A good turnout with a plethora of grand and acting Provincial grand officers were in attendance to support Tony Farrar as he was installed as master of Dona Conferentes Lodge No 9392. Known affectionately to members and friends as “Dona’, the lodge draws its members from the ranks of almoners and charity stewards. The workings are akin to Bristol workings at all installation ceremonies, closely shepherded by the director of ceremonies South Fylde Group Vice Chairman John-Robbie Porter
With the usual administration swiftly dealt with, immediate past master Frank Kennedy was pleased to receive two new joining members, Jeff Lucas and Chris Tittley into the lodge. They both received a warm welcome before being presented their lodge bye-laws and took their places in the lodge.
The principal guest, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, was received into the lodge, along with several distinguished brethren. The usual salutations to the principal guest and other senior and grand officers were led by John-Robbie Porter who was then invited to occupy the master’s chair for the purpose of installing master elect Tony Farrar. Frank Wilkinson, John Wrennall and Rodney Greenall were asked to remain as senior warden, junior warden and inner guard respectively prior to Tony being presented by David Rotherham.
After the opening addresses Tony reaffirmed his obligation, the lodge was opened in the third degree and junior brethren were asked to retire while the installed masters placed Tony into the chair in traditional style. In customary manner, all brethren were then welcomed back into the lodge, which was closed back down to the first degree with John-Robbie explaining the working tools in every degree. He really was a busy boy at the meeting!
Frank Kennedy delivered the address to the master, David Randerson delivered the wardens’ address with cool precision and David Grainger expertly delivered the address to the brethren.
At the banquet that followed, many accolades were paid to John-Robbie for an excellent ceremony of installation. He stood behind the speakers, having resumed his role as director of ceremonies and listened to the plaudits with suitable aplomb.
In reply to the toast to grand officers, David Grainger voiced his own congratulations and those of the other grand officers to the master, new officers and members of this ‘unique and special lodge.’ He commended them for the time and effort spent in the care of others and their contribution to the Provincial care team, which is the envy of other Provinces.
He encouraged everyone to use the group and Provincial websites, which will have information on the tercentenary events to come.
He spoke of the new Sky TV series entitled ‘Inside the Freemasons’ and hoped that it will dispel many of the myths and half-truths commonly held about our Order. He hoped that it will encourage men of good character to become Masons as it was important to attract the right sort of men to join us.
David offered his congratulations to Duncan Smith and Ian Ward who will receive grand rank in Royal Arch. On this point, he encouraged brethren to join the Royal Arch, adding that members need to be ambassadors for that degree and encourage other Craft Masons to join. David offered his thanks to grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their continued support on this and other occasions. He concluded by thanking lodge secretary Mike Casey, treasurer Danny Chester and director of ceremonies John-Robbie Porter for all their hard work both upstairs and down.
In toasting the new master, John-Robbie reminisced on having known Tony Farrar for many years and particularly during his rise within South Shore Lodge No 4672. John also spoke of Tony’s progress as a member of other Masonic Orders and is now a grand officer in some of them. He told of Tony’s efforts in the foundation of the current organisation of moving the lodge effects to the various venues visited. He finished by wishing Tony a happy and healthy year as master of the lodge. John-Robbie’s speech was followed by the master’s song by Hugh Mett, who introduced some humour while toasting with the wardens.
Tony Farrar’s response was a series of thanks to several brothers past and present. He thanked David Grainger and Harry Cox for giving their time to attend the meeting. He thanked North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith for his hard work for the group. Tony heaped generous praise on John-Robbie Porter for his continued commitment to the lodge, adding: “I can’t thank you enough for stepping up and doing so much work.”
Hugh Mett received Tony’s thanks for his special song. Tony also thanked his brother Jez, current master of South Shore Lodge and his brother-in-law Chris Keogh for attending. He emphasised his anticipation of working with the fantastic team assembled for the ensuing year and made special mention of his predecessor as secretary David Rotherham for his continued help. Tony concluded by offering thanks to Mike Casey, who was always on top of everything and has improved on what has already been done by previous secretaries.
David Randerson proposed the toast to the founders of the lodge, six of whom were present at the meeting. He thanked them all for the work they had done to make the lodge a success and exhorted the brethren to recruit current almoners and charity stewards to join and generate the future membership of the lodge.
Before closing, a raffle was conducted by lodge charity steward David Brumwell. This raised £228 and with other charitable giving the total sum raised for charity at the meeting was over £400. The final toast of the meeting was proposed by the new tyler Glenn O’ Brien.