November got off to a good start as on 1 November, following the Tercentenary Celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall and the Evolution in London, I enjoyed an early breakfast in the hotel before setting forth for London Euston Station and our return rail journey to Morecambe. Arriving home early afternoon I prepared myself for a Mark installation meeting at Morecambe Mark, my mother Mark lodge, and as I was taking part in the ceremony it was essential to be in attendance. An excellent ceremony followed by a welcomed salad supper. A wonderful time in the company of many of my local brethren.
Next came a few days of relaxing over the weekend and enjoying some time with Maureen before the next Masonic meetings. A poor weekend weather wise so not much opportunity to do any walking or outdoor activity.
On 6 November, it was a journey to Liverpool in the evening took me to the Adelphi Hotel for a meeting of Lebanon Mark Lodge, of which I am currently the master. Although I say so myself, we had a great meeting which was enjoyed by all those attending.
Wednesday 8 November was a very early start in the morning as I was travelling to London accompanied by Phil Gardner for the Annual Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter. A good journey down arriving mid-morning in time for the meeting. We were joined by Geoffrey Saul, Paul Renton, Stan Rigby and a number of other companions. A very good meeting at which the Grand First Principal invested many companions with their appointment to or promotions in Supreme Grand Chapter. After the meeting we adjourned to the Connaught Rooms for an excellent luncheon following which it was time to resume our return journey home. After a long train journey, we had to abandon our train at Preston due to high winds and continue home by road.
It was off to Barrow-in-Furness at lunchtime on 9 November with Keith Kemp. On arrival at Fairfield Lane, the Masonic Centre in Barrow, we were joined by several members of the group who had arranged for a presentation from the Brathy Trust on their excellent work and the work that the brethren of the group do to assist in its annual charity race. Then after a wonderful afternoon tea, we attended the installation meeting of the Barrow Lodge No 3928. A very well supported meeting, as the lodge room was full to capacity, to witness an excellent ceremony. The usual pre-dinner refreshments followed enabling time to talk with many of the brethren attending the meeting. We then enjoyed an excellent dinner before the drive back around Morecambe Bay.
The 10, 11 and 12 November was a weekend away with Maureen, albeit a Tercentenary celebration for the Furness and South Lakeland and the Lancaster Groups. A fabulous weekend of entertainment and frivolity at the Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange-over-Sands and in the company of around 200 brethren and their ladies. Good food, good company and great fun was had by all who attended.
The weather was good on Saturday 11 November and at 11am many brethren accompanied me to the Cenotaph in Grange for a Remembrance Day service and the laying of a wreath on behalf of fallen Freemasons.
After a very hectic weekend, on Monday 13 November Keith Kemp and I set forth for Liverpool Hope Street for the installation meeting of the Lodge of Israel No 1502. A terrific turnout of Liverpool Masons for this installation meeting as Barry Elman was installed as the master. What a delightful ceremony we were all privileged to witness and to meet with many of the brethren attending the meeting. Following a pre-dinner drinks reception and canopies we were treat to a delicious dinner. The journey home was somewhat difficult as the M6 was closed on our return.
On 14 November, after a very leisurely morning, I travelled to Blackpool, Adelaide Street Masonic Centre for the installation convocation of Peace and Unity Chapter No 3966. I was accompanied by David Randerson, Tony Hall and the Provincial Scribe Nehemiah David Barr, together with Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil MacSymons and a number of Supreme Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Chapter Officers for a most interesting ceremony and in many ways somewhat different from the norm. A very well attended convocation was followed by an excellent dinner.
In the morning of Wednesday 15 November, I set off for Leyland, Wellington Park for the installation meeting of Adoniram Mark Lodge. John Bicknell was installed as the master by Rod Bennison and over 100 brethren attended this excellent meeting.
