Over 90 brethren assembled at Cleveleys Masonic Hall to witness Bill Widdowson being installed into the chair of King Solomon in Peace and Unity Lodge No 3966. For the installation, the lodge members were honoured to receive the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, accompanied on this occasion by two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Harry Cox and David Winder, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson, grand officers Jim Woods, Giles Berkeley, Tony Hough and Keith Kemp. Also accompanying Tony were Duncan Smith, Chairman of North Fylde Group and a number of acting Provincial grand officers, including John Gledhill resplendent in his Chelsea pensioner’s scarlet tunic.
With the regular lodge business dispatched by the WM Peter Canning, it was time to welcome Tony Harrison and present him with the gavel of the lodge, which he swiftly yet graciously returned. Peter proceeded to invite Peter Pemberton to act as installing senior warden, Martin Lockyer to act as installing junior warden and Roy Morden to act as installing inner guard. Bill was then presented by Ken Sykes.
The master elect was ably installed by Peter with assistance from Ken Buckley. The working tools were particularly well presented by Creag Williams, Paul Cummings and Alan Howie. Ken Sykes then delivered a faultless address to Bill, which was followed by addresses to the wardens by Martin Lockyear, to the deacons by Andy Curtis, to the stewards by Ryan Modlin and to the brethren by Tony Harrison.
At the conclusion of the installation Tony congratulated Peter and Ken on the manner in which they had installed Bill and expressed his wish for Bill to have a happy and healthy year in office. On behalf of the lodge members, Bill presented Tony with cheques for charities with a combined total of £3,966. The largest of these was £2,153.60 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and a further £425 was donated to North West Air Ambulance. Macmillan Cancer Support also benefited with a separate donation of £314 raised by the ladies. The remaining sum consisted of smaller donations to a number of Masonic and non-Masonic charitable institutions.
At the conclusion of every fine installation ceremony is the expectation of a fine banquet to follow and there was no disappointment in this regard. Harry Cox proposed the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master and in response Tony reiterated his desire for us all to talk openly and honestly with regard to Freemasonry. He also made reference to recruitment, retention and retrieval and the way in which we can all act as ambassadors for Freemasonry. He complimented the lodge on having a fabulous and well-appointed Masonic hall and especially for the extremely comfortable chair that had been provided for him in the lodge room.
The toast to the newly installed worshipful master was given by Peter Canning and the master’s song was rendered by Hugh Mett, ably assisted on the ivories by Malcolm Burrill. During the festive board a raffle took place which raised £450.02 for charities. To date, no-one has owned up to donating the two pence piece!