As the festive board at the installation meeting of Abercromby Lodge No 3699 was peppered with bad jokes, why not start off with one. If Bjorn and Benny of that famous Swedish group wore long black overcoats, could they be wearing an Abba Crombie? No, this is not where the lodge name originates. This venerable lodge which was consecrated on the eve of the Great War on 3 January 1914 was actually named after nearby Abercromby Square, in those days a fashionable location filled with merchant’s homes and also the palace of the Bishop of Liverpool.
The installation meeting was a serious but entertaining evening. Representing Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was Kevin Peter Poynton Assistant Provincial Grand Master who was accompanied by his close friend, Sam Robinson. They became good friends when they were both Provincial Assistant Directors of Ceremonies. Sam is currently an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals.
The evening began when the WM, Adam Byrne, opened the lodge with the assistance of his wardens, Darren Doyle and John Bell. Prior to confirmation of the minutes, Adam requested all those present to stand in respect of departed merit, for Ian Fisher who had recently passed away after a long illness. Ian was a member of the lodge and was highly regarded by all the members and will be sadly missed.
The lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees when the DC, David Byrne retired and swiftly returned to announce that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master was without and he demanded admission. The brethren then stood to receive Kevin Poynton, accompanied by Ian Sanderson the Gladstone Group secretary together with other grand and Provincial grand lodge officers. Adam welcomed Kevin with a hope that he would have a very pleasant evening and offered Kevin the gavel. Kevin accepted but quickly returned it, saying that he was confident that Adam had obviously put in a lot of rehearsals and was bound to produce an excellent ceremony. Salutations then followed to Kevin, grand and Provincial grand officers. In turn, they thanked the brethren and greeted them well. The master Masons lodge was adjourned and labour was resumed in the second degree. Adam then proceeded to request past masters to assist him by occupying the warden’s chairs for the ceremony of installation. Peter McIntyre as senior warden and Peter Ramejkis as junior warden, Adam also requested Norman Byrne to act as inner guard.
Brian Kendrick then presented Darren Doyle as master elect to Adam. Darren assented to the ancient charges and regulations before taking his place in front of Adam to repeat his obligation, which he did in a perfectly delivered and concise manner. Labour was resumed in the third degree and after wards all those below the rank of an installed master retired and a board of installed masters was declared. Adam then proceeded to install Darren into the chair of King Solomon in a sincere and perfectly performed ceremony. Darren was declared as worshipful master for the ensuing twelve months and saluted accordingly. He was then saluted by master Masons, fellowcrafts and entered apprentices in turn. The working tools in each degree were presented and explained. The third degree by Brian Kendrick, second degree by Peter Ramejkis and first degree by Adam Byrne.
Darren then appointed his officers for the ensuing year, John Bell as senior warden and Matty Riley as junior warden. Brian Kendrick was appointed as secretary.
The address to the master was given by Dudley York Summerskill who also addressed the wardens. Kevin Poynton addressed the brethren of Abercromby lodge. Addresses were all given with an obvious sincerity.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Kevin immediately rose to congratulate Darren as the newest ruler in the province. Kevin also congratulated the installing master, Adam and the DC, David on the smooth running of the evening’s proceedings and the fine work demonstrated.
Darren then had the pleasure of presenting a cheque to Kevin made payable to the Northwest Air Ambulance, for the sum of £400. Together with recent giving of £600 to the TLC bears appeal and £410 to the 90th Air Cadets Squadron (Speke), it meant that a total of £1,410 had been donated. For such a small lodge, it was indeed a magnificent achievement. At this announcement, the brethren applauded loudly.
Following grand lodge communications, Kevin and other grand lodge officers processed out of the Empire Room escorted by the Provincial deacons and led by acting Provincial officer, Ian Walton. Once the lodge was closed, 30 members and guests then crossed to The Crosby Suite for pre-dinner drinks where Kevin was delighted in proposing a toast to Darren and his installing master, Adam.
All present then took their seats to enjoy a fine meal with an ample supply of wine. Following the toast to grand lodge, Kevin took pleasure in responding, adding much humour as well as in the most serious part, promoting the MCF 2021 Festival. Kevin was particularly impressed by the fact that all the progressive offices were occupied by master Masons, a spectacle very rarely seen these days. He also reminded the brethren to look out for the forthcoming documentary to be shown on Sky TV, which offered an insight into the work and practices of Freemasons. The toast to the WM was proposed by Adam who also presented the Hall Stone Jewel to Darren.
Michael Alexander then took to the floor to sing the master’s song and was accompanied at the end of each verse, by the tuneful brethren and guests. In response to his toast, Darren, who has only been a Mason for six years and less experienced than most men in this position, pointed out that although he was in effect the captain of the ship, he felt confident as he was surrounded by many experienced river pilots who would guide him along.
Finally the tyler, Gil Smith gave the tyler’s toast. The end of a perfect evening full of happy memories for Darren and all the members of Abercromby Lodge.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall.