The installation meeting of Silverdale Lodge No 6926 saw Andrew John Martin take the chair of this rather unique ‘village lodge’ in a very impressive ceremony conducted by Stephen Taylor WM.
The occasion also marked the inaugural visit to the lodge by Philip Gunning Assistant Provincial Grand Master who is also the Deputy Provincial Grand Master designate, in the role of principal guest. He was delighted to have an impressive array of grand officers accompanying him which included Jim Wilson Lancaster Group Chairman, Chris Butterfield group secretary, Tom Jackson, Peter Mason, Bryan Heskett, Norman Milburn, John Robson and Alf Routledge. Acting Provincial grand officers in attendance were Peter Pemberton PrSGW, Andrew Bartlett PrGReg and Richard Dennison PrGStwd.
The lodge room at Silverdale has often been described as ‘cosy’, ‘diminutive’ and even on occasion ‘bijou’, the literal translation of which being ‘small and elegant’; indeed, it is a most appropriate summation of both the location and standard of ceremony usually performed.
As is often the case at the installation meeting, the lodge room was full to capacity! Once the necessary entry processions had been carefully and precisely completed, Stephen Taylor welcomed Philip to Silverdale Lodge and offered him the lodge gavel, which was returned with grateful thanks and commendable alacrity in view of the dexterity required in the forthcoming ceremony. The master elect, Andrew Martin was then presented by his proposer into Freemasonry, Darren Holden. The installation ceremony, which followed, was conducted with consummate skill and sincerity by Stephen ably assisted by his fellow lodge members who demonstrated enviable precision in staging such an impressive performance in the limited space available to them. Before the board of installed masters was closed, Peter Mason gave an explanation of the working tools of an installed master in his customary, inimitable style.
The addresses to the master, wardens and brethren were delivered in an impeccable manner by Tony Jackson, Alan Thompson and Joe Dixon respectively. However, it was the relatively newer Masons who once again ‘stole the show’ with their faultless and artfully rendered deliveries of the working tool explanations. That of the third degree was given by Matthew Preston, the second degree by Carl Horrax and the first degree by Gavin Wells. Such sterling performances undoubtedly provide evidence of a healthy and successful future for the lodge.
On the completion of the ceremony, Philip Gunning rose to bring the best wishes and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, not just to the newly installed master but especially to the installing master, Stephen and indeed to all those who had performed their roles so superbly, especially the three brethren who had presented the working tools. After receiving Andrew’s thanks and reciprocal sentiments, Stephen Taylor IPM had the pleasant task of presenting Philip with a cheque for £1,500 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, which he received with grateful thanks.
At the Festival of St John held at the Longlands Hotel, Tewitfield, a happy and celebratory atmosphere was very much in evidence. In his stimulating and amusing response to the toast to the grand officers, Phillip was pleased to bring his own congratulations to the WM and all who had contributed to such an excellent ceremony. He encouraged us all to be proud of our membership of such a caring institution and to take every opportunity to tell the world of the good work that is done, not only in our own communities, but wherever help is desperately needed throughout the world.
Following the toast to the new master’s health, proposed by Darren Holden, the Master’s Song was then performed delightfully by Peter Thompson, accompanied by Peter Woods. In his response, the WM, Andrew, thanked all those who had contributed to making the day such a success and expressed again, the appreciation of the lodge to Philip Gunning for his attendance. The raffle raised the magnificent sum of £332 and that figure, when added to the generous contributions from the charity collection taken in the lodge, totalled £680 for distribution to worthy causes.
As a closing footnote, it is understood from ‘inside sources’ that guests seated at the newly appointed senior warden’s table were the lucky recipients of at least half of the raffle prizes!
A purely ‘happy coincidence’ we are assured but we understand that there may be an early demand for seats at this table next year!