Well here we are in the flaming month of June and what wonderful weather we are all enjoying. It has been a somewhat busy month but I have enjoyed all my visits, on many of which Maureen has accompanied me.
The month got off to a flying start as the 1 June took me to Saul Street, Preston in the late afternoon for my Red X meeting. A very enjoyable and well attended meeting, which was followed by an excellent meal provided by the Preston Masonic Centre.
In the evening of 2 June, Maureen and I travelled to Garstang, Wyre Bank Masonic Hall with several other brethren and their ladies from Morecambe, to enjoy an evening of fun and laughter at ‘Big Bill`s Barbeque’. This is an annual social occasion to raise money for local charities and was supported by some 120 brethren and their ladies. We were treated to a fantastic barbeque followed by dancing and entertainment. A great relaxing night.
On Saturday 3 June, following a day in the garden, Maureen and I travelled to the Longlands Hotel at Tweitfield, to join many companions and their ladies for the annual dinner of past and present Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals. This is an opportunity to meet with all the APGP`s and their ladies at the end of a busy Royal Arch year. We enjoyed a delicious dinner in the company of some 40 assistants and their Ladies.
Over the next few days I had time to catch up on some paper work, enjoy the garden and the occasional walk along our beautiful sea front.
In the evening of Wednesday 7 June, I attended a meeting of the Wenning Board of Korc, held at the Masonic Hall in Morecambe. A very interesting evening in the company of some 65 brethren all of whom I am sure enjoyed the evening as much as I did.
The next day was a quiet restful day in preparation for a joint tercentenary lodge meeting of Carnforth, Warton and Silverdale Lodges, held at Kerneforde Hall, the Masonic centre at Carnforth. We enjoyed a lecture on the formation of the first Grand Lodge, 300 years ago by Peter Mason, who I am sure had a great deal of first-hand information on the subject. Following that excellent presentation, we enjoyed a delicious salmon salad dinner and I had the great honour and pleasure of unveiling a plaque on the wall of the dining room, where a time capsule dated June 2017 was secured in the wall for posterity.
Maureen and I travelled to Leigh Masonic Centre in the evening of Friday 9 June for the annual Gala Dinner of the Friends of Ecclesholme. This was a formal dinner supported by over 100 brethren and their ladies to raise money for the Friends of Ecclesholme. What a fabulous evening we all had. A delicious dinner followed by fund raising which topped £2,000. Well done to all who organised the evening and a big thank you to all who attended and made it such a success.
Well not many masonic occasions of this nature are held on Saturday`s, but Maureen and I travelled to Fleetwood on 10 June for a buffet luncheon which was followed by a lodge meeting of the Old Rossallian Lodge No 5042 meeting at Great Queen Street in London. However, they meet every two years at Fleetwood Masonic Hall and we were treated to an excellent initiation ceremony before moving on to Rossall School. The members of the lodge have to be very closely connected to the school, being former pupils or staff members. During the afternoon, our ladies we entertained with a lecture on astronomy, which I understand was extremely interesting. Upon our arrival, we enjoyed a `musical presentation` by two pupils at the school, followed by tea and biscuits prior to a church service in the school chapel. We all then retired to the school dining hall for an excellent banquet prepared by the school chef and her staff. What a fabulous full day and evening we had in the company of the lodge members and many local Masons accompanied by our wives. A day to remember.
On Monday 12 June, it was off to London with Maureen and some fellow Masons and their wives for a few days in the capital. We enjoyed an excellent train journey, arriving at our hotel in time for luncheon. In the afternoon, we visited several places of interest and then off to the theatre in the evening.
After breakfast the next day, I walked to the Masonic Hall in Great Queen Street for the Annual Investiture of Grand Mark. A special day as Prince Michael the Grand Master was in attendance. He invested a new Pro Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Assistant Grand Master and then appointed me as the Grand Junior Warden. A great honour for me and for the Province of West Lancashire. I was one of many brethren from West Lancashire receiving grand rank and the Grand Temple was filled to capacity with several other temples being used via video link, some 2,500 brethren attended the meeting. After a very long and hot ceremony we retired to the Connaught Rooms for the Grand Officers Banquet. A very enjoyable day for all who attended and thanks to the 70 plus brethren from West Lancashire who were there in support of the PrGM Keith Beardmore and many others.
