As the warmth of the welcome within Ulverston Lodge No 7872 permeated over the 105 brethren and visitors alike, it heralded a most enjoyable and splendid ceremony to follow. The brethren of the lodge were not to be disappointed.
They were extremely pleased to welcome Assistant Provincial Grand Master Frank Umbers as the principal guest. He was accompanied by Peter Schofield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master responsible for the Furness and south Lakeland Group. On entering the lodge, Frank commented straight away on the friendliness and camaraderie he had received since entering the building.
Accompanying them were grand officers David Grainger, Roly Saunders, Alan Jones, Barrie Crossley, Phil Preston and Barry Fitzgerald. Also adding that touch of colour and an ever ready smile were Gary Rogerson, Chairman of the Furness and South Lakeland Group, with acting officers Tim Gill, David Shaw and Mark Little.
Installing master, Craig McNicol, did not let the very important fact that it was his birthday, de-rail what turned out to be in a fantastic display of ritual from everyone who took part. Frank could not help but describe the ceremony as ‘outstanding!’ Craig opened his last lodge meeting as master in a superb manner, creating an atmosphere which was matched by all those who took part.
Before placing Frank in his rightful seat as principal guest, Peter Schofield thanked Craig for his hard work in the previous 12 months, as he had been a great ambassador for his own lodge and the group. After greetings from United Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge, the installation of Anthony Taylor (Tony) was set to begin. Before proceeding, however, Craig thanked the brethren of Ulverston Lodge for all their support and hard work.
Craig installed Tony in a sincere and atmospheric manner. Tony will look back on what transpired in years to come and realise the dignity and commanding style that Craig adopted as he placed him into the master’s chair. Les Preston, the organist, allowed his fingers to dance once more over the keys and at 98, was still able to add that bit extra to complement the ambiance that had already been set.
Having been placed in the master’s chair, Tony then with utter confidence, conducted his lodge in an assured and distinguished style. Alan Tomlinson recited the working tools of an installed master beautifully. The working tools in each degree were faultless, as Kevin Cassley, Michael Bibby and David Lamb, all light blues, orated the third, second and first degree tools respectively. This was another outstanding moment, that again complimented the tone of the whole ceremony.
Tony continued the excellence when he addressed the senior and junior wardens and he never missed a word. Once all the officers were in place, Les Preston (the younger) orated the address to the master in a faultless and superb style. Gary Rogerson recited the address to the wardens in a touching and word-perfect style. Frank, not to be out done, followed with another faultless piece of oration, when he addressed the brethren of the lodge.
On bringing the greetings and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, Frank relayed his message of wishing Tony a happy, successful, enjoyable and busy year in office. The installing master was again thanked by Frank for all his hard work today and for all his work throughout the last year. He continued by wishing all the brethren good health to continue enjoying their Freemasonry.
Tony was delighted and extremely pleased to present Frank with two cheques as his first task as master. A sum of £1000 was given to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, whilst £500 was donated to the Building Fund of the Ulverston Masonic Hall.
Following the end of the formalities, the 95 brethren stopping for the banquet were treated to a fine two course meal at the ‘Old Mill’, Bardsea. Frank, at the banquet, used the word ’immaculate’ when expressing how he felt with regard to what everyone had witnessed in the Masonic hall. He stressed that everyone who had anything to do: “Was in the right place and their timing was perfect.” The hard working director of ceremonies, Alan Hilton and secretary, Gordon Evans, were thanked profusely and acknowledged.
Before the evening drew to a close and the stand-in tyler gave the final toast, Tony was able to announce that £276.65 was raised in the lodge room and £575 from the raffle. A truly memorable and outstanding evening for Ulverston Lodge and their many visitors.