On a warm, early-autumn Saturday, 48 brethren, including two fellow crafts and an entered apprentice from Lodge of Triumph No 1061, in the South Fylde Group, attended the Main Hall at Hutton Grammar School for the Old Huttonian Lodge No 7614 2023 installation ceremony.
Under the direction of Ian Heyes, the ceremony moved swiftly through the normal lodge business including some notices of motion and welcome propositions. At the appropriate moment Ian Heyes retired from the lodge and escorted the representative of the provincial grand master, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stewart Seddon. Accompanying him were two acting Provincial officers, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer Dave Bishop and Provincial Grand Steward Paul Wharton-Hardman. Stewart was welcomed by the master of the lodge, Damien McKeand and took his place next to him in the lodge.
The installation ceremony was unusually brief and consisted of a proclamation that Damien will again be the master of Old Huttonian Lodge for what will be his second consecutive year in the chair. The explanation of the working tools followed with splendid renditions delivered by Bill Pearce (third degree tools), David Singleton (second degree tools) and Steven Miller (first degree tools).
Following the ceremony, Stewart congratulated Damien and his team on an excellent and sincere ceremony. He then made a special presentation of a 50 years in Freemasonry certificate to lodge member Alan Crossley following a brief but detailed story of Alan’s Masonic journey; which captured many of the significant moments of Alan’s progression over the years. Alan should have received this presentation in a much fuller and customary format during the period of COVID but was extremely pleased to receive it at this 2023 installation meeting.
Most of the Old Huttonian Lodge officers were reinstalled into their positions for the ensuing year. With Terry Whittingham as senior deacon, Alan Scarrott as junior deacon, Arthur Marshall as inner guard, John Lucas as tyler, David Singleton and David Walker as stewards. Addresses to the deacons were ably performed by John Lucas, to the inner guard by David Johnson, to the tyler by David Robinson and to the stewards by David Jenkinson.
A significant change within the officers saw Colin Mills take on the role of lodge secretary from Michael Greenwood after Michael’s many years of service. Towards the end of the lodge meeting Damien stood and thanked the brethren of Old Huttonian Lodge for their support and he looked forward to a busy 2023-24 Masonic year.
During the festive board the brethren enjoyed another high quality two-course meal of chicken liver pate starter, followed by blade of beef with peppercorn sauce served on a bed of mashed potato and braised carrot, created and served by the skilful Lee Munro and his Masonic event catering team. The two-courses are always finished off with abundant cheese and biscuits.
The toast to grand officers was associated with the name of Stewart Seddon who gave a most interesting insight and update within the areas of Royal Arch membership and the Members Pathway generally, the light blue clubs and the need for everyone to continually support the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Stewart suggested that any interested brethren should support the Charity Stewards Dinner at Bryn Masonic Hall on 2 September 2023 and the Provincial Ball on 8 March 2024, followed by Provincial Grand Lodge on 8 May 2024. He wished Damien a great year as master of Old Huttonian Lodge, and especially he hoped that Damien enjoys the best of health to enjoy his Freemasonry.
The acting immediate past master Trevor Partington proposed a sincere toast to Damien as he embarks upon his second year as master, to which Damien responded by stating his wish to visit lodges across the four compass points of the Province, in much the same way that he did in his first year when he made 34 lodge visits, which included many of the school lodges in the north west.
Old Huttonian Lodge brethren and visitors were delighted to learn that Damien has volunteered to be the North West Representative of the Federation of School Lodges, taking over from the previous very hard-working Professor Ronald Barham.
An envelope raffle, very well administered by treasurer David Johnson secured the magnificent total of £250 with a charity plate in lodge of £143. The evening ended with everyone wishing Damien a great year, the best of health and every success.