Master with a smile

Members of Travellers’ Lodge No 4679 and Master Elect Barry Corcoran welcomed Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, accompanied by grand officer Keith Jackson, to their installation meeting.

While cold, rain, wind and traffic queues made Warrington town centre an unwelcoming place, Warrington Masonic Hall couldn’t have been more inviting as Barry was presented for the benefit of installation by his proposer into Masonry and lodge secretary, John Atkinson. He was then duly installed for the first time into the chair of King Solomon by Peter Hayes, ably assisted by Davor Parker, Charles Carr and Norman Pritchard.

The third working tools were presented by Brian Potter; the second and third working tools were given by junior brethren Christopher Kozlik and Michal Sypula respectively. The master’s tools were presented by Peter Whalley.

Addresses were given to the WM by Ken Smith; to the wardens by Andy Barton (Warrington Group Chairman); to junior brethren by Brian Potter and to the brethren by Harry Cox.

Harry Cox (left) and Barry Corcoran before the master’s chair.

Harry Cox (left) and Barry Corcoran before the master’s chair.

Barry presented Harry with charitable cheques in the sum of £200 to Warrington and Halton Hospital Charity for the Neo-Natal Unit; £300 to National Osteoporosis Society; £200 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £100 to St Rocco’s Hospice. A further non-charitable donation of £100 was made to the Warrington Masonic Hall Company.

53 Brethren attended the festive board, which was an excellent, Christmas-themed four course menu.

After the meal, Harry gave a thoughtful speech, making a point of highlighting the difficult period the lodge had been through over the last few years and the sad loss of senior brethren, but that the remaining brethren had started on the road to recovery, with a positive attitude to the future and the long-term recovery of Travellers’ Lodge.

Harry thanked Peter for his working of the ceremony, particularly at short notice. He praised the two junior brethren doing working tools, Brian Potter for his address to deacons and the secretary and DC for their excellent work.

Barry Corcoran being toasted by Harry Cox.

He provided updates on a number of notifications: of the upcoming Sky TV documentary series on Freemasonry in January 2017; of the thanksgiving services at Warrington St Elphins and Lancaster Priory; of the Membership Pathways Scheme; the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021Festival and of the upcoming meeting in May 2017 at the Opera House in Blackpool, to which he urged all to attend.

The raffle undertaken by the junior brethren raised the impressive sum of £202.

Once again, the ‘Masters Song’ was excellently sung by Norman Pritchard, giving his usual commanding performance.

John proposed the toast to Barry and as part of a lovely speech, and pointed out a fact that is easily overlooked, but which gives the mark of the man: Barry always seems to be smiling. Sure enough, on checking through the photos of the occasion, there is not one of the WM that doesn’t feature that beaming smile.

Barry responded by recounting his excellent tale of joining Freemasonry in New York, recalling the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks, the early internet, and his first impressions of Freemasonry and Warrington. It is too long to recall here, but if anyone meets Barry in person, they really should press him to retell it.

The evening gave all who attended that most precious of gifts: the feeling of a night well-spent in the company of true brethren.

Article written by Eric Miller.

Norman Pritchard toasting Barry Corcoran during the ‘Master's Song’.

Norman Pritchard toasting Barry Corcoran during the ‘Master’s Song’.