Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder was the principal guest at Exemplar Lodge No 5075 installation held at Swinton Masonic Hall. David was accompanied by Stuart Boyd (Eccles Group Vice Chairman) and acting Provincial grand officers Ian Lynch, David McKee and Tom Fredrickson.
The lodge was opened by Edwin Schofield (past master), who then passed the gavel over to the director of ceremonies John Jones to continue with the ceremony. John was standing in for the WM Jim Billington who unfortunately was unable to be there due to ill health. The ceremony commenced with Ken Alker being installed into the chair of King Solomon in an exemplary ceremony performed by John, ably assisted by Edwin Schofield and other past masters and brethren of the lodge, this being Ken’s fifth time in the chair of this fine lodge, his first time being in 1992.
The third degree working tools were presented by Jeremy Dootson, the second degree working tools by Edwin Schofield and the first degree working tools by John Jones. John then presented the newly installed master with the Hall Stone Jewel, explaining the significance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War and that he should wear it with pride during his year of tenure.
Ken then appointed his officers for the ensuing year, himself being appointed the almoner of the lodge to which Stuart Boyd explained the duties of this important office. The address to the worshipful master was given by grand officer Tony Edden and that to the wardens by Edwin Schofield. David Winder gave the address to brethren of Exemplar Lodge.
On conclusion of the ceremony David rose to his feet to convey the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who had expressed his gratitude to Ken for taking the chair of this fine lodge for the fifth time. David also thanked John Jones for the wonderful work he had carried out during the ceremony, expressing that he had expected nothing less from him. David then, with the worshipful master’s permission, approached his acting officers and brethren who had taken part in the ceremony, thanking them personally for their contribution. Ken responded by thanking him for attending his installation and said that it had been enhanced with his presence. Ken then had the pleasant duty of presenting two cheques to David on behalf of the members of the lodge; £250 to Swinton Masonic Hall and £250 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. David duly thanked Ken and the lodge members for their kind presentation on behalf of those recipients who will benefit from it.
The festive board lived up to its usual high standard that has become expected of this lodge. In his response to the toast to the health of grand officers, David wished Ken a busy and enjoyable year in office once again. David said that he was delighted to reply on behalf of the grand officers and to have their company. He said to look at the names on toast list No 3, that of: Peter Geoffrey Lowndes (Fellow Institute Chartered Surveyors); educated at Eton, Jonathan Spence (CEO London Bank) educated at Trinity College Oxford, Sir David Wooton (Corporate Lawyer) past Lord Mayor of London, educated at Jesus College Cambridge and David Winder poor and penniless, retired police officer, educated St Saviours County Primary School Bamber Bridge, to which the brethren responded in raptures of laughter.
David had obviously done his homework when he referred to the year that the lodge was consecrated, it was the year that Lindberg completed the first transatlantic flight and perhaps more in keeping with the lodge, Mickey and Minnie mouse were shown together by Walt Disney.
Once again, David extended his congratulations to Ken on becoming the WM of the lodge and said that there is no doubt that he is an experienced Mason and that he has benefited from his experience from other orders and that he would drive forward another chapter in the life of the lodge, which is what you expect from an electrician, always portative, highly charged, wired for sound and totally switched on.
David said that the Provincial Grand Master had asked him to mention several key areas, that of recruitment, retention, retrieval, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the importance of looking after our Masonic halls. He also mentioned the importance of communications and publicity and that stories must be fed through the publicity officers to post articles on the website.
Personal greetings went to Stuart Boyd from David and he thanked him for his support and company and asked that he pass on his best wishes to the Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley for a speedy recovery. He also extended his best wishes to Jim Billington and to his wife and wished Jim a speedy recovery and a speedy return to the lodge. He thanked the brethren for providing such a happy and vibrant afternoon and evening and making him so welcome.
Ken presented David with a bouquet of flowers for his wife on allowing him to play out to which David suitably responded. Stuart Boyd also presented David with the traditional Eccles cakes which David said he would share with his good lady for his supper.