More than 40 brethren assembled at Widnes Masonic Hall to witness the installation of Ian Edge as master of Equity and Appleton Lodge No 384. The principal guest on this occasion was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton.
Master of the lodge Derek Williams opened the lodge and completed the usual administration before progressing up to the third degree. The director of ceremonies Derek Parker requested permission to retire for a short time and returned to announce that Kevin Poynton Assistant Provincial Grand Master stood without and demanded admission. Kevin was admitted and processed in, proceeded by acting Provincial deacons Stuart Parker and Keith Gatley and accompanied by grand officers Alan Locke, David Redhead and Widnes Group Chairman Neil Pedder.
Derek Williams welcomed Kevin, the dignitaries and visitors, trusting everyone would have an enjoyable evening and offered Kevin the gavel of the lodge. Kevin responded in kind and thanked him for the warm welcome before returning the gavel, saying that he felt assured that the lodge was in good hands.
Salutations were given to Kevin, grand officers and Provincial grand officers. Derek then had a pleasant duty to perform by presenting cheques to the value of £2,200 to charities with various recipients, thanking the brethren for their generous donations and that the monies would be faithfully applied
Derek asked Mike Burwin to occupy the senior warden’s chair; Peter Carter to continue as junior warden and Alan Lowe to act as inner guard for the next part of the ceremony. Derek adjourned the lodge to the second degree. The master elect Ian Christopher Edge, was presented to the installing master by Norman.
Ian was installed by Derek into the chair of King Solomon in an exemplary and sincere manner which was appreciated by all those present. The lodge of installed masters was closed and the brethren were admitted in the three degrees with appropriate proclamations made by the director of ceremonies and with the working tools of the three degrees present by David Penny, Chris Douglas and Brian Rafferty respectively.
The new master then appointed and invested his officers. It was announced that the lodge secretary was standing down, at which point Mike Parker, on behalf of the lodge, thanked Trevor Price for the service he had given to the lodge over the last 19 years. Trevor responded accordingly.
The address to the new master was given by Neville Pritchard; the address to the wardens by Norman Speed with the address to the brethren of Equity and Appleton Lodge was given by the principal guest, Kevin Poynton.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Kevin brought congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, wishing Ian good health for his year in office and congratulated the installing master Derek Williams for all the hard work he had put into the ceremony to ensure his successor was placed in the chair in an exemplary manner. He continued by congratulating the director of ceremonies Derek Parker for the calm way he performed his duties and concluded by wishing all those who had taken office a successful and enjoyable year. A collection then took place which raised a total of £164.
After Ian had closed the lodge, the brethren retired to the festive board in the Alan Locke Suite. The catering staff served a starter of mushroom soup, homemade steak pie with chips and vegetables and meringue nest with fresh fruits followed by tea or coffee and a choice of red or white wines.
In response to the toast to his health, Kevin remarked that he was very happy to be in the company of so many distinguished grand officers. He went on to mention that 2017 marks the 300-year anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England and also that the Province is hosting the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and thanked the lodge for their efforts in their fund raising.
He congratulated the newly appointed group officers and seriously implored the lodge members (and indeed all the members of the Widnes group) to help and support the new group officers, pointing out that looking after a smaller group is in many ways more demanding as there is always a fine balance between maintaining the group’s history and identity and becoming part of one of the other groups.
Kevin brought his own personal greetings to the new master and immediate past master and indeed to all those who took part in the ceremony. He paid tribute to the immediate past director of ceremonies Derek Parker on his handling of the proceedings and thanked him for the work he had done, and indeed what he was going to do in the future by becoming the assistant director of ceremonies and keeping a watchful eye until the new director of ceremonies had settled in.
On behalf of the grand officers he thanked the senior warden for his toast to their health and the rest of the brethren for the way in which it was received.
Immediate past master Derek proposed the toast to the new master, stating that Ian had commenced his Freemasonry in a shower of sparks and loud bangs as he was proposed on 5th November 2009! He recalled his initiation in March 2010 and he immediately gave him the impression that he was going to be a keen and dedicated Freemason. Thankfully, he said, those first impressions have been sustained and here he was, reaching the pinnacle of Freemasonry within his lodge. He went on to say that he felt proud and privileged to have placed Ian in the chair of King Solomon and thanked him for his support and friendship and wished him every success and the best of health in his year of office and beyond.
The song to the master was performed by Norman Pritchard in his usual humorous but also sincere way. He was accompanied on the piano by musical director Ray Illingworth.
Ian responded to his health by saying that Derek had been not only an exceptional brother, he had also helped him every step of the way on his climb up the ladder and was proud to call him a brother, mentor and best of all, a friend. He went on to say: “I have massive shoes to fill. I mean, it’s not every time a new master gets to follow on from a grand officer in the chair. In fact, it was during Derek’s master-ship that he was rightly honoured by the United Grand Lodge of England with the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, this being the first (and hopefully not the last) grand lodge appointment for a member of Equity and Appleton Lodge.” So, he concluded; “I really have massive shoes to fill.”
At the end of a marvellous evening the tyler’s toast was presented by the acting tyler, Graham Platt.