The members of Wigan Lodge No 2326 were honoured by the presence of Graeme Hughes (PAGDC) as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison at their installation ceremony at Ashton Masonic Hall. Graeme was supported by fellow grand officer and group vice chairman David Ogden, together with acting Provincial grand officers Gordon Johnston and Peter Ridehalgh.
The ceremony saw Craig Lyons reinstalling his immediate past master Mike Purcell in the chair of King Solomon. The ceremony was performed with the usual inclusivity of the Wigan Lodge. Since the lodge’s founding in 1890, tradition has arisen to incorporate elements of other workings of ritual and gratefully accept assistance from any regular attendee of the lodge. Thus, whilst the installation was performed flawlessly by Craig, the ceremony was carefully choreographed by DC Bob Whitney ably assisted by ADC Philip Mathias of Sincerity Lodge No 3677.
A similar theme was followed with the presentation of the working tools, with the delivery of the working tools of a master of the lodge (styled on a 1923 version of the Old Yorkshire Master) flawlessly given by Stanley Crozier, which set many thinking about the near absence of a plan or trowel in modern teaching. The Emulation ritual followed, with Matt Frayne delivering the working tools of the third degree, John Chambers the second degree and Mike Durrington those of the first degree.
With the installation completed, Graeme delivered the congratulations of the PrGM to Mike on being reinstalled as WM and resumed his seat. Another lodge peculiarity was revealed at this point as a member rose and explained to the PrGM’s representative it is the lodge’s custom to practice charity silently. As it was said the lodge takes no collection for alms in open lodge but collects in other ways and supports worthy causes directly. The officers were appointed and the addresses given as follows: To the WM, another flawless performance from Stanley Crozier. The wardens were addressed by Gordon Cooke in his inimitable style, whilst John Pendlebury addressed the deacons and Graeme Hughes the brethren.
The installation meeting was appropriately drawn to a close by balloting for and electing Bert Ross an honorary member of the Wigan Lodge to commemorate his 60 years of service to the lodge and to the Craft.
A rousing festive board followed in the usual Wigan style during which, in the absence of the planned singer, DC Bob Whitney performed the ‘Masters Song’. For this act of bravery Bob was applauded, though after receiving the lodge’s thanks he was advised to stick to the day job.
In the fullness of time Graeme once again congratulated the WM on his re-installation and sharing the PrGM’s message for the forthcoming year.