The brethren of Cecil Lodge No 3274 were well met at The Athenaeum for the celebration of their annual installation meeting. Master Jim Bates welcomed all to the lodge, opening the lodge in solemn form, and following approval of the minutes swiftly and expertly proceeded through the degrees, culminating in the opening of the lodge in the third degree.
The inner guard having reported an alarm, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies David Boyes was admitted. David advised Jim, that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning stood without and demanded admission. Jim remarked on behalf of the lodge that he would be delighted and honoured to receive him.
Provincial deacons, Alan Barry Webster and Malcolm Pembridge formed the very impressive procession and led the way into the lodge. The procession consisting of distinguished brethren, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Phillip Gunning, accompanied by two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, John James and Andrew Whittle. Gladstone Group Chairman Paul Storrar, who was accompanied by group vice chairman, Matt Casson and Mersey Valley Group Deputy Chairman, David Atkinson. David Boyes formally introduced Philip to the WM, who welcomed Philip to the lodge and offered him the gavel, which he graciously declined.
David Boyes, then led the salutations, firstly to Philip Gunning, who received five grand or royal signs, followed by the appropriate salutations to John James and Andrew Whittle, who also received five. They rose individually to thank the brethren for their very kind salutations and group chairman Paul Storrar was appropriately saluted with three and thanks were given on behalf of all of the Provincial grand officers.
The ceremony of installation began in earnest with the wonderful presentation of master elect Phil Osborne to the WM by the presenting officer Alan Webster.
After giving his unqualified assent to all of the necessary qualifications read out by the secretary John Reynolds, Phil made his way to the master’s pedestal and delivered a fine display of ritual in recital of his obligation as master elect. A board of installed masters was convened and Jim presented a fine ceremony, duly installing Phil into the chair of King Solomon for his first time in a perfect display of ritual.
The board of installed masters was closed and the salutations were completed in turn in each degree, with the working tools of each degree equally superbly presented. Third degree working tools by Ian Knowles, second degree working tools by Adam Lyons and finally the first degree working tools by William John. A spontaneous round of applause was given to each of them after their presentations, in recognition of their hard work and display of ritual prowess, very well done indeed.
Russell Dodds gave a fine address to the master, which was delivered with a personal flair. Russell is not a member of Cecil Lodge, but from Lodge of Dignity No 6867 (Cheshire) and is a lifelong friend of Phil Osborne. After the investiture of the lodge officers, Philip Gunning, rose and then gave a wonderful address to all of the brethren of Cecil Lodge.
On completion of Philip’s address, newly installed master Phil, then presented Philip with a cheque for £500 made out to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, and advised him that the lodge had also donated £1,000 to the British Red Cross for the Turkey/Syria earthquake appeal and had also donated £750 to the MICAH Foodbank Charity at Christmas. Philip thanked the lodge for their wonderful generosity.
There was then a wonderful festive board, ably conducted by David Boyes. Finally, the charity plate collection raised £246.20 which the lodge donated to John James as a start to his fundraising for Ride the Lights to take place in August. A very fitting end to a most enjoyable 2023 installation for Cecil Lodge.