The presence of the newest Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Malcolm Bell, at the installation of Matthew Brady into the chair of Wyre Lodge No 7704 proved to be very popular with over 50 members and guests present. As ever the brethren were ready to witness a fine ceremony and the officers and brethren of the lodge duly obliged.
With the lodge business being dealt with expertly by WM Stephen Kerrigan, lodge secretary Dan Whalley and lodge treasurer Steve Hagen, the lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees in preparation for the admission of the principal guest. The director of ceremonies, Bob Hopwood, then retired to form the procession for the principal guest and hie retinue.
Stephen Kerrigan then invited his installing officers to take post and a knock on the door indicated that the director of ceremonies was ready to lead Malcolm Bell and his entourage into the lodge. Supporting Malcolm on this occasion were grand officers Jim Woods and John Robbie Porter, North Fylde Group Chairman John Cross, and acting Provincial grand officers Russell Forsyth, Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and Provincial Grand Steward Robert Marsden.
Salutations were extended to Malcolm Bell who suitably responded, then to grand and Provincial grand officers and received responses from Jim Woods and Terry Seddon respectively. At this point the WM invited past master Tony Blundell to occupy the chair and the master elect was then presented. He was advised of the ancient charges by Dan Whalley, to all of which he submitted, then he advanced to the pedestal and recited his obligation with great confidence and style.
Tony then invited all below the rank of an installed master to retire and the new WM was installed according to ancient custom. The presentation of the WM’s working tools was given in an excellent delivery by Mike Thistlethwaite, a past master of Wayfarers Lodge No 7544.
On their return to the lodge, the master Masons saluted and greeted Matthew Brady as the new master in all three degrees and the working tools were presented by Alan Berwick in the third degree, Clive Chenery in the second degree and Bert Openshaw in the first degree. All three brothers excelled in their work, however, Clive’s rendition of the ‘long’ explanation of those in the second was the subject of much praise for the second year in a row. The excellence of these brothers and the installing WM was particularly impressive, a point noted by Jim Woods and Malcolm Bell in their responses during the risings and at the festive board.
A particular highlight of the meeting was address to the WM given by Graham Brady, father of the new WM. The address to the wardens was given in a superb delivery by Terry Seddon. Almoner Michael Winrow received an address from Blackpool Group Almoner Peter Mann and the inner guard, Paul Hagen was addressed by Alan Berwick. Then Malcolm Bell delivered a fine address to the brethren of the lodge to round off a wonderful installation ceremony.
With the installation ceremony complete and the greetings of Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews ably delivered by Malcolm Bell, the WM had the pleasure of presenting Malcolm with cheques and a list of the charitable donations made by the lodge during Stephen’s mastership. The combined total of all donations amounted to the staggering sum of £10,410. Malcom thanked the lodge for their generosity and described this as, ‘a fantastic sum of money for any lodge to donate’,
With the final items of lodge business completed the lodge was closed and the brethren and their guests retired to the bar and then to the banqueting suite.
An enjoyable festive board then ensued. Responding to the toast to the grand officers Malcolm Bell congratulated the lodge and the IPM on a very successful year. He gave thanks to group chairman John Cross and his executive for the work they do throughout the year. He also thanked the other grand officers for their support, along with praising Provincial Junior Grand Deacon Russell Forsyth and Provincial Grand Steward Robert Marsden for their attendance at this and several other events.
Malcolm went on to praise all those who had taken part in the ceremony of installation, particularly those presenting the working tools. He continued by discussing subjects including the Royal Arch, with the need to encourage brethren to join; charities and the need to raise awareness of the services provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Provincial Ball.
Malcolm was followed by IPM Stephen Kerrigan who proposed the toast to the new WM and wished him an enjoyable and successful year in office, assuring him of the support of all the members of the lodge. He went on to expound on the qualities required in a WM, particularly of this fine lodge, with its record of raising large amounts of money for charity; over £13,000 during Martin Clements’ year and over £10,000 during this last year. Stephen assured both Matthew and the other members of Wyre Lodge that he was sure this record would continue.
Mathew responded to the toast with a series of thanks, particularly to those who had taken part in the ceremony of installation but also to the many brethren who had supported him through his Masonic career. Foremost amongst these were his father, Graham. He mentioned that one of the most important things for him in Masonry was the work carried in aid of charities. Also the camaraderie and the fun he had enjoyed at practice meetings.
As usual, a raffle was conducted by Bob Hopwood and his sooty puppet. There were several fine prizes, including bottles of spirit and wine and more particularly a massive and intricate bottle of brandy formed in the shape of a dragon. This raised £559, which will go towards Matthew’s charity list.
In the normal way, Malcolm Bell was presented with a gift before he retired. Uniquely the gift on this occasion was a fine framed picture for him to take away as a memento of his visit.
The junior warden toasted the visitors in verse before Mark Tomlinson proposed the tyler’s toast, thus ending the formalities for the evening. However, the lounge bar remained full until gone closing time, as is usual for a Wyre Lodge installation evening!