Harthill Lodge No 8443 is a relatively young lodge being only some 43 years since its consecration. A lodge which prides itself on the quality of its ritual as well as the warmth of its welcome, something that was plainly evident in equal measure at the installation of Ken Jones. The lodge also has a proud history of father and son membership and this was to be demonstrated to wonderful effect later in the evening’s events.
As is the usual custom on such occasions the Provincial Grand Master, if he is unable to attend himself, sends a representative in his stead, and it was with great delight to the lodge members when they found that past Garston Group Chairman Syd Ford was to be the representative.
The business of installing Ken was undertaken by the current WM Mark Richardson who has enjoyed a most enjoyable and fulfilling year in office. Prior to asking Jim Gwyther and Les Brooks to assist him in the installation by occupying the chairs of SW and JW respectively, Mark requested that all the officers of the lodge line up in the north and he then thanked everyone for their help and support during his year of office.
The time came for Syd to enter the lodge and DC George Hudson informed the WM that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master sought admission and the lodge stood to welcome Syd who was joined by current group chairman and fellow grand officer Howard Griffiths.
The installation ceremony was one of integrity and warmth in keeping with the esteem in which Ken is held by the brethren of Harthill Lodge and by the many guests who had joined Ken on his special evening.
On taking the chair of King Solomon the time came for Ken to invest the officers for the ensuing year and he showed a father’s pride when he appointed his son Graeme as his senior warden. However, on a sadder note, after holding an office in the lodge for some 41 consecutive years and due to his impending house move to Rutland in the East Midlands, George Hudson stood down from active office.
As the ceremony neared its completion, the moment came for the address to the new master and the look of total surprise on Ken’s face when group vice chairman Ken Bradley stood to deliver the address was a source of much amusement to all. The two Kens, having worked together for many years, are old friends and Ken Bradley, unknown to the WM, had asked if he could be permitted to deliver this most personal of addresses.
On the completion of the ceremony Syd stood to offer the congratulations of the PrGM to the new WM expressing the hope that Ken would enjoy a happy and healthy year in office. Syd said that if the PrGM had been present, he would have no doubt congratulated Mark and all the officers who took part for the excellence and sincerity of the work this evening.
It then fell to Ken, in his first official duty as the new WM, to present Syd with two cheques in support of the charities; the first for £300.00 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the second for £100 to the Garston Masonic Hall Building Fund. On behalf of those who would ultimately benefit from these monies Syd expressed thanks for such generous contributions.
Concluding the evening’s events, a very happy and enjoyable festive board was ably managed by newly appointed DC Jim Gwyther. In his response Syd added his own personal congratulations to the WM and all who had taken part in the ceremony. The highlight of the festive board was as is usual, the singing of the master’s song. However, making the event even more special, the singing was led by professional singer and lodge member Bill Wenton who, on his night off from his work was only too pleased to ensure Ken’s night was as memorable as possible by a wonderful rendition of the song.