The installation meeting of Lune Lodge No 4724 attracted much praise from Phillip Gunning Assistant Provincial Grand Master when he attended as the principal guest and witnessed what he described as a ‘cracking ceremony’ performed by Ben Benabda in placing his successor, Shaun Hughes into the chair of the lodge.
Joining Phillip at Rowley Court, Lancaster was group chairman Jim Wilson, together with acting Provincial grand officers Peter Pemberton PrSGW, Andrew Bartlett PrGReg, Paul Thompson PrJGD, Gary Wright PrGPurs and Richard Dennison PrGStwd.
The seemingly unflappable lodge director of ceremonies Neil McGill led the deputation of distinguished guests into the lodge room and affected the introductions prior to appropriate salutations being rendered.
The installing master Ben was advised by the guest of honour to ‘relax and enjoy the occasion’ and did his best to comply. The master elect Shaun Hughes was presented by Neil McGill who later gave an inspiring delivery of the address to the master. The installing master had obviously taken note of the earlier advice he had received and proceeded to carry out the ceremony with a calm and dignified competence.
A trio of talented brethren added further lustre to the performance with their magnificent explanations of the working tools in each degree. Phil Tarbun explained those of third degree, Paul Morgan those in the second and fellowcraft Adam Foxcroft put the ‘icing on the cake’ with his faultless performance of those of the first degree. Equally, impressive ritual was performed by experienced Masons Phil Knipe and Norman Jarvis with the addresses to wardens and brethren respectively.
At the completion of the ceremony, Phillip Gunning wasted no time in tendering the congratulations and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new master and his immediate past master. He also made a particular mention of the work done by the three brethren who had delivered the explanations of the working tools and to underline his admiration for their work, he walked around the lodge to commend them individually.
Following on from this fine and well received tribute, the guest of honour himself was the recipient of the next item of good news in the form of cheques and details of charitable donations made by the lodge. He was both delighted and gratified to announce that a grand total of over £2,300 had been distributed with the main beneficiaries being the Alzheimer’s Society and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
In receiving the greetings of the many visitors at the final stages of the ceremony, the new master was particularly delighted to welcome the brethren from Lodge Dumfries Kilwinning No 53 who were led by their RWM William Burnett. An undisclosed source revealed that ‘so frequent were the visits of these Scots brethren to the Lancaster area that some of them were developing a distinctly Lancashire accent!’
At the Festival of St John held in the Rowley Court dining suite, a very enjoyable evening was further enhanced by good food and companionship. In making the customary response to the third toast, Phillip added his personal congratulations to those he had communicated in the meeting. He continued by admitting that an internet search for information on the name ‘Lune’ had revealed little other than that it was the name of a river that has its source in Cumbria, runs for 44 miles and empties into Morecambe Bay at the Lune Deeps. He then segued into a ‘fishy story’ concerning a salmon called Rusty and a recent literary work, that at its conclusion had his audience both laughing and groaning with disbelief at the blatant use of several puns! On a more serious note, he observed that Lune Lodge had a grand history and that it would soon see the celebration of its centenary. He suggested that it was incumbent on its present members to uphold the stewardship of that trust that had been gifted to them so many years ago by the founding members.
At the conclusion of his remarks, he repeated his best wishes and thanks to the master, officers and brethren of the lodge and offered congratulations to those lodge members who had received notification of appointment to or promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge. In particular, he congratulated Peter Pemberton and Neil McGill on their pending appointments to the offices of group vice chairman and group secretary respectively. He ended by warmly thanking group chairman Jim Wilson and the acting Provincial grand officers for their support in attending.
In proposing the toast to the newly installed master, Derrick Hughes, the father of the new WM was uniquely placed to provide some revealing and potentially embarrassing anecdotes. However, he refrained from causing his son Shaun too much embarrassment by restricting his speech to the pertinent and salient highlights of his career in both the RAF and later at British Aerospace. It rapidly became clear that Lune Lodge need have no concerns regarding its course in the coming year, as its new master was an eminently skilled and accomplished navigator especially in the displacement of Tornado fighter aircraft!
Following this touching tribute from father to son, the master’s song was performed by Bob Palmer with accompaniment by John Heaton. The response from Shaun drew enthusiastic applause for both its brevity and sincerity and he ensured his continuing popularity with Phillip by presenting him with a bouquet of flowers as a gift for his wife.
Once again, charity was the beneficiary of another excellent evening of enjoyment, with the ‘master’s swindle’ staged by the present masters in office, often referred to as ‘that motley group’, adding a generous £45 to raise the total to £325 for the evening. It just goes to show what a good ‘catch’ for charity can be landed from the Lune!