The brethren who gathered at Fleetwood Masonic Hall to witness Mark Blundell being installed for the second time into the chair of Fleetwood Lodge No 3711 were honoured to have as their principal guest Assistant Provincial Grand Master Duncan Smith.
Mark, a stalwart of the lodge, was initiated into Fleetwood Lodge in 1997 and was first installed as master in 2003. Mark has served his lodge with distinction, acting as director of ceremonies for two years. In 2012 Mark moved to the role of secretary where he continued his stellar work as prime architect of the lodge’s centenary celebrations in 2014 when he single-handily wrote a superb 32- page centenary history.
Mark, who was born in County Durham, attended school in Fleetwood where he played rugby (scrum half). Even after he left school, he continued playing into his late 30’s, when a knee injury forced him to retire. The knee injury hasn’t stopped him running a couple of marathons or cycling around the Wyre area though. He likes to watch Sale Sharks and is a season ticket holder for Blackpool Football Club (well no one is perfect!).
The lodge was opened with the regular administrative lodge business quickly dispatched with by the WM Brian Crawford who, with the greatest of skill had opened the lodge to the third degree, when there was a knock at the door. Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and member of the lodge Jason Dell entered to announce that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Duncan Smith stood without and demanded admission. Duncan was accompanied by fellow grand officers Peter Greathead, Keith Jackson, Neil MacSymons and Ted Vollans, together with North Fylde Group Chairman John Cross and acting Provincial grand officers Jayson Jackson, Tony Fletcher and Mark Mallinson.
As is customary with such a distinguished guest, Brian formally welcomed Duncan to the installation meeting and offered him the gavel of the lodge, which Duncan tactfully returned to Brian’s safe keeping.
Once the salutations had been completed, the installation moved into high gear with Nick Cutting, Mark’s friend and fellow Sale Shark supporter, presenting him for installation. Brian proceeded to install Mark in what was an excellent ceremony from start to finish.
The third degree working tools were presented by Jason Dell; those of the second degree by Jimmy Murry and Peter Ward presented the first degree tools. The address to the wardens was given by the hard-working lodge secretary Chris Carnell, and to complete the addresses, Duncan Smith addressed the brethren of the lodge with consummate skill.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Duncan conveyed the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the lodge members and visitors. Duncan congratulated the new master Mark and thanked Brian for his hard work over the past years. Mark then presented Duncan with cheques for £500 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £250 to the Friends of Fleetwood Memorial Park and £250 to the National Coast Watch.
At the festival of St John, the brethren enjoyed both the company of their fellow Masons and a superb three course meal at which Duncan was able to bring his own congratulations to the new master and plaudits to everyone who took part in the ceremony.
Duncan referred to his previous role as Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals of the Royal Arch and asked any brother who has not yet joined the Royal Arch to consider it, as it is a colourful degree and a completion of their journey in Freemasonry.
As a member of a lodge that meets at Fleetwood Masonic Hall himself, Duncan thanked those members who had taken on executive roles and urged the members to use and support the hall that had been their home for 60 years.
The master’s song was rendered in the dulcet tones of John Darrell and a raffle raised a handsome amount of £207. To conclude the evening’s celebrations the Tyler’s toast was given by Bob Bennett.