Robert Wright has been installed once again into the chair of King Solomon of Starkie Lodge No 1070 at the installation meeting held at Southport Masonic Hall.
After the opening of the lodge by WM, Mark Cooper and the general business being completed, which included the admission of joining member Martin Maynard from Lodge of Peace and Friendship No 9275 in the Province of Berkshire. The lodge DC Tony Johnson requested permission to retire for a short time to meet with the visitors and on returning informed Mark that Philip Gunning Assistant to the Provincial Grand Master was without and demanded admission. Mark replied that he would be delighted and honoured to receive him.
Philip was then admitted with 15 distinguished guests including Kevin Poynton APrGM, William Seddon and John Moore PAPrGM’s and Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins, accompanied by acting Provincial grand officer Brian Griffiths PrGStwd.
Once the entourage was seated Mark stood and formally greeted Philip and his guests to Starkie Lodge and offered Philip the gavel. Philip in his own inimitable style responded saying: “It is one of the greatest pleasures of a master to install his successor and it would be wrong of me to deny you the pleasure of installing yours, so on this occasion I will be happy to return the gavel to its rightful owner”.
Tony Johnson then lead the proceeding in giving the formal greetings from the brethren assembled to Philip Gunning and Kevin Poynton as APrGMs, to William Seddon and John Moore as PAPrGMs and to Freddie Wright PJGD and the other grand officers and to Colin Jenkins and the other Provincial officers.
Also present were PrGDC Keith Kemp, along with many current and past PrDGDC’s of the Province including Arthur Cregeen, Norman Thomas, Peter Elmore, Sam Robinson, Ian Higham, Barrie Crossley, Neil MacSymons and Malcolm Bell.
As the ceremony continued Mark asked Ian Jolley to occupy the chair of the senior warden, Peter Stones the junior warden’s chair and Graham Wooldridge to assist by acting as the inner guard for the installation ceremony, which they all very honorably agreed to do so.
An ancient charge was read out by David Parker, following which Lindon Crook then presented Robert Wright to Mark as the candidate for installation and Robert was then asked the usual questions of the master elect. As Robert had been installed previously in Starkie Lodge in 1998, he had only to reaffirm his former obligation and was duly invested with the collar and jewel of the WM of the lodge and placed into the chair of King Solomon, in what was a well-executed and sincere ceremony.
The explanations of the working tools were very well delivered by Alan Taylor third degree, Steven Taylor second degree and first degree by entered apprentice Jeremy Stimpson.
Robert’s first duty as master was to appoint and invest his officers for the ensuing year, starting with his immediate past master which he was very happy to do. He then appointed and invested the rest of his officers which he did with great competence and style.
Once the stewards had been appointed Provincial Grand Steward Brian Griffiths gave the address to the stewards and congratulated them on taking up this very important job in the lodge. The address to the WM was presented by Mike Foster, the address to wardens by John Karran and finally the address to the brethren of the lodge by the distinguished guest Philip Gunning.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Philip brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and congratulated Robert on being installed in the master’s chair once again and wished him all the best, not only for the year ahead in his lodge, but also on his promotion to Assistant Provincial Grand Master, which he will receive in May. Philip then said that had Tony been present he would have personally offered his best wishes and congratulated Mark on a thoroughly enjoyable and well executed ceremony.
Robert then presented Philip with five cheques to the sum of £600. The donations were; £200 to Derian House, £100 to Southport Masonic Hall Foundation, £100 to Dementia Trust, £100 to Southport Offshore Lifeboat and £100 to Walton Neuroscience Unit.
Philip thanked the brethren of the lodge for their generosity which he was sure would be put to good cause. With that he sat, but very quickly rose and said: “Usually when I say that, it gets a round of applause.” which the brethren present were then very pleased to accommodate.
The ceremony completed, the brethren and distinguished guests retired to the bar whilst the festive board was being prepared. The festive board was attended by 71 brethren who all enjoyed an excellent meal. In his response to the toast to the grand officers Philip thanked the members of the lodge for their kind hospitality and as well as enjoying the ceremony, added how special an occasion this was not just because this was Robert’s installation ceremony but because this could quite possibly be one of the only times that past, present and future Assistant Provincial Grand Masters have been at the same meeting and sat on the top table in Southport.