Richard (Rick) Whelan was installed as master of Jubilee Lodge No 5555 in a delightful ceremony, performed by the installing master Malcolm Cooley, ably assisted by the lodge DC Hugh Jones. On this occasion the principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder, accompanied by the group chairman Steve Bolton, the group secretary and grand lodge officer David Rhodes, who was attending as a visiting master.
The 43 members and guests witnessed a polished and exemplary performance by Malcolm as he installed Rick into the chair of King Solomon. This was an extra special day for Rick as it was his first time as WM of a lodge. He was presented for installation by Keith Ackers, and as Rick had not been installed in a master’s chair before, the ceremony was carried out in full by Malcolm.
The working tools in the third, second and first degrees were presented by Hugh Jones, Stephen Reid and John Stansfield respectively. At the conclusion of the actual installation part of the ceremony, Rick was addressed in a flawless manner by Frank Cameron. Joe Collier was installed as senior warden and John Stansfield as the junior warden. In both cases the WM reminded them of their duties and responsibilities, with the wardens being addressed by Ken Maltby. The address to the brethren, delivered by the principal guest, concluded the installation ceremony.
David then brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, commenting that it had been an excellent ceremony led by Malcolm who had performed the ritual in an exemplary and very enjoyable manner. He was delighted to see a first time master taking the chair and wished him a rewarding and fulfilling year in office. Finally, he congratulated all the brethren of the lodge who had a part to play in the day’s proceedings which had made the ceremony so pleasing.
In response, Rick thanked David for his kind and generous comments and for his attendance before presenting him with a charitable donation of £555 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
The installation proceedings closed with the presentation of a past master’s jewel to Malcolm as the retiring master. The presentation was made by Joe Collier in an endearing manner, thanking Malcolm for all the work he had done during what had been a busy year for the lodge. In reply, Malcolm thanked Joe for all the support he had given him during his Masonic career.
Later in the evening, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, David commented that Jubilee Lodge was consecrated in 1935 and that although today we live in a different world, standards have not changed. Masonry must move with the times with the principles and tenets of the craft being packaged in a format that is in line with today’s world. He was pleased to note that, during the current Masonic season, Preston will enjoy the induction of 15 new initiates into the group, and taking the province as a whole, the average age of initiates is now 47. He encouraged the brethren to talk openly about their Masonry to friends and associates; in doing this you open the door to potential candidates who may be looking for a contact. Equally, should the opportunity arise, members should be proactive by asking contacts if they are interested in Freemasonry.
David went on to thank Steve Bolton for his invitation to attend the Jubilee Lodge installation and on his own behalf, congratulated Rick on his installation wishing him good health for what would hopefully be a busy year ahead. He extended his congratulations to Malcolm for his work in the lodge and the contribution he had made to the Preston Group during his year in office.
David continued by reminding the brethren to enjoy their Masonry and above all look after the new members entering the lodge. As he said earlier, times have changed and communication with the younger brethren needs to be in today’s terms and directed from their point of view.
David thanked the lodge members for their generous donation to the WLFC. He asked brethren, if relevant, to use the “envelope scheme” when making charitable donations. By this means, donations receive tax relief that, in the past year, has resulted in the WLFC benefitting to the tune of £91,000 at no extra cost to the brethren. David concluded by encouraging brethren to support their Masonic halls. When the Province had 30,000 members, the halls had little difficulty in maintaining their viability. However, today with membership now around 10,000, things are more difficult.
He closed by reminding brethren that we are all aware of what Freemasonry contributes to the community at large in a quiet and reserved manner. However, we need to be making people outside Masonry aware of what we do in that direction.
Malcolm Cooley had the pleasure of proposing the toast to the health of the new master. He was pleased to say, Rick was a very enthusiastic Mason who will be an excellent ambassador for the lodge. He wished him well and above all to enjoy his year in the chair during which he will have the full support of the lodge brethren.
Following Malcolm’s toast, the brethren were treated to a delightful rendition of the master’s song by Philip Laker accompanied by John Whittall on the piano.
In his response to the toast to his health, Rick thanked the lodge for the honour and privilege of serving as master. He certainly felt this represented the pinnacle of his career so far. He went on to thank Keith Ackers for being his proposer into Freemasonry and Malcolm for the excellent manner in which he had placed him in the chair. Gratitude went to the lodge DC for all his support and help in the lead up to the installation. Particular thanks for their attendance and support on this special occasion went to the brethren of the Lodge of Sincerity No 8085 and Blackpool’s St John’s Lodge No 2825.
Rick concluded by thanking the lodge secretary, Vic Parker for organising a dinner for the ladies of the lodge and their friends which was taking place in an adjacent room within the hall.