Members and visitors of Foundation Lodge No 5394 were highly delighted to welcome Mike Adams as their principal guest, representing the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, to their installation meeting to witness master elect David Durling being installed for the second time as WM for the ensuing year.
Mike was in good company being accompanied by grand officer Brian Hayes and South Eastern Group Secretary Eddie Wilkinson.
The WM Jeffrey Newbrook opened the lodge and conducted the initial business as per the summons. There was no denying that in recent years Foundation Lodge had struggled as many others had, with a lack of numbers but when Jeffrey went on to announce a re-joining member and then balloted for three new initiates for the forthcoming year, an air of optimism once more filled the lodge room.
Then came the expected knock on the door and the representative of the Provincial Grand Master stood without and demanded admission, where upon Mike entered in ceremonial procession accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers.
Installing master Jeffrey then welcomed Mike, and ably assisted by DC Terry Howard, carried out the ceremony and installed the incoming WM David in excellent fashion. David having been installed, there then followed excellent presentations of the working tools, firstly the installed master’s Tools given in fine style by Eddie Wilkinson followed by the third degree by visitor Adam Walker, the second degree by Neil Tottle and the first degree by John Newall.
The address to the master was given by regular visitor Brian Bush of High Peak Lodge No 1952 in the Province of Derbyshire, followed by Eddie Wilkinson giving the address to the wardens and that to the brethren of the lodge was given in his usual relaxed manner by Mike Adams.
On completion of the installation ceremony, Mike rose to bring the sincere greetings, best wishes and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, saying that Mark was aware that David was taking the master’s chair once more and wished him and the members of the lodge a very happy, healthy and enjoyable year ahead and also on Mark’s behalf congratulated installing master Jeffrey and those officers and brethren who had taken part in producing an excellent ceremony.
In response, David rose and thanked Mike for the good wishes he had conveyed and then with considerable pleasure presented him with a series of charitable donations by way of cheques for £500 made out to Alzheimer’s Relief, Parkinson’s Disease Research and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Mike, impressed by the contributions, commented on the remarkable generosity of the lodge and thanked them on behalf of all those who we may never know, that would eventually benefit.
Following the completion of the installation ceremony, three members of Forest of Bere Lodge No 6612 in the Province of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were introduced to those present and it transpired that they were relatives of one of Foundation Lodge’s founder members, William Parker, the very first WM. They explained that amongst William Parker’s effects left when he ascended to the Grand Lodge above, were a Foundation Lodge founders Jewel and a festival jewel dating from 1933 and 1937 respectively and that they had travelled north to return the jewels to their spiritual home!
David greeted the brethren effusively thanking them for making such a journey, especially in current abject weather conditions and promised to take good care of the jewels.
On the first rising Brian responded on behalf of the Grand Officers and said he, and they were pleased to see such an excellent ceremony. He welcomed David to the chair once more and wished both he and the brethren a happy and healthy year.
During the festive board, Mike gave the response to his toast, offering his own congratulations to the lodge members, saying he thoroughly enjoyed the installation meeting. He then went on to comment on the increase in numbers and strength of Masonry in the South Eastern Group and the new resources available to assist struggling Masons through the West Lancashire website.
Mike, giving both the ProvGM Mark Matthews’ thoughts and his own made reference to the increasing use of social media in Masonry and how it had led to an incredible 10,000 enquiries, how we should follow a natural progression taking our Masonry to the next level by joining the Royal Arch and exhorting everyone to support our Masonic halls. Rounding off his response, Mike reminded everyone about the forthcoming Provincial Grand Ball on 3 March.
Rounding things off rather neatly given what had gone before, junior lodge member Neil Tottle ended the proceedings by proposing a toast to the lodge founders thus, what had been a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable evening was brought to a close and all parted in excellent spirits.