The brethren of Hope Lodge No 4003 were delighted to welcome local Grand Lodge officer David Ogden as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to their installation ceremony. David has a long-standing connection with Hope Lodge and he was supported by fellow Grand Lodge officer Graeme Hughes and Wigan Group officers Stewart Blagg, John Lomax and Chris Reeman.
The members of the lodge, based at Ashton Masonic Hall, have been busy! Very, very busy. Busy polishing buttons and ‘bulling’ toe caps, the results of which were much in evidence and the very best of behaviour and military precision was the order of the day! Why so you may ask? Quite simply, it was the occasion when Squadron Leader Martin Morris was to be presented and installed into the chair of this long-established and venerable lodge. Dressed in his best mess uniform and sporting his service medals, Martin was installed into the chair in an exemplary manner by Ted Pierce; it was obvious that much time had been devoted to prepare for this occasion and the many congratulations that followed the ceremony were evidence of that. A dispensation was required for this event due to Martin being the worshipful master of Ancient and Loyal Lodge of Installed Masters No 9762.
An incredible £1,400 of donations were made and gratefully accepted on behalf of the ultimate recipients by David Ogden. West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Prostrate Cancer and Ashton Masonic Hall Building and Development Fund all benefitting.
Retiring after 30 something years as a soldier with the Royal Engineers, achieving the very high rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Martin found the thought of a sedentary civilian existence something he couldn’t consider just yet so he joined the RAF, was appointed Squadron Leader and become a part of their media and communications section. The timing couldn’t have been better as he was seconded to the team responsible for the promotion of the Battle of Britain Memorial, much in the news because of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Martin entered the festive board to the tune of the Dambusters’ March, with all the brethren joining in with arms outstretched, just to make sure he felt at home. In summing up the day, Martin said he was humbled by the whole experience; he rallied his troops, challenging them to find new members to make his year a particularly busy and memorable one, not only in the lodge but also socially, when he would be supported by his partner Elaine.
During the festive board, group secretary Stewart Blagg, who was in attendance and having secretly obtained permission from the WM and director of ceremonies and not wanting to miss such an
opportunity, was allowed to make a very special presentation to two brethren present. By way of background, in May 2015, after more than 10 years of faithful service in the cause of charity, David Ogden and John Parrott retired from their roles as Regional and Group Charity Stewards, respectively.
The Wigan Group members are proud to be associated with these two brethren to such an extent that they wanted to publically recognise their contributions at the earliest opportunity, preferably at a meeting where they would both be present and of course David was the representative of the Provincial Grand Master and John a member of the lodge. Stewart talked fondly of their achievements and commitment, and praised them for everything they had achieved over the past decade and presented each of them with a bottle of their favourite nightcap. On behalf of both, David thanked the group for their kind thoughts and actions, explaining that the job was reward in itself and that they would doubtless continue their efforts for their lodges and the Masonic hall.