Lodge Amounderness No 7105 welcomed the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to its installation meeting at Wyrebank, Garstang recently and made a big impression on him.
Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master Tom Blackburn, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Bill Huck, who together with fellow grand officers Colin Williamson and Graham Payne are members of the lodge, accompanied Peter. Additional distinguished support was provided by Lancaster group officers Jim Wilson chairman, Chris Butterfield secretary and acting Provincial grand officers Peter Pemberton PrSGW together with Keith Kemp PrGDC.
Their procession into the lodge room was a particularly impressive sight, led by Glyn Davies DC, who presented Peter Taylor to the immediate past and installing master, Robert Brown. If Robert had any slight anxieties regarding the forthcoming ceremony they were not in evidence as he proceeded to install his successor with measured and exacting precision. The master elect, Manmohan Barma was presented by Ian Cuerden and following his assent to and confirmation of his adherence to the ancient charges, the ceremony of installation proceeded. The installing master, Robert Brown, was sensitively assisted by past masters Mike Threlfall and Robert Irving in delivering an impressive and memorable ceremony.
Following the placement of Manmohan in the master’s chair, the customary addresses were of the high calibre that could be expected from such experienced Masons. Ian Cuerden gave the address to the master, George Askins addressed the wardens and the address to the brethren was sincerely and warmly given by Gordon Payne. However, the prowess displayed by the trio of master Masons who explained the working tools of the three degrees, was undoubtedly of an identical quality and received unanimous acclaim. Michael L Threlfall faultlessly and sincerely presented the third degree tools, those of the second degree were explained in their extended form, perfectly, by Hal Hamer and those of the first degree were faultlessly given by Neil Cooney.
The appointment and investiture of lodge officers gave rise to some gentle humour that no doubt assisted the new master in relaxing into his role and it was touching to see that he very warmly thanked each appointee for their anticipated help and support during the coming year. There can be few masters who can boast so illustrious a bench of stewards as that appointed at Lodge Amounderness. In keeping with a wonderful tradition, all the stewards are grand officers and it is understood that the wine service and quality of beverage at the lodge meetings is unparalleled!
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Peter Taylor rose to bring the personal and sincere greetings of Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master. He was firmly of the opinion that Tony would have thoroughly enjoyed both the quality and warmth of the proceedings and would wish to congratulate and commend not only the new master and his installing master but also all those who had made the event so impressive and enjoyable. In his reply, Manmohan Barma WM, expressed his personal thanks and best wishes together with those of the lodge for the kind greetings and presented Peter with cheques and details of the charitable disbursements undertaken by the lodge. A diverse range of beneficiaries was disclosed with a total of £1,500 being shared by West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Heartbeat (Preston), Alzheimer’s Society (Preston) and Cancer Research. Peter thanked the lodge for its generosity on behalf of the recipients.
The festive board held in the excellent Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, provided a continuation of the high standards that had been set. A sumptuous four-course menu, which included both wine and port, assured that the guests would be favourably disposed to all and any forthcoming orations. In his response to the toast to the grand officers, Peter Taylor commenced by adding his own congratulations and best wishes to the new master and expressed his admiration for the impeccable contributions of all who had taken part, particularly the three brethren who had presented the working tools. Affording his audience a fascinating insight into his role as Provincial secretary, he also provided news regarding the implementation of new IT systems that will assist in the flow of administrative processes for both lodges and chapters. He provided detailed and current statistics that were both interesting and informative with regard to the Province, which is the largest in the world. In West Lancashire, there are in excess of 9,500 Freemasons and presently some 200 gentlemen are waiting to be initiated into lodges within the Province. He observed that the average age of new members was falling and that statistics suggested that the strongest and most successful lodges were those that had an active social programme, which encouraged the involvement of partners and families. He concluded by reminding everyone that they had a duty of care to maintain the high standards that had been established in Freemasonry whilst ensuring that they preserved the enjoyment and charitable facets that were so vital to its continued success.
At the start of his toast to the newly installed master, Robert Brown had to admit that he knew very little about Manmohan prior to undertaking some research in preparation of the toast. He stated that this was due to the new WM’s predisposition to listen rather than speak! Any Mason, he assured the audience, who spent time in the company of the new master would quickly discover that Manmohan was sincerely more interested in learning about ‘your’ opinions and interests, than expressing his own. Robert went on to explain that this was perhaps an endearing characteristic that had made the WM such a successful medical practitioner! In further tribute, Ian Cueden and John Kay performed a delightful duet in their performance of the master’s song with accompaniment provided by Fred Parker. In responding, Manmohan very warmly thanked all who had attended and expressed his personal and sincere appreciation to all who had contributed to his ‘wonderful day’.
With such a warm and sincere Mason at the helm, Lodge Amounderness can have the utmost confidence that their new master will perform his duties with both total satisfaction to himself and undoubted advantage to his lodge.