It was a shame to see the closing of Prospect Lodge No 7880 on the day that it should have been celebrating its 60th year anniversary. Consecrated on Thursday 24 October 1963, Prospect Lodge was the daughter lodge of Standish Lodge 4955 and sister lodge of former Langtree Lodge No 6166 that met at the Globe Inn in Standish.
In the 1980’s the Globe Inn lease expired, and Prospect Lodge moved to Chorley Masonic Hall. At their last meeting three original members were present, Ken Ingham, Tony Barrow and Richard Baker. As an honorary member, Frank Rylance was not present but was also a member from when Prospect Lodge met at the Globe Inn in Standish.
Following a decline in members, especially active members, the remaining brethren of Prospect Lodge proposed and approved that the lodge hand in its warrant, having made the notice of motion in their previous lodge installation meeting.
Present to witness this sad occasion was Peter Locket, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by John Robson, Stephen Gregory, group chairman Peter Allen, group secretary Mike Silver and group treasurer Colin Preston, along with 36 other visiting brethren.
Steve Williams, Prospect Lodge’s director of ceremonies, stood and requested that the brethren of the lodge formed a horseshoe on the lodge floor. Each member was handed the warrant until it was finally passed to Tony Barrow as WM. Holding onto the warrant and reflecting for a few seconds, Tony then passed the lodge warrant to Peter Lockett while sharing the following words: “Assistant Provincial Grand Master, when I was installed as WM of Prospect Lodge, I was entrusted with this warrant. Can I now present it to you for onward transmission to the Grand Secretary, pure and unsullied as I received it?”
Peter Lockett received the warrant and gave an emotional and touching reply to the brethren of Prospect Lodge which was followed by reflective and sentimental words from Steve Williams before they resumed their seats.
After the closing of the lodge the WM, carried the lodge banner around the floor with the members of Prospect Lodge lining up after him. Although not easy on his feet, Tony Barrow paraded with the banner held high and was supported by his fellow members.
Before leaving the lodge Ken Ingham read the following exhortation: “Brethren: You are now to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue, to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments forget not the duties you have heard so frequently inculcated and forcibly recommended in this lodge. Be diligent, prudent, temperate and discreet. Remember that in this lodge you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance.
Let the world observe how Masons love one another. These generous principles are to extend farther. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. ‘Do good unto all’. Recommend it more ‘especially to the household of the faithful’.
By diligence to the duties of your respective callings; by liberal benevolence and diffusive charity; by constancy and fidelity in your friendships, discover the beneficial and happy effects of this ancient and honourable Institution.
Let it not be supposed that you have here ‘laboured in vain and spent your strength for naught; for your work is with the Lord and your recompense with your God’.
Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace and may the God of love and peace delight and dwell with and bless you.”
The doors were opened and all the visitors applauded them as the Prospect Lodge members left together with their heads held high and their respect for each other on show to all.
Lodge members present at the closure were; Tony Barrow (WM), Ken Ingham, Andre Whitton, Richard Baker, Steve Williams, Terry Cunningham, David Stanbury and Michael Sayer.
Following the closure of the lodge and having had time to reflect on the meeting, secretary Ken Ingham shared these words: “As we were led out of the lodge by Tony Barrow carrying the lodge banner, the visiting brethren stood and applauded. It was a highly emotional response and when outside, the eight of us shook hands and not a word was spoken, no words were necessary.”
The brethren then came together at the festive board to celebrate Prospect Lodge with sentimental words and toasts given to end a sad but hopeful evening for its members.