Ian Elsby hits a six

Ian hits a six, but forget about cricket. Ian Winston Elsby has just become WM for the sixth time. He first occupied the chair of Harmonic Lodge No 216 in January 1994 and remained as master the following year. In 1999 he was again installed as master for what he thought was the last time. However, as commonly happens in most lodge’s, a gap on the ladder of progression required a willing member to step in and this year Ian found himself once again a ruler in the Craft.

John James (right) congratulates Ian Elsby.

John James (right) congratulates Ian Elsby.

Ian has also been WM of both Croxteth United Service Lodge No 786 and Coronation Lodge No 2923 in 1996 and 2002 respectively.  Ian has not taken on the roles in order to break any records; he simply thoroughly enjoys his Freemasonry and will not hesitate to take on any duty in order to help the lodge. Ian recently became a joining member of both Old Crosbeian Lodge No 4992 and Lathom Lodge No 2229, so watch this space.

The installation meeting itself was not without incident, the original representative due to attend was substituted. The grand officer appointed sadly became bedridden a few days before the meeting and had to tender his apologies. Gladstone Group Vice Chairman John James, found himself representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and stepped up to the challenge with ease.

Following confirmation of the minutes, lodge director of ceremonies Jimmy Murphy, announced that John and the other grand officers were without and sought admission. They were admitted, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer David Kenworthy. The WM John Owen, greeted John James with a wish that he should enjoy the evening and thanked him for standing in at such short notice. The lodge was opened in the second and third degrees and the subsequent salutations given. John James thanked the brethren on behalf of his colleagues in grand lodge and Clive Brook responded on behalf of his colleagues in Provincial grand lodge. The master Mason’s lodge was adjourned and labour resumed in the second degree to enable fellow crafts to be admitted and the master elect to be presented.

John James responding to the toast to the grand officers.

John James responding to the toast to the grand officers.

Harry Kinney was requested by the WM to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Phil Marshall to occupy the junior warden’s chair and Geoff Holly to continue to act as inner guard. Ian was presented by Keith Dowell, who will shortly be celebrating his diamond jubilee. Keith, as ever carried out the duty with perfection, as the members have come to expect from their past DC. Ian then repeated the obligation of master elect in a perfect and sincere manner.

Fellow crafts again retired, followed by brethren below the rank of an installed master. A board of installed master’s was declared and Ian installed into the chair of King Solomon in a perfect manner by John, who was subsequently collared as immediate past master, a collar he has worn on three previous occasions. Ian was declared as WM for the ensuing year and saluted by the past masters. In turn, master Masons, fellow craft and entered apprentices were admitted to greet and salute the newly installed master of Harmonic Lodge.

Ian then appointed his officer’s, Ron Cain as SW and Colin Campion as JW. Re-appointed were, Clive Brooke as treasurer, Eric O’Callaghan as secretary, Jimmy Murphy as DC, Geoff Holly as almoner, Gerry Carson charity steward and Harry Kinney as mentor. Also re-appointed were Phil Marshall as assistant secretary and John Donnelly as ADC. Terry Croker and recently raised Barry Huxley were appointed deacon’s and fellow craft Malcolm Porter as IG. Brian Jones was again invested as tyler. Three stewards were appointed, Craig Gould, Paul O’Callaghan and Tommy Murphy. The ADC John Donnelly addressed the deacons, IG , stewards and tyler.

The address to the WM was given by his oldest friend of over 60 years Geoff Holly, who had learnt the address for the first time and managed to make a perfect delivery. Clive Brooke gave the address to the wardens in a perfect manner as he always volunteers to take this part. One of Ian’s personal guests Ernie Waites, gave the address to the brethren, normally the duty of the representative, but without any notice, Ernie stepped up to the breach to deliver a perfect and sincere address to the brethren of the lodge.

John Donnelly sings the master’s song.

John Donnelly sings the master’s song.

At the conclusion of the ceremony of installation, John James rose to congratulate Ian, the installing and immediate past master John Owen and all the brethren who had participated in the ceremony. He particularly congratulated the DC, who had orchestrated the whole proceedings with dignity and solemnity. He also brought greetings and good wishes of the PrGM Tony Harrison. Ian then had the pleasure of handing over cheques to the value of £1,250; £250 to Maghull Young Adults Social Club, £250 Woodlands Hospice, £300 WLFC and £400 MCF 2021 Festival.

During the first rising, the secretary said he was in receipt of a Grand Lodge certificate for the newly appointed junior deacon Barry Huxley and was duly presented to Barry by John James. Grand officers then retired followed by the stewards who had been informed of their duty to wait upon the senior brethren serving pre-dinner refreshments. As it is the tradition of the lodge to ‘call off’, the brethren and guests then also retired to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and to toast Ian as the new WM.

37 member’s and guest’s joined Ian to enjoy a fine meal with copious amounts of wine. The toast to grand officers was given by the SW Ron and received a response from John, who amongst other topics, reminded the brethren of the forthcoming group dinner and the importance of continuing to support the MCF 2021 Festival. John also said some kind words about the Gladstone Group Publicity Officer Phil Marshall, who was present at the meeting.

The toast to Ian was proposed by the IPM John and was immediately followed by the master’s song, which was sung by the ADC John Donnelly and of course the members and guests joined in with the chorus by toasting the master as well as each other. Ian’s response was typically witty with a touch of seriousness. The group treasurer Ian Walton was one of the WM’s personal guests and eagerly responded to the toast to the visitors. The last toast of the evening was in the hands of the tyler Brian Jones. After which, the lodge was called from refreshment to labour and by command of the WM closed by the SW in perfect harmony. The end of a very memorable evening.

Pictured from left to right, are: Ron Cain, Ian Elsby and Colin Campion.

Pictured from left to right, are: Ron Cain, Ian Elsby and Colin Campion.

Article and photographs by Phil Marshall