Centurions of Merseyside Coronation Lodge No 2923 is a grand sounding name for a lodge which was consecrated in 1902 as Coronation Lodge No 2923, and then renamed in 2018 as the Centurions of Merseyside was added. The lodge serves as a home for serving/retired members of HM services and uniform public services and connections, although it is keen to stress it is not exclusive in its membership, there are many and varied professions of its members.
The Artist Club, Eberle Street, Liverpool is the lodge’s home and it was thronged with many visitors from far and wide for the annual installation ceremony, with a delegation from Sussex, Jim O’Hara, Langport Lodge No 8072, Brian and David Peck, from Royal Connaught Lodge No 2676, including a past assistant Provincial Grand Master of Sussex and Michael Harris from Knight of the Road Lodge No 3673, more of which to follow.
WM Andrew Ince, having greeted everyone in the lodge and wished that they have a fantastic evening and was looking forward to catching up with everyone at the festive board, opened the lodge in solemn form. The first business of the evening was to ballot for a joining member, Professor Michael Anthony Jones.
Regular readers of the Gladstone Group news pages may recall that at the 2022 installation meeting of the lodge, Michael was the representative of the Provincial Grand Master and delivered a wonderful speech to the lodge of how, as a member of the Royal Air Force band, he felt very at home in the lodge. Michael had enjoyed the evening so much, that he was returning this time as a joining member. The ballot proved unanimous in his favour.
Director of ceremonies Aaron Banks announced that David Anderton, the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, stood without. Andrew announced the lodge would be delighted to receive him, and a delegation consisting of David Anderton, Michael Thomas and Michael Harris, entered the lodge. Director of ceremonies, Aaron, formally introducing Andrew to David.
The lodge then opened in the second and third degrees, and after the necessary salutations, were attended to, Andrew resumed labour in the second degree and requested Geoff Green to honour the lodge and occupy the chair of senior warden, following suit and asking Gordon McKinnell to occupy the chair of junior warden. Lodge secretary Bob Patterson and Brian Gillbanks then presented Jim Ramsay as master elect for the benefit of installation.
Andrew having recited the necessary qualifications, requested that Jim proceed to the pedestal. Jim recited his obligation as master elect perfectly. Having requested that all those below the rank of an installed master leave the lodge for a short period, Andrew then requested past master Hughie O’Neill to honour the lodge and occupy the chair of King Solomon.
Hughie performed the ceremony of installing a master superbly, which was a treat for all those present to watch it performed so well. Once Jim had been installed as WM, the board of installed masters was closed and master Masons were admitted. Hughie instructed the master Masons to perform the necessary salutations and then delivered the working tools of a master Mason. Fellow crafts were admitted and again, Hughie, instructed fellow crafts with respect to the salutations and delivered the working tools. Finally entered apprentices were admitted and this time the salutations were given as well as hand clapping the number of the lodge, Hughie then delivered the working tools of first degree.
Following the investment of officers, Geoff Holmes gave the collar address to the senior warden, with Gordon McKinnell giving the collar address to the junior warden. A superb address to the master was given by Glenn Hornby, with Roy Hayes following suit with an address to the wardens. Finally, David Anderton gave the address to the brethren of the lodge. At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, David rose again to give his best wishes as representative of the Provincial Grand Master, and to congratulate newly installed WM Jim and the immediate past master Andrew and installing master Hughie O’Neill, as well as all of the brethren who had taken part in an impressive installation ceremony.
Jim requested David to please accept a cheque for charity on behalf of the lodge, David explaining that the lodge had raised the magnificent sum of £350 for the Blind Veterans Charity. The lodge business being duly completed, master Jim then closed the lodge for the first time and all retired to the fine dining rooms of the artists club.
The lodge is well known for its hospitality and camaraderie of the festive board and this celebration helped to cement that reputation. Principal guest David Anderton always gives a very humorous speech and this event was no exception with the brethren and visitors enjoying David’s quick wit and once again he extended his congratulations to the new master Jim, wishing him and the lodge well for the ensuing year.
Immediate Past Master Andrew Ince, rose to congratulate Jim and thanked all of the officers and brethren for their support during his year as WM, and that he wished the same to Jim and said that the lodge was in the very capable hands of a new master to take the lodge forward on a new chapter. The brethren were vociferous in their support of that toast to the health of Jim.
In response to the toast to the visitors, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Sussex, Michael Harris, exclaimed what a delight it had been to attend such a wonderful installation ceremony and having enjoyed the camaraderie of the festive board surrounded by the portraits of the presidents of the artists club. Echoing David’s comment and on behalf of the many brethren from Sussex who had attended the ceremony with him, as well as all of the other visitors from other lodges, he also brought his congratulations to Jim and the brethren of this distinguished lodge on a fantastic occasion.
It was soon time for the finale of the evening with the rendition of the Master’s Song in the capable hands of Peter Duggan, with the members and visitors keen to join in the chorus. Peter kept all in line so the song was perfectly executed and on-time. A very enjoyable evening and a highly recommended visit to this distinguished lodge.