On a night of typically wet West Lancashire weather, the members and guests of Poulton-le-Fylde Lodge No 4040, gathered to witness Mike Lumby being installed as the master of the lodge for the fourth time. The ceremony was conducted by outgoing WM Glenn Priestly, ably directed by Martin Dennison.
The lodge was opened by Glenn and the lodge business was completed with some alacrity. Martin then retired to form the parade of dignitaries in which the principal guest, Michael Tax, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, representing the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews entered the lodge and gave his salutation. Michael was accompanied on this occasion by South Fylde Group Chairman Ben Gorry, along with grand officers John Lee and Keith Jackson. Adding panache to the gathering were Provincial Junior Grand Deacon John Bainbridge and Provincial Grand Steward Bob Marsden.
Before commencing with the installation ceremony, Martin led the brethren in salutations to the grand and Provincial grand officers. Once John Lee and Michael Tax had responded to the salutations to grand and Provincial grand officers, the past masters assisted Glenn in the ceremony of placing Mike into the chair of King Solomon.
Mike Lumby was then presented as master elect by Bob Marsden and Glenn gave his opening address. Following this Mike stepped forward
and recited his obligation in a calm and precise manner; one could tell he’d done this before!
Once Mike was installed as WM, the master Masons were readmitted and greeted the new WM in the three degrees. Some excellent deliveries of the working tools were then carried out by Peter Walker who explained the third degree tools, Bob Marsden who gave the long version of the second degree tools (and the brethren will swear that he didn’t draw breath from start to finish!), then John Lee showed excellent grand officer mettle by delivering those in the first degree despite having only ten minutes notice from Martin Dennison.
Further addresses were given by Martin Dennison to the immediate past master, by Andrew Stansfield to the WM, by John Cross, Chairman of the North Fylde Group, to the wardens and followed up by Michael Tax with a calm and succinct delivery of the address to the brethren of the lodge.
With the ceremony completed the new master continued with lodge business and on the risings John Lee voiced his delight at seeing Mike in the master’s chair again and also made reference to the presence of the two acting Provincial grand officers, particularly Bob Marsden who had played some key parts during the ceremony. Tom Sloan responding for the Provincial grand officers congratulated everyone involved in the ceremony for the obvious large amount of effort they had put into their work.
Then Neil Hodgson WM of the Berkshire Lodge of Gratitude No 9210 rose to bring fraternal greetings from his lodge and to congratulate everyone for a thoroughly enjoyable meeting. Neil was accompanied on this occasion by Simon Gartside, who is the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer for the Province of Berkshire. Simon is also a past master of Poulton-le-Fylde Lodge and cousin of Martin Dennison.
With the work of the lodge completed, the brethren retired to the banqueting suite where they enjoyed a three-course meal. After dinner speeches were led by Michael Tax, who responded to the toast to the Provincial grand officers. He thanked the grand officers for their support as well as thanking group executive members Ben Gorry, Ian Park the group vice chairman and Glenn O’Brien, the group and regional publicity officer for their attendance and for the work they do during the year. He also discussed the members pathway, the communications strategy, Royal Arch membership, sky blues events and charity. He particularly stressed the need to contact the Masonic Charitable Foundation if they, their family, or another brother was in need of assistance. Before concluding, Michael thanked the lodge for the charitable donations they have made during the year, which amounted to £1,300, a fine sum for a relatively small lodge.
The toast to the WM was given by Glenn Priestly in which he told the brethren that he had known Mike for upwards of 53 years and that it had been an honour to install such a long standing friend into the chair. In response Mike thanked Glenn for the work he had put into the installation ceremony. He also thanked Martin Dennison for his hard work as director of ceremonies and Peter Walker for his untiring efforts as secretary. Mike also complemented the brothers who had delivered the working tools and finished by thanking the two brothers from Berkshire for making the trip to support the lodge.
After a short toast to the visitors by Harry Davidson, John Lee responded. John thanked organist Malcolm Burrill for providing harmony to the members for so many years. He also congratulated Michael Tax for his presence and for the fine rendition of the address to the brethren. John went on to encourage members to support the group chairman and his executive in all the work they do and concluded by reminding everyone that the Provincial Ball was again taking place at Bolton Wanderers Football Ground on 8 March 2024.
The last items for the evening were that the brethren all joined in to sing the hymn to absent brethren, then Tom Sloan proposed the tyler’s toast before the brethren wended their way home, having enjoyed a pleasant evening.