We moved into March with the weather like a Lion, somewhat wild and fierce, but with the intention to enjoy the many meetings which were arranged for the month.
On Tuesday 3 March, I firstly travelled to Wellington Park, Leyland for an installation meeting for one of the side degrees of which I am a member. An excellent meeting which then progressed into an installation meeting for two new members joining the order. Following an excellent luncheon I set off on my travels to Liverpool where I knew that I would enjoy another meeting at Hope Street.
In the company of the Provincial Prior of Lancashire, I took part in and certainly enjoyed the two installation meetings which followed. After which a large number of us enjoyed a delightful banquet well prepared and served by the staff at Hope Street.
After what had been a long day but very enjoyable and exciting I had to make the long journey back to Morecambe, which unfortunately was greatly prolonged by the closing of the M6 at Preston which has occurred on many occasions in the recent days.
On Wednesday 4 March, I battled the early morning traffic through Lancaster to attend the group chairman`s meeting at Leyland Masonic Hall. I have found that meetings with all the group chairmen is of great benefit to us as we have the opportunity to discuss any matters of concern in our groups and the Province generally. I enjoyed a very interesting and fulfilling meeting.
Thursday 5 March turned out to be a most exciting and interesting day for I travelled to Warrington for the installation meeting of the Lodge of Charity No 2651. On this occasion I was accompanied by Maureen, Keith Kemp and a minder David Thomas.
We had rather an early departure from home as we needed to arrive at Winmarleigh House, the Masonic Centre in Warrington, for the opening of the Warrington Masonic Museum and Library, of which I was invited to formally open. Brethren what a marvellous Museum they have, and very much with thanks to Vic Charlesworth and a number of his colleagues who have devoted so much time to preparing and collating all the many artefacts which are so well displayed. If you get an opportunity to visit, you must do so, well done to all who have worked so hard and supported this terrific project.
Following the official opening of the Museum, Maureen was invited by Mrs Christine Myers the wife of the Master Elect, to dinner and evening entertainment.
I was joined by Kevin Poynton, Barry Jameson, the Warrington Group Chairman Chris Eyres, together with a galaxy of grand officers of the Province and we had the wonderful opportunity to witness the excellent installation ceremony of Malcolm Myers by the Chaplain of the lodge Charlie Appleton. After the workings in the ceremony we retired to the bar, where I was delighted to meet with many of the brethren of the lodge and their visitors before adjourning to the dining room to enjoy an excellent banquet prepared by the hall caterers. After all the formalities of the Festival of St John we sadly had to battle our way northwards through the closure of the M6 at Preston again!
In the evening of Friday 6 March I returned to Wellington Park, Leyland for a special celebratory dinner which had been arranged by Geoffrey Lee to celebrate the tenure of office of Peter Connolly, as the Provincial Grand Master of another order, who is to retire from office on 5 May this year. This was a wonderful occasion attended by the guest of honour, Peter`s wife Lynn, together with 212 brethren from all round the Province.
A nice long and relaxing weekend lay ahead for Maureen and I and we again took the opportunity to spend some time walking the Promenade at Morecambe and enjoying the magnificent views across the bay.
On Tuesday 10 March I boarded a train at Lancaster for the journey down to London for the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge. Whilst in London I took the opportunity to attend the Grand Lodge meeting of another order which was being held at Great Queen Street, I was joined by 27 Masons from West Lancashire enjoying their sojourn to the City and a visit to this Grand Lodge meeting.
On Wednesday 11 March I was down at the Masonic Hall in Great Queen Street bright and early as I wanted to take the opportunity to visit a number of officials, whose offices are in this magnificent art deco building.
I then very proudly took my place in the procession into the Grand Temple, along with all the other PrGM`s from around the country who had travelled to London for the Quarterly Communication meeting. I was astonished to see that the Grand Temple was almost full to capacity, with many master Masons present who had travelled from various quarters of the Country to attend this meeting.
I have to say that it was a very interesting meeting, during which the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes made a presentation of the` Order of Service to Masonry` to Charles Grace, who is a Metropolitan Deputy Grand Master, but also a member of St Georges Lodge of Harmony No 32 that meets in Liverpool. a great honour for Charles but also for lodge 32 and the Province of West Lancashire.
