When Ian Bethell ascended to the chair of King Solomon in Hartington Lodge No 1021 in 1990 he would never have envisaged that it was to be the first of three separate occasions on which he took on that responsibility. But in 2010 he occupied the chair for the second time and 2015 has seen him record a memorable hat-trick to become the first member to achieve that mark in what is the oldest lodge in Barrow in Furness.
Representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison at the installation ceremony at Barrow Masonic Hall was past group chairman Rowley Saunders. His presence was very appropriate as Rowley is a member of Lodge of Furness No 995 which had joined with Hartington lodge to hold a joint celebration to mark the two lodges reaching their 150th year in 2014.
The immediate past and installing master Ian Thompson had shown throughout his year in office that he was a very capable ritualist and his impeccable work continued as he delivered an accurate and sincere ceremony.
Junior members in the persons of Morton Richardson and Darran Curtis showed great promise in the manner in which they delivered the third and first degree working tools respectively whilst the lengthened version of the second degree tools was presented by a very busy Ian Thompson.
Brian Turton gave the address to the newly installed WM, Harry Chatfield that to the Wardens and Ken Boon delivered the address to the brethren. They were all undertaken with the aplomb and assurance to be expected from such respected past masters.
The proceedings of the evening came under the calm guidance and watchful eye of Mike Jenkins who stepped down as director of ceremonies after five years of service. He had obviously put in a lot of work at rehearsals to ensure that he left on a high note.
Mike was replaced by Graham Benson who, after being invested with the collar and jewel of his office, had his duties explained to him by his father-in-law Barrie Bray. Barrie had given Graham advance notice that he would be revealing the signification of the Hebrew characters which were engraved on the baton which the director of ceremonies in Hartington lodge carries instead of a wand. Despite meticulous examination, Graham could not make them out at all.
On the day Barrie revealed to an anxious Graham and the enthralled onlookers that the badly worn characters, which had now become so eroded as to be indecipherable to the naked eye, was an acronym of the English letters TBSH; the letters standing for the phrase ‘the buck stops here!’
In conveying the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master, Rowley mentioned the excellent work Ian Thompson had done on behalf of Hartington lodge saying that he had proved a prolific visitor and excellent ambassador.
Rowley was then presented with a donation of £1,493.74 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. He was also presented with a further cheque for £150 towards the donation that the group would be making to the same charity following its hosting of the 2015 Provincial bowling event.
Amongst the 125 members who retired to enjoy a banquet after the ceremony were nine past masters of other lodges who had served in the chair during Ian Bethell’s first mastership in 1990.
In toasting the new master, Ken Boon was once again called into service to give a rendition of the master’s song.
With Ian Bethell being a noted ritualist and two propositions for membership made on the day, Hartington Lodge No 1021 can look forward to a busy and productive year.