This was a meeting described by South Fylde Group Chairman John Robbie Porter, as ‘delightful’ and nobody present was disagreeing with him. Visitors attending meetings of the Lodge of Triumph No 1061, the oldest lodge meeting at St Annes Palace, can always be assured of an excellent evening of ritual and the installation of Roger Weston was no exception.
From the confident manner in which Mike Boxall opened the lodge and dealt with the early items of business, which included the minutes from 100 years ago, those present could tell this was going to go well. Mike then had the pleasure of welcoming into the lodge grand officer Ian Ward, representing the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews.
Ian was accompanied by group chairman John Robbie Porter and grand officer Mike Goodwin, along with a retinue of Provincial grand officers. Ted Rhodes, the resident grand officer was already in the lodge, ‘working for a living.’ Wearing several hats, Ted was going to be busy on this occasion. He was earlier found searching for a ‘Panda Car’ to speed him around.
It was nice to see four young members in white aprons but, alas, they were asked to retire while work in higher degrees was carried out. Initially, salutations to grand and Provincial grand officers, which received suitable responses from Ian Ward and group vice chairman Ben Gorry respectively. The installing officers then took their places with Dave Barr acting as senior warden, Tom Goodier as junior warden and Ted Rhodes as inner guard. Ted then went into action with his second job, that of presenting Roger Weston as master elect.
Mike Boxall delivered the opening address and lodge secretary Brian Horrocks read the ancient charges and regulations before Roger took his obligation in traditional form. Mike then vacated the master’s chair in favour of director of ceremonies John Topping who installed Roger into the chair with the assistance of the other installed masters present.
With Roger duly installed, John then directed the perambulations of the younger brothers, who saluted and greeted the new master in the three degrees with some fine explanations of the working tools delivered by Alan Barlow in the third degree, Jordan Brown in the second degree and Ben Nicholas in the first degree. Of particular note was that Jordan and Ben are fellow craft and entered apprentice respectively.
The new wardens were then installed by Dave Barr and Tom Goodier, with Dave also delivering the address to the deacons. John Topping was also kept busy with addresses to the new assistant director of ceremonies as well as that to the stewards. Ian Ward stepped in to deliver the address to the WM, as Brian Pearson was taken to hospital and unable to attend. Then up stood Ted Rhodes with another hat on to deliver a fine address to the wardens before Ian Ward brought the installation ceremony to a close with an address to the brethren of the lodge in true Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction style.
Ian then delivered the greetings from the Provincial Grand Master and had the pleasure to receive cheques and notices of charitable donations from the lodge for the following: West Lancashire Freemason’s charity £1,033.05, Ukraine appeal £425, North West Blood Bikes £600, RNLI £600, Rosemere Cancer Foundation £600, Air Ambulance £600, Crohn’s & Colitis UK £300 and the Blackpool Carers £300. The total sum donated was £4,458.05, which Ian described as a magnificent amount of money.
Following a comprehensive report from lodge almoner Graham Smith, the concluding items of business were dispatched and the lodge was closed. The brethren then retired to the banqueting suite for a sumptuous feast provided by Lee Munro and his Masonic Catering team.
Following the meal, the customary toasts were observed and that to the grand officers drew an entertaining response from Ian Ward in which he congratulated those who had taken part in the ceremony and those who had prepared for the meeting in the background. He also congratulated John Topping on his impending promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Noel Dentith and Alan Guest on their forthcoming promotion and appointment to Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer. Ian also covered subjects such as the Royal Arch, the new Pro Grand Master and the new Provincial Grand Master, as well as the group dinner.
This was followed by Mike Boxall’s toast to the new WM in which he gave a comprehensive account of Roger’s life and several careers. This was followed by the master’s song which was performed excellently by David Harrison accompanied by Phil Bolton on the piano. Roger then responded to the toast to his health with a series of thanks to all those responsible for ensuring the success of the evening.
Prior to the new tyler, John Nicholls, proposing the final toast of the evening, Brian Horrocks presented the retiring tyler, Ken Turner, with a gift in recognition of his many years of service to the lodge. The brethren then retired either to their homes or to the bar, which stayed open until quite late.