Members and visitors of Prince Leopold, Doric and Parkfield Lodge No 1588 were most honoured and delighted in receiving Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, to their installation meeting. Howard was accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton, Mike Adams, (South Eastern Group Chairman) and fellow grand officers Tony Johnson, David Durling along with other Provincial grand and distinguished members, all being admirably directed by Malcolm Bell, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
The general lodge business having been efficiently convened by the worshipful master Wallis Marshall, there then came an expected knock on the door whereas the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies requested admission. Malcolm entered the lodge room and announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master stood without and demanded admission, where with much delight to the members and visitors alike, Howard entered the lodge room in ceremonial procession accompanied by his entourage of grand officers.
Howard, having been introduced was promptly offered the gavel of the lodge by Wallis, there was a slight hint that Wallis would have been most pleased to have handed it over, but Howard was of course ensured that Wallis and his team had perfected their ceremonial standard by practice and much preferred to see their ceremony from his own seated position.
Wallis commenced the ceremony of installing Brian Lowe into the chair which was completed in a most sincere manner, for Brian, this being the third time in his Masonic career as master of a lodge. The working tools of a master Mason were presented by Dr Stephen Brookes, the second degree working tools by David Benson and the first degree working tools by Roy Eaton.
The lodge officers having been invested, lodge director of ceremonies Grant Simcoe, continued with an address to the master and finally, Howard presented a most heartfelt address to the brethren of the lodge.
On completion of the ceremony, Howard rose and brought the congratulations and good wishes for a happy and healthy year from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Howard said: “Had Tony been present, he would have witnessed a dignified gentle ceremony, meant with such sincerity and so well done.”
Howard congratulated the installing master, Wallis on his work and indeed all those other members of the lodge who took part in the ceremony. Brian responded by thanking Howard for his very kind words and for his communication of congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master. Brian, on behalf of the lodge members then presented a charitable donation to Howard, by way of an envelope containing a cheque.
In amusement, Howard initially responded by saying on how receiving ‘window envelopes’ usually reminded him of their contents containing a ‘bill’ but in fact in this case clearly not, as inside the envelope was revealed a cheque for £250 made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Howard thanked the lodge members on behalf of the charity and on behalf of those who we may never know or meet, that will ultimately benefit from their very kind generosity.
During the festive board, Howard gave an excellent response to his toast, where he offered his own congratulations to the lodge members, saying he thoroughly enjoyed the installation meeting.
He continued by making reference to a number of subjects such as the 2017 tercentenary, along with Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent’s work on steering the Provincial sub-committee appertaining to that event. Howard put a question to the brethren: “How many members had discussed Freemasonry with others who were non-Masonic that day? A response to which showed six hands being raised, “A higher than usual response” said Howard. But the message was clear, that the public need to see a change in the perception in their views about Freemasonry and that it is down to us as members to communicate as such.
Howard said he had been looking forward to visiting the new Urmston Masonic Hall for quite some time, he paid his own tribute to the committee and all those who were involved in the organisation, inception, development progression and continual running of the hall and we should continue to promote, utilise and support the facilities to the fullest. On a final note, Howard touched on the subject of our own Freemasonry in that we should all continue to enjoy what we personally experience in being a member of a great fraternal organisation.
The very friendly and jovial festive board, which had continued well into the evening, then concluded after a most enjoyable meeting.