A very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. I hope that you enjoyed the Festivities as much as Maureen and I did. Having returned home, after a wonderful time in the Isle of Man, I was soon preparing for my next official Masonic visit.
On Tuesday 3 January, Keith Kemp and I travelled to Leyland to pick up Peter Taylor and from there we were off to Leigh Masonic Hall for a meeting of the Lodge of Truth No 6235. This was a rather unexpected re-arranged visit and the lodge were conducting a third-degree ceremony for Adam Ralphs. We were joined by some 70 local brethren and their guests for what was an excellent ceremony conducted by Chris Howcroft. As PrGM I do not very often get an opportunity to witness this degree ceremony and all present were most impressed. I was visiting the lodge on this occasion, to thank my Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Jonathon Mark Heaton, a member of this lodge, for his commitment and dedication to his duties and for his great support of the Province. He was well supported by a number of the brethren of the Provincial team. The meeting was followed by an excellent festive board and an opportunity to meet with many of the brethren.
The rest of this week was very quiet as far as Masonic duties were concerned. However, the weather was quite good and Maureen and I had several walks along our wonderful local promenade enjoying those magnificent views of Lakeland.
In the afternoon of 16 January, I travelled to Liverpool to the Adelphi Hotel where I was attending the Installation meeting of St. Georges Lodge of Harmony No 32. As a member of this lodge I was delighted to be the Principal Guest of the evening. Prior to the lodge opening, I was able to meet with many of the brethren and their guests, many of whom I knew quite well, so it was nice to catch up. The installation meeting was conducted by Keith Sanders the WM who installed the master elect Bro Mark Pritchard in an exemplary manner. Then following the ceremony, we retired to the dining room for drinks and a chat prior to an excellent banquet enjoyed by some 60 brethren. A most enjoyable yet very relaxing occasion in the delightful atmosphere of this very old, yet most impressive building in central Liverpool.
Two days later I travelled to Pemberton Masonic Hall with Keith Kemp and Peter Taylor for the ‘Masters and First Principal’s Festival’ of the Wigan Group. We were also accompanied by Tony Bent, Ian Cuerden and the Provincial wardens John Lee and Jonathon Heaton together with Jim Miller, the PrGSN. The evening was hosted by the chairman, Geoffrey Porter and his group officers and we had the opportunity to answer questions posed by many members of the group. A very interesting and thought provoking question time, which was followed by pre- dinner drinks and a delicious dinner prepared and served by the staff at this excellent Masonic Centre at Pemberton.
20 January dawned and it was somewhat of a change today. Following a delightful walk along the Promenade at Morecambe with Maureen this morning, I set forth for Grange over Sands, in the afternoon, in the company of Keith Kemp and Paul Broadley from Morecambe. We travelled to the Cumbria Grand Hotel where we were to join with over 100 brethren and gentlemen for an evening of boxing. The Furness and South Lakeland Group had their annual boxing tournament, with an excellent four course dinner and 12 bouts of youth boxing. The evening was a huge success for charity and the many thousands of pounds raised on that evening, will very shortly be distributed to both Masonic and non-masonic charities within the group. Well done to all who arranged and assisted at this special evening and a big thank you to all the sponsors and those supporting the event.
It was good to enjoy a nice quiet weekend at home with Maureen. The weather was very mild and we had the opportunity to do a little work in the garden and take a little exercise in walking along the Promenade to Happy Mount Park at Bare.
On Tuesday 24 January, I travelled in the afternoon to Thornton Cleveleys for the Royal Arch installation convocation of Saturnian Chapter No 7568. I was accompanied by David Randerson, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals’ together with Terry Hudson, Stuart Thornber, Harry Cox, Ron Weatherill, Geoffrey Pritchard, Brian Parkin, Norman Thomas, Roger Perry, David Harrison, and group chairman Duncan Smith. We were also supported by Neil MacSymons, James Miller, Ron Strangwick, and Martin Dennison. I had the great pleasure of witnessing an excellent ceremony of installation for Damian Davenport as first principal, conducted by Ken Smith, with Derek Broadbent as second principal and as third principal, Steve Willingham. The meeting was supported by many members of the chapter and their guests and we were treated to an excellent festival dinner.
On the following evening, I was pleased to attend my own lodge Poulton Le Sands, for the business meeting and an explanation of the first-degree tracing board by our DC Keith Dorrington. The meeting was followed by a Burns Night celebratory dinner, which gave me a great opportunity to meet with many new members of our Lodge.
On 26 January I travelled to Wyre Bank Masonic Hall, Garstang for a meeting of Rose of Lancastria, Rose Croix Chapter. I was attending as a guest of Philip Gardner, to give a short talk to the members of the chapter about the forthcoming MCF 2021 Festival, following which I was presented with a significant contribution from the chapter towards the Festival for which I am really most grateful.
The next day was a lovely day in Morecambe, so Maureen and I took the opportunity to have a nice walk along the Promenade and enjoy the magnificent views across the bay. In the evening, I attended my Morecambe Rose Croix Chapter for the 50th celebration of Tom Holroyd, the senior member of the chapter. I was joined by some 60 members and their guests for this exceptional meeting as such an occasion very rarely occurs. We heard a resumé of Tom`s 50 years as a Rose Croix Mason and then enjoyed a delightful meal and fellowship with all present.
On Saturday 28 January, Maureen and I travelled to Liverpool with a number of colleagues from Morecambe for a social evening at Hope Street Masonic Hall. The Association of Liverpool Mark Lodges held a fantastic social event which was attended by over 100 brethren and their ladies. We enjoyed a champagne reception which was followed by a most delicious four course dinner and an evening of entertainment. A wonderful relaxing evening.
This brought my Masonic duties to a close for this month and over the next couple of days whilst the weather was reasonable, Maureen and I enjoyed the fresh air and fun of Morecambe`s delightful walks.
Provincial Grand Master