Following the meeting we adjourned to the New Connaught Rooms for the luncheon where I was accompanied by Phil Gunning, Mark Dimelow, David Winder, Peter Connolly, Jim Alty, Geoffrey Bury, Eric Drinkwater, Michael Jones, Ernie Waites and Peter Taffe, all of whom had travelled to London in support of the Province of West Lancashire and I sincerely thank them for accompanying me. Needless to say we all had a most enjoyable time.
Friday 13 March was to be a red letter day for Maureen and I together with Peter Pemberton and Fliss and Martyn and Debbie we were heading off to the Macron Stadium at Bolton, together with over 500 other brethren and their ladies for the 155th Provincial Masonic Ball. What a wonderful occasion we had. Maureen and I were so pleased to be able to meet with many masters and first principals and their ladies together many of the brethren and ladies joining us for an excellent meal, for the Grand March and the dancing throughout the evening.
I thank all of you who joined us on this very special evening, and hope that those of you who missed this magnificent event will join us all next year.
After a quiet relaxing weekend Monday 16 March took me off to Southport for their masters and first principals` festival, held at the Southport Masonic Hall, which was well attended and supported by the brethren of the group. Following an interesting question and answer session in the lodge room we adjourned to the dining room for an excellent dinner prepared by the new chef, who is shortly to become a Freemason as he is joining West Lancashire Lodge No 1403 lodge on 27 April .
Thursday 19 March took me across the border to Blackburn in East Lancashire for their Annual Provincial Grand Chapter Convocation. St Georges Hall in Blackburn was almost full to capacity for the meeting which was also attended by George Pippon Francis the Second Grand Principal, who travelled from London to address the meeting. I was accompanied by the Deputy Grand Superintendent Danny Jones, AtoPrGP’s David Randerson and the Provincial Scribe E Peter Taylor. We all had a most exciting and interesting time meeting with the companions from the East.
On Friday 20 March I returned to Wellington Park, Leyland for the installation meeting of Phoenix Lodge of Installed Masters No 9206 to witness Henry Causey install his successor Andy Sumner in excellent style, following which we all enjoyed a well prepared and served festival of St John.
On Saturday 21 March I witnessed the dawn breaking as I left home to travel to Derby for the Annual Provincial Grand Chapter Convocation of the Province of Derbyshire. I had the pleasure of the company of our Scribe E Peter Taylor together with AtoPrGP’s Paul Renton and Chris Butterfield. We all had an excellent day with our companions from Derbyshire and the many surrounding Provinces.
After a relaxing Sunday the start of the week came round very quickly for on Monday 23 March I travelled to Cleveleys where I attended the installation meeting of Peace and Unity Lodge No 3966 and witnessed the Master Peter Canning and Ken Buckley installing Bill Widdowson in an excellent ceremony enjoyed by almost 100 Brethren from the North Fylde Group of Lodges. I was accompanied by APrGMs Harry Cox, David Winder and PAPrGM Terry Hudson together with many other grand officers. Following the ceremony I was delighted to meet with many of the brethren present before enjoying an excellent meal at the festive board, in the surrounding of the wonderful Masonic Centre at Cleveleys.
Tuesday 24 March took me to Liverpool Hope Street where I attended the installation meeting of Ancient Briton Lodge No 1675 I was welcomed to Liverpool by APrGM Mark Dimelow and the Liverpool Group Chairman Sam Robinson, who assured me that I would enjoy my evening with the brethren. I certainly did.
The ceremony of installation was perfectly delivered by the master Roy Williams and Stephen Tilley was installed as the new Master. It was a delight for me to see so many brethren in the lodge room and for us all to enjoy the delicious banquet that followed.
Following a couple of days to catch up on paperwork I was again travelling to the south of the Province on Friday 27 March, when I attended the Woolton Group masters and first principals dinner at the Woolton Golf Club, which is their Masonic Centre. After meeting with many of the brethren we enjoyed a most interesting question and answer session, before retiring to the dining room for a delicious Hot Pot supper.
The week-end gave Maureen and I the opportunity to relax although the weather was not very kind to us so our planned walks along the promenade had to be cancelled.
March went out like a Lion as far as the weather was concerned, for my part, the month went out well, as on the 31 March I attended the Craft Cabinet meeting held at Leyland Masonic Hall. All in all a very hectic and very enjoyable month.
Brethren I hope your month of Freemasonry has been a good one too.
Provincial Grand Master