Following a late breakfast on Wednesday 14, we again walked to Great Queen Street for the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge. The temple was again filled to capacity and following a very short meeting the Pro Grand Master called upon John Hamill, the Deputy Grand Chancellor, who gave us a talk on the first Grand Lodge formed in 1717. Later in the day we travelled home by train after enjoying a long but very enjoyable 3-day visit to the Capital.
Later in the afternoon of Thursday 15, I travelled to Bryn for the enthronement meeting of Mount of Olives Rose Croix Chapter. A splendid occasion which was followed by a most delicious banquet.
First thing in the morning of 17 June, I drove to Arnside to greet all the brethren who were walking across Morecambe Bay for the MCF. The numbers were great, although there were many other people taking the opportunity to do the Cross Bay Walk on such a beautiful day with glorious sunshine all the way. After wishing them all well as they set forth across the sands, Maureen and I drove to Southport for the Annual West Lancashire Charities Festival held at the Marine Hall Conference Centre. The evening was well attended although not as well as in previous years, but we all had a delicious meal followed by excellent entertainment, which made for a wonderful evening amongst many friends.
Monday 19 June in the evening I headed for Carnforth only a few miles north, to Kerneforde Hall for a meeting of Kenlis Conclave in the Red Cross. It was a very hot evening and the lodge room was full to capacity as the IG Steven Bolton was in attendance with his district team. A really enjoyable and most relaxing evening.
It was an early start in the morning of Wednesday 21 June as Maureen and I, together with several other friends from Morecambe had to be at Bryn Masonic Hall for 8am. We were off to Ascot for a 3-day visit. We had a very relaxing coach journey down to Windsor where we enjoyed a few hours in this very old and interesting town before arriving at our hotel in Staines. A very hot day, possibly the hottest of the year. After dinner, we enjoyed a stroll along the banks of the River Thames before adjourning to bed.
Next day it was Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. All dressed up in our finery we boarded the coach for Ascot Race Course. It was absolutely packed. We had a wonderful day. We all enjoyed a buffet picnic lunch, sat out in the sunshine, before entering the races. What an experience seeing 1,000s of ladies’ hats bouncing about everywhere. Can`t say that we made a killing on the horses though, but we certainly did enjoy the day, before returning to our hotel for dinner and an opportunity to have yet another stroll along the banks of the Thames.
Friday 23 June and it was time for home. We travelled via Hampton Court so we had an opportunity to visit the Palace and enjoy the beautiful gardens and stroll in the sunshine, but leaving after lunch for the homeward coach journey stopping off at Stafford for an evening meal before arriving back at Bryn after a fabulous 3-day coach adventure in the company of many Wigan and district Masons and the ladies and those who had accompanied us from Morecambe.
In the morning of 24 June, Maureen and I travelled to Blackpool Masonic Hall, Adelaide Street, where I had the great honour of opening the Masonic Museum which has been assembled by the curator Martyn Jones. What an excellent display of Masonic regalia and artefacts. If you get to Blackpool you really must have a visit. After lunch, we drove to the Hilton Hotel where members of the Fylde Coast Lodges celebrated the Tercentenary by conducting the ceremony of `the empty chair’. A very moving ceremony and most appropriate for the celebration of 300 years of Grand Lodge and Armed Forces Day. It was one of those very special occasions when our ladies were present following which we enjoyed a drinks reception which gave me an opportunity to meet with many of the 170 brethren and their ladies before enjoying a delicious banquet and a fun casino evening and dancing. A fantastic evening of celebration.
A few days of relaxing in the garden, walks along the promenade and time to catch up on paper work. This brought the month of June to a conclusion as far as Masonic duties are concerned. Maureen and I are now looking forward to a more relaxing few weeks and hopefully to enjoy a few holiday breaks in amongst some essential meetings at the Provincial office in preparation for the start of the next Masonic season. I trust that you and your families will do likewise and enjoy your summer holidays and let us all hope for better weather to come.
Provincial Grand Master