The Ormskirk Masonic hall was bulging at the seams when over 80 members and guests came together to witness the installation ceremony of Stanley of Bickerstaffe Lodge No 3511.
Joining Phillip on this auspicious occasion was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright, Ormskirk and District Group Chairman Frank Umbers, vice chairman Stephen Brereton together with other grand and acting Provincial grand officers. The evening was in the very capable hands of the Provincial Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies David Thomas and Mark Barton.
David led the deputation of distinguished guests into the lodge room and affected the introductions prior to appropriate salutations being made.
The installing master Malcolm Sandywell was advised by the guest of honour to ‘relax and enjoy the occasion.’ Malcolm then asked Bill Follett to occupy the position of senior warden, Andrew Clarke that of the junior warden and Ray Thompsett to undertake inner guard following which Mike Barker presented the master elect David Paton. The installing master had obviously taken note of the earlier advice received and proceeded to carry out the ceremony with a calm and dignified competence befitting a well-respected Mason.
A trio of talented family Masons added further lustre to the performance with their magnificent explanations of the working tools in each degree. Gerard Paton (brother) explained those of third degree, Brian Povey (father in law) those in the second and master Mason Mike Paton (brother) put the ‘icing on the cake’ with his faultless performance of those of the first degree. Equally, impressive ritual was performed by experienced Mason Eddie Clarke with the address to the master. Philip had the privilege of presenting the address to the members of the lodge which he undertook with his usual warmth and sincerity.
At the completion of the ceremony, Phillip wasted no time in tendering the congratulations and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new master and his immediate past master. He also made a particular mention of the work done by the three brethren who had delivered the explanations of the working tools and to underline his admiration for their work, he walked around the lodge to commend them individually.
Following on from this fine and well received tribute, the guest of honour himself was the recipient of the next item of good news in the form of cheques and details of charitable donations made by the lodge. He was both delighted and gratified to announce, with the permission of the WM, that a grand total of £1,000 was to be distributed with the main beneficiaries; £750 West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £150 to Friends of Tythebarn and £100 MacMillan Cancer Support. Philip then took the opportunity to thank the brethren for their generosity.
During the installation of the officer of the lodge great hilarity was raised when it was announced that the group secretary Malcolm Alexander was to become the lodge’s assistant secretary and the group chairman was invested as a steward. The last word must go to Eddie Clarke when invested as the lodge’s musical director said “I have one great advantage over you worshipful master, I can’t hear myself playing.”
This is the first time in the chair for David having gone through every office prior to attaining the master ship. David is a very enthusiastic Mason who readily supports out of lodge functions, charity walks, and other fund raising events. Until taking the chair he was charity steward for several years. He comes from a large family of Freemasons, hence the inclusion of two brothers and father in law delivering the working tools and also on the evening David was well supported by members of the Southport group to witness his ceremony.
Following the conclusion of the ceremony the brethren retired to enjoy the delights of the festive board, all agreeing that they had witnessed a remarkable occasion carried out to the very highest standard.