.
The working tools were presented by Dennis Batey, David Cole and Andrew Thompson. David Kellet undertook the address to the newly-installed master; Barry gave the address to the wardens and Phil Burrow orated the address to the brethren.
All performed their part in a very pleasing manner which attracted much favourable comment from those watching on.
David later praised Dennis, the long standing lodge director of ceremonies, for the work he must have put in to ensure a ceremony of such a high standard was delivered.
Following the ceremony the room was transformed into a dining room with 80 members and their guests enjoying good food and friendly company well into the evening. For many the happiness of the occasion continued as they re-joined their wives at the nearby inns and hotels where they had booked overnight accommodation.
Road works on the usual route to Hawkshead from the direction of Barrow meant a slightly longer journey via the A5084 and A593 for many of those attending. As alternative routes go the journey was a very tolerable one as these roads skirt the western side of Coniston Water and the scenic route formed a fitting preface to what was a very enjoyable occasion.