John Harrop was proclaimed as the worshipful master of Stretford with Trafford Lodge No 4379 and is occupying the chair of King Solomon for the second consecutive year and his fifth time as WM.
The principal guest was Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Stuart Shea accompanied by grand lodge officers, Alec Neilson, Brian Everall, Tony Eddden and Alan Wolstencroft. Also in attendance was the Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley and group secretary Patrick Walsh.
Immediate past master Stephen Rhodes proclaimed John into the chair of King Solomon in a solemn and sincere ceremony. The working tools of the third degree were presented in an excellent manner by Paddy Wilkinson, the second degree tools by Stephen Rhodes and the first degree tools by Paddy Wilkinson. The address to the worshipful master was given by Tony Edden and the address to the wardens by Graham McHugh.
On conclusion of the proclamation Stuart rose to extend the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and paid tribute to all the brethren who had taken part in the ceremony. John then presented Stuart with a £500 cheque for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for which Stuart accepted and expressed his gratitude saying that it would be faithfully applied.
At the festive board, Stuart responded on behalf of the grand officers by wishing John a healthy and busy year and thanked him for taking the chair for the second year in succession. He also announced that John had been appointed with Provincial acting honours as Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and commented that this appointment was well deserved.
Stuart brought with him the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master and conveyed the message that we must all enjoy our Freemasonry and to extend this enjoyment to non-Masons and for Masons to speak freely and openly about Freemasonry. He said that people do not like change but emphasised that we must be prepared to change and to introduce new ideas to encourage men to join Freemasonry. We must be more open and transparent to attract recruitment but not forgetting that of retention of our present members which is supported by our mentoring scheme.
In conveying a message from the PrGM, Stuart said that Tony was looking forward to his forthcoming visit at the next regular meeting of Streford with Trafford Lodge to celebrate the unveiling of the restored Architect Lodge No 1375 tracing cloths. Stuart concluded his response by thanking Stephen Rhodes for his toast and the brethren for the manner in which they had received it.
The master’s song was sung by Peter Dowthwaite accompanied by Peter Brown.
The worshipful master of Swinton Lodge No 6100 Alan Saunders responded to the toast to the visitors as the newest WM on the circuit. He passed on the traditional ‘black spot’ to John and said he looked forward to seeing John on the master’s circuit.