Gilbert Neil Brown (Neil) was installed as the new WM of Rufford Lodge No 7217 at the Park Hall Hotel, Charnock Richard. Neil was previously WM of Harrock Lodge No 8233 on two occasions and after the lodge surrendered its warrant he became a joining member of Rufford Lodge.
The lodge was honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder. David was accompanied by Ormskirk and District Group Chairman Frank Umbers, together with the vice chairman Stephen Brereton and other group officers. Also present were three acting Provincial Grand Lodge officers; Geoffrey Lever Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works, Michael Cowsley Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and John Butterworth Provincial Assistant Grand Superintendent of Works. A total of 61 brethren attended the meeting which included five grand lodge officers including Eric Picton and Tom Norris.
The outgoing master Brian Fairhurst installed Neil in an excellent ceremony. The working tools were presented in a proficient manner by junior brethren of the lodge; Christopher Hayton the third degree, Robert Midgley the second degree and Philip Smitton that of the first degree. In addition David Williams, the WM of Lodge of Harmony No 580, presented the working tools of an installed master which is rarely heard in the lodge.
In bringing greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, David acknowledged the excellent work of the lodge members who took part in the ceremony, especially by Brian who had previously installed his successor some 50 years ago when he was last in the chair of Rufford Lodge. On behalf of Tony he made a point of congratulating each of the junior brethren who had presented the working tools in such a fine manner and said he had thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony which had been carried out to a very high standard with so much warmth and pleasure by those taking part.
David was then presented with cheques in the total sum of £2,200 to the benefit of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £1,000, Derian House £500, Lancashire and South Cumbria Kidney Patients Association £500 and Friends of Tithebarn £200, for which he gave grateful thanks on behalf of all those who will benefit from the kind generosity of the members.
Greetings on behalf of all visiting brethren were given by Geoff Sykes the W M of Standish Lodge No 4955.
Following the meeting an excellent festive board was enjoyed by all the brethren, which was followed by the usual Rufford tradition of an auction of pot plants. The master’s song was delivered in an excellent manner by Andy Anderson with musical accompaniment by Doug Little.