Thursday 16 November and it was back to Leyland again this morning for the AGM of the WLFC. Sadly, the meeting was not well attended, but it was a good meeting and we were addressed by two members of Myerscough College who gave a presentation on their sponsored visit to Texas to see how cattle farming was done there. Full marks to them on an excellent presentation. In the afternoon I travelled to The Palace at St Annes with Paul Renton. It was a Royal Arch team visit which was supported by Barry Jameson, Ian Higham, David Randerson, Tony Hall, Peter Taylor, David Barr, the DC Paul Hesketh and many other grand and acting Provincial grand officers. We all had the opportunity to witness an excellently delivered `Enhanced Ceremony of Advancement` by many members of the chapter. The Palace is now a most delightful Masonic centre and we had a delicious supper before returning home. This evening the M55 was closed and my return journey had to go via Blackpool.
Saturday 18 November saw me in my role as Grand Junior Warden of the Mark, as a new Provincial Grand Master was being invested in the Province of Warwickshire and the meeting took place at the Heart of England Conference Centre. I was accompanied by many members of the Grand Mark Team, the Pro Grand Master, the Grand Secretary and DC with many deputies for this special occasion. A most interesting day.
It was a very early on Tuesday 21 November as I join Phil Gunning for a day in London. To Freemasons Hall for the annual meeting of the Great Priory of Malta. It was an occasion that I will long remember as I was appointed a Great Officer in the order. The temple was reasonably well filled by the Knights from around the country for this special meeting, which was followed by a dinner in the Connaught Rooms. Later in the early evening we returned to Lancaster with an uneventful rail journey.
The next day, 22 November was a day catching up on paperwork, letters and emails. This evening however I was attending my own Poulton le Sands Lodge No 1051 for the 50th celebration of Keith Dorrington, the DC of the Lodge. David Grainger was the principal guest of the evening and delivered an excellent address on our celebrant.
Following a very restful day on 24 November, I attended my Morecambe Rose Croix meeting in the evening. A most enjoyable and relaxing evening in company of many local friends and colleagues.
Maureen and I were off to Blackpool in the afternoon of Saturday 25 November, staying at the Hilton Hotel. This evening we were celebrating the final Tercentenary Gala Dinner which was arranged by Tony Bent and his committee. What a wonderful occasion this was. We were honoured with the presence of Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master, who had just returned to the UK early this morning after visiting New Zealand for a tercentenary event. There were 410 brethren and their ladies attending this finale. An excellent meal presented and served by a large number staff followed by entertainment with two opera singing waiters, a Frank Sinatra tribute and the Mike James Big Band. A fabulous finish to a fantastic year of celebrations.
After quite a relaxing Sunday, on Monday 27 November, I found myself completing my paperwork and preparing for my meeting this evening at Wellington Park in Leyland. It was the installation meeting of Quingenti Lodge No 8516, a lodge of past and present Provincial Grand Stewards. Wonderful support of over 100 brethren in attendance to witness Philip Gambrill install his successor John Karran. It was good to see some many brethren filling the main lodge room and to see some 13 joining members to the Lodge. I very much appreciate the support that the brethren of this lodge give to the Province of West Lancashire.
Tuesday 28 November was a beautiful day here in Morecambe and Maureen and I took the opportunity to undertake a few last-minute gardening jobs and then to have a relaxing stroll on the promenade.
I was off to Gosforth Park Race Course in the morning of 29 November, not to visit the races but to attend the Annual Provincial Grand Lodge meeting of the Province of Northumberland. I was accompanied by Phil Gunning, Peter Taylor, Kevin Poynton, David Winder, Stewart Seddon, David Walmsley and Geoffrey Lucas for what was a very fulfilling and most interesting Provincial meeting. The PrGM Ian Craigs, was pleased to welcome many other PrGMs from other provinces together with Sir Paul Williams from the RMBI charity who spoke about their festival and received a cheque from the PrGM for £300,000. Following a delicious meal as always in Northumberland we retraced out journey home to West Lancashire after enjoying a wonderful day.
This visit brings me to the end of another very busy but most enjoyable month. And as we start the month of December, may Maureen and I extend to you and your loved ones a very merry and enjoyable forthcoming Christmas and a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
Provincial Grand Master