Good luck to you and your honest, plump face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place……
With such lines the great Robbie Burns began his address to the haggis! It was the authentic vernacular version that Bill McLaughlan, member of Lodge Ellangowan No 716 of the Scottish constitution, used in his discourse of the ode, however. Bill is also an honorary member of Kirkham Lodge No 6615 in which Mike Casey had earlier been installed as its 70th master.
This proved to be a grand occasion graced by a strong contingent of brothers from Lodge Ellangowan (led by their current master Matthew Recht) for an installation held on Burns Night. With more than 50 members and visitors present, the installing master Derek Lewthwaite opened the lodge and whisked quickly through such business as was necessary before welcoming Mike Goodwin, representing Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and a retinue of grand and Provincial officers. The lodge was particularly honoured by the attendance of two Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Terry Hudson from West Lancashire and Malcolm Worsley from East Lancashire.
A finely polished installation ceremony ensued with Derek in fine form, supported by Ken Taylor as senior warden, David Clarke as junior warden and David Hill as inner guard. Bill McLaughlin gave a fine ‘Scottish version’ explanation of the working tools in the third degree. David Hill delivered the second degree tools in fine style followed by an equally impressive explanation of the first degree tools by Kevin Byrne.
There were several addresses to the various officers given as follows: to the master by Peter Weller, to the wardens by John Fenton, to the almoner by local pastoral care officer Graham Smith, to the deacons by South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward, to the stewards by John Stelfox and to the brethren by Mike Goodwin.
After the meeting, a grand rush to the banqueting suite ensued as things were in danger of overrunning. The diners found the walls and ceilings bedecked with Scottish flags and bunting. Members of Kirkham Lodge had obviously been very busy. With the Lodge Ellangowan members robed in traditional jackets, kilts and sporrans and a few bottles of whisky floating around and the buzz of conversation rising, it was quite obvious that everyone was getting into the ‘spirit’ of the occasion.
After a fine five-course meal, several toasts were honoured. That to the grand officers drew a reply by Mike Goodwin, in which he entertained the brethren with anecdotes from the years he has known Mike Casey, followed by several complimentary remarks about the installation ceremony which included special praise for Derek Lewthwaite. He continued with a thought provoking appraisal of membership issues and advice concerning the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, with comments about jewels and donation envelopes.
The toast to the master was delivered by Derek Lewthwaite, in which he invited Matthew Recht to make a presentation of a fine bottle of malt whisky to Mike Casey. Matthew also presented a ‘Mark penny’ as a memento from Lodge Ellangowan. Derek then invested Mike with the Kirkham Lodge jewels, after which he continued his speech. He began by referring to how hard Mike always works on behalf of the lodge and the many other Masonic organisations with which he is connected. This was followed by Godfrey Hirst singing the master’s song with his customary level of effervescence.
In his amusing response, Mike Casey concentrated on a series of thanks; to his wife June for her continued support, to Derek Lewthwaite for his magnificent ceremony, to Godfrey Hirst for his master’s song and to group vice chairman John-Robbie Porter for his accompaniment on the piano. Mike concluded by thanking his personal guests for their support and Bill McLaughlin for attacking the haggis.
An exuberant evening was closed by Ken Turner who proposed the tyler’s toast.