The recent installation meeting of the Lodge of Unanimity No 113 saw nonagenarian, Roy Crowder, hand over the reins of the lodge to his successor, Vic Parker. The principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master, David Winder who was accompanied by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Frank Wilkinson and Bill Seddon, the Preston Group Chairman, Steve Bolton supported by grand officers Geoff Saul, David Rhodes, Alan Smith, Bill Seddon and Ron Weatherill and acting Provincial rank officer, Alan Howarth.
Following the administrative business of the lodge, the DC, Trevor Phillips, requested permission to retire from the lodge for a short time. He returned to announce the presence of the principal guest of the evening, David Winder, who was admitted in due form accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers. Roy formally welcomed David into the lodge; who responded by thanking Roy for his kind welcome and wished him well for what he was sure would be an excellent ceremony.
The ceremony commenced with Vic being presented for installation by Gordon Pilkington. Roy then had the pleasure of installing Vic as master in what was a commendable ceremony. In return, Vic’s first duty as master, was to invest Roy as the immediate past master, (IPM), of the lodge. Complying with lodge tradition, Roy was then addressed as to his duties as IPM by Trevor Phillips.
As Vic had served as master of a lodge on a previous occasion and again complying with lodge tradition, only the working tools in the third degree were presented in full, on this occasion by Gordon Pilkington. The working tools in the other two degrees were visually presented, without explanation by Trevor Phillips. At the conclusion of Vic’s installation, he was addressed by Stan Rigby.
Following on, as part of the appointment of officers, Malcolm Berry, senior warden, was informed of his duties by John Watson. Stan Rigby, junior warden, was similarly informed of his duties by Douglas Atkinson and both wardens were addressed by Ray Taylor. Senior and junior deacons, Peter Rogers and Kevin Ruffley respectively, were addressed together by Gary Norris.
Bringing the delight of music back to the lodge, Vic had the pleasure of appointing Howard Linaker as the lodge organist. On behalf of all the members, Vic went on to thank Howard for accepting a lodge position that had been vacant for the past 54 years.
The inner guard, Alan McGlen, was addressed by Richard Johnson, with the final address; that to the brethren, being presented in an extended form by Peter Watson, concluded the ceremony.
David rose to bring the congratulations and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. He congratulated both Vic on attaining the chair of a lodge once more and Roy for his excellent year in office.
He went on to congratulate all those that had a part to play in the day’s ceremony, commenting that Unanimity is noted for its detailed ritual; ritual that had yet again been delivered in such excellent manner.
In response, Vic thanked David for his kind comments on behalf of Tony Harrison and, on behalf of the lodge presented him with three donations, the first for £300 in support of the Preston Masonic Hall Foundation Fund, the second for £300 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the third, also for £300, in support of the 2021 Festival.
The work in the lodge concluded with Gordon Pilkington presenting a past master’s jewel to Roy to mark his year in the chair of the lodge.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, David noted that there are 13 lodges within the Province of West Lancashire with histories that stretch back more than 200 years and the Lodge of Unanimity is one of them. He commented that the lodge had very successfully changed to a ‘daylight’ lodge, but noted that, to widen potential support, it had made the decision to hold its installation meetings in the evening. As the correctness of this decision was amply demonstrated by the number of visitors attending from other parts of the Province, he humorously commended the lodge membership for managing to stay up so late. He was pleased to see so many grand officers in attendance supporting both himself and the event.
On his own behalf, David went on to congratulate Vic on attaining the chair of such a fine lodge, this despite being a very busy person in other Masonic areas. It was the third time Vic had taken the master’s chair, on each occasion, in a different lodge. Moving to Roy, as the outgoing master, David congratulated him on the excellent job he made of installing Vic as his successor and for all the work he did in support of the lodge during his year in office. He went on to congratulate all the brethren who had a part to play in the proceedings in lodge that had produced such a wonderful ceremony; a ceremony that had demonstrated so many extended addresses that were such a pleasure to hear.
Turning to Masonry in general, David encouraged the brethren to talk openly about their Freemasonry. He reminded the brethren that the days of secrecy were over and that they should be proud of their membership; as Masonry is celebrating its tercentenary. David asked the question, “How many organisations can boast such a record?”
He informed the brethren that the 2021 Festival jewel is now available encouraging them to obtain one by donating to the festival, either a lump sum or regular payments made over the four-year life of the Festival. He acquainted the brethren with the fact that the Province of West Lancashire had, in recent times, received over six and a half million pounds of Masonic charitable assistance over and above that collected by the Province itself. He asked that any donations made as part of the Grand Lodge tercentenary celebrations be credited to the Festival.
David went on to mention Masonic halls and their need for support, as without them, there would be no Masonry. He asked brethren to consider such support to include holding tercentenary events within the halls themselves.
David concluded by thanking the lodge DC, Trevor Phillips, for all his hard work on what had been an excellent feast of Masonry and the lodge secretary, Gordon Pilkington, for the information he had supplied.
The evening’s celebrations were further enhanced with a rendition of the master’s song delightfully sung by Ian Cuerden.