On a damp morning in Cleveleys, Ken Hart was installed into the chair of Bispham-with-Norbreck Lodge No 4731 for the second time. His previous installation took place in 2014. The ceremony was expertly performed by WM Peter Gratrix.
Peter invited Dave Sangster of Norcliffe Lodge of Good Hope No 6937 to be the installing senior warden and Roger Lloyd Jones of Thornton and Cleveleys Lodge No 3854 as the installing junior warden, with Emile Timothy of Onward Lodge No 5540 as installing inner guard. Keeping order in the proceedings was director of ceremonies Gordon Major.
Representing the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, was grand officer Jim Woods, who had been the WM of this lodge in 2003. Accompanying Jim were Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, Regional Charity Steward Ted Rhodes, North Fylde Group Chairman John Cross and vice chairman Tony Farrar, Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar Peter Bracegirdle and Russell Forsyth Provincial Junior Grand Deacon.
The brethren present witnessed a calmly delivered ceremony by Peter and once he had placed Ken into the chair, the master Masons were invited to return and some fine explanations of the working tools were delivered. As if he didn’t have enough to do, Peter delivered the tools in the third degree himself, Derek Broadbent in the second degree and John Whitley in the first degree.
Proceeding with the ceremony, the address to the WM finely delivered by James Rashid, the address to the inner guard expertly delivered by Emile Timothy and an excellent address to the brethren of the lodge by Jim Woods.
On the announcement that the ceremony was concluded, Jim rose again to bring the greetings from the Provincial Grand Master. He congratulated Ken on being installed for the second time and also congratulated the brethren involved for the amount of work they had put in to prepare for this installation ceremony. He particularly praised Peter Gratrix by saying: “What a magnificent ceremony it was.”
Before Jim resumed his seat, Peter handed him several cheques for charity. These totalled £1,000. Jim received these with grateful thanks on behalf of all those who will benefit from the lodge’s generosity.
During the risings, greetings from the grand officers were offered by Harry Cox. He congratulated the members who had delivered the working tools, adding that it was no surprise to him that Peter had done so well throughout, as he’s a legend for his skills at delivering ritual.
The lodge was shortly after closed and the brethren retired to the bar and thence to the banqueting suite where they sat down to a fine repast of broccoli and stilton soup, braised steak with seasonable vegetables and cherry brandy pie.
Responding to the toast to the grand officers, Jim Woods again thanked the lodge for the hard work that had been carried out during the meeting. This time he also thanked lodge secretary John Whitley for his assistance and information prior to the event. He went on to thank the North Fylde Group Chairman for the hard work carried out by him and his executive officers during the year.
Jim then thanked Russell Forsyth for his frequent visiting as an acting officer. Jim also urged the brethren to make sure that they spoke to new and younger members and how this would support the efforts to promote mentoring and thus increase membership.
After a short proposal of the toast to the WM by Peter outlining Ken Hart’s school history, his work with the scouts and his career in the Lancashire Constabulary, a unique rendition of the Master’s Song was jointly performed by Roger Jones and Peter Baldwin, supported by Malcolm Burrill on the piano. They were joined by all the brethren present in a rousing last verse of the song, which as ever, ‘lifted the roof’ and was a fitting tribute to the new master.
In his response, Ken thanked Peter for his kind words and he thanked Harry Cox, Ted Rhodes and Jim Woods for their company. He thanked everyone for their support and the lodge officers for a memorable installation.
Before the festive board ended, a raffle was held with several fine prizes which raised the sum of £255 towards Masonic charities. The final toast at the end of an excellent meeting was proposed by Gordon Ivett, the guest tyler.