Brethren it is great to back here in West Lancashire enjoying the typical British weather, and where once again I am able enjoy my Freemasonry.
It has been short but quite a busy month. My first Masonic meeting was on Monday 9 February, when I attended a very pleasant and most enjoyable meeting at one of the other orders I am a member of in Morecambe. It was a Ladies to dine evening so Maureen was able to accompany me for the excellent buffet dinner and what turned out to be a most entertaining evening with an all-round entertainer producing a show fit for the Palace.
Tuesday 10 February took me to Wigan Chapter No 2326 along with the Provincial Royal Arch team for a special convocation of the chapter. This is the chapter of Stuart Blagg who this year is the acting Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah and DC of this chapter.
The companions of the chapter allowed us all to witness an excellent demonstration of the enhanced Royal Arch Exaltation Ceremony. All the companions present were justifiably impressed at the presentation of this ceremony.
The Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch, Danny Jones together with Peter Elmore, Stanley Oldfield and all the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals are endeavouring to increase the profile of the Holy Royal Arch throughout the Province, through these demonstrations of the enhanced exaltation ceremony. Companions if you get an opportunity to see one of these convocations, I urge you not to miss it.
Thursday 12 February gave me an opportunity to make a private visit to my own Royal Arch Chapter, Sandylands Chapter No 5702 meeting in Morecambe it was a nice enjoyable and relaxing meeting.
Early on Friday 13 February Maureen and I set of for a long weekend to Stockholm, Sweden, where we enjoyed the company of Maureen`s sister and her husband who entertained us and showed us around the city of Stockholm. The weather was cold and very sunny with a good covering of snow all around. This was a nice weekend break which got me back home just in time for my next visit on Monday 16 February I was off to Wyre Bank Masonic Centre in Garstang, for the Installation meeting on Plantagenet Lodge of Installed Masters No 9357 which was attended by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson. As a member of this lodge I am, fortunately allowed to attend, and along with a full lodge of past masters and their guests from the Lancaster and District Group, we witnessed Peter Mason install his successor Alan Brown in what was a delightful Installation ceremony followed by an excellent Festival of St John.
On Tuesday 17 February I was accompanied by Keith Kemp the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to Swinton Masonic Hall where I attended the special meeting of Stretford with Trafford Lodge No 4379 in the Eccles and District Group. The Lodge room was filled with a great many local brethren and guests from around our Province and indeed East Lancashire, to be part of this very special meeting to unveil the recently restored Architect Lodge, Tracing Cloths which had been presented to Swinton Masonic Hall by the lodge on its closure.
As I was privileged to unveil each cloth in turn, the working tools of each degree were presented and explained to the worshipful master and a short history of each cloth was given by Robert McMillan. I hope brethren that if you ever go to Swinton Masonic Hall you take the time to view these wonderful Masonic artefacts.
On Wednesday 18 February I was again in the company of Keith Kemp as we travelled to Saul Street, Preston for the bicentenary celebration of the Lodge of Concord No 343. This was to be a very special meeting not only for the members of the lodge but for myself and the members of the Provincial team accompanying me, as we were all delighted to be able to welcome to West Lancashire, the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence who had travelled from London with the Deputy Grand Secretary, Shaun Christie they were accompanied by Stephen Blank APrGM in East Lancashire and a past Deputy Grand Directorr of Ceremonies.
It was a great delight to be in the presence of Jonathan and he carried out his duties in a most exacting and exemplary manner. I was, as you will all recall expecting Jonathan on the occasion of my investiture as your PrGM in July of last year, but he was unable to be present for personal reasons, however, it was a great pleasure to be in his company. All brethren present on this very special 200th meeting of the Lodge of Concord had a wonderful and most enjoyable time.
On Tuesday 24 February I travelled to Wellington Park Masonic centre in Leyland for a visit to Leyland St Andrews Lodge No 7391. I was joined by many senior officers of the Province in the Craft and the Royal Arch, all there to enjoy an evening with their members and guests for a presentation of `Talking Heads` which was being delivered by members of the Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London, who had travelled up to Leyland to deliver this presentation. It was all about the Holy Royal Arch and how a brother can find out more about the Royal Arch and how to become a member. The main Lodge room was full of brethren interested in seeing this specially adapted presentation about the Royal Arch,
Wednesday 25 February was to be a very relaxing day in preparation for the installation meeting of Poulton le Sands Lodge No 1051, of which I am a member and as such eligible to attend this meeting, even though Keith Stanley Kemp, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies was to represent me on this occasion.
The Lodge room at Morecambe Masonic hall was full. The brethren and their guests I am sure had come to witness Keith Lamb install his successor Steven Plevey, master elect and the SW of the lodge. It was indeed an excellent ceremony and I felt very proud to be a member of the lodge.
Following the meeting we all made our way to the Lothersdale Hotel on the promenade, where we were to enjoy an excellent Festival of St John, following which the usual speeches were delivered and responded to. As Keith rose to respond to the toast to the grand officers, the lodge DC was afforded an unexpected break from his labours, as a ‘past DC’ of the lodge, I took over the customary position behind Keith. I will cherish the expression on Keith`s face for many years, as he turned to realise that I had ‘taken post’ behind him. I advised Keith that as it was my lodge I was claiming this rare and probably unique chance to reciprocate the same honour and courtesy that Keith had afforded me on innumerable occasions. The applause was truly deafening! We went to have a truly wonderful and most enjoyable evening, which continued well after the final toast of the evening.
Friday 27 February as the month is drawing to a close I had the great pleasure in attending the Bootle Group Masters` and First Principals` Festival which was held at Litherland Masonic Hall. The meeting was well attended by Masters and 1st Principals of the Lodges and Chapters in the Group together with a good number of other Brethren. We enjoyed a good Question and Answer session in the Lodge room before retiring to the dining room for an excellent dinner. It was a pleasure to meet with the many brethren who attended this important event in their Masonic calendar.
I am now looking forward to a weekend of good weather so that Maureen and I can potter around the garden and enjoy a good walk along Morecambe`s promenade taking in all those beautiful views across the bay.
Provincial Grand Master