Brethren and guests gathered at the Artists Club, Liverpool for the installation ceremony of Centurions of Merseyside Coronation Lodge No 2923. The lodge is a very friendly and welcoming lodge consisting of members of both the armed forces and emergency services.
The lodge was opened in fine form by the master Roger Phillips who welcomed principal guest Professor Michael Jones, accompanied by Gladstone Group Secretary Matt Casson to the lodge. Without further ado, the master elect Andrew Ince was presented by Trevor Brooks and following acceptance of the ancient charges and regulations, repeated his obligation perfectly. A board of installed masters was convened and Roger installed Andrew superbly in a very sincere ceremony.
Master Masons were admitted and Geoff Green presented the working tools of the degree; fellow crafts were then admitted and Hughie O’Neill presented the appropriate working tools; and finally entered apprentices were admitted and David Hitchmough presented those working tools. All three brothers performed their respective tool addresses with polished practice.
Steward Kevin Gates-Lundon presented the address to the master, which was a delight to observe. The wardens having been installed; lodge secretary Bob Patterson followed with an equally impressive address to the wardens. Having completed the installation of all officers, principal guest Michael then rose and demonstrated an impressive display of ritual in his delivery of the address to the brethren of the lodge.
The ceremony of installation being concluded, Michael rose again and congratulated the new master Andrew, commenting that he was delighted to be present and that he passed on his personal best wishes to Andrew and the brethren of the lodge itself. Andrew presented cheques totalling £400 for charity to Michael, split equally between the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Blesma, Blind Veterans and Combat Stress, which was very graciously received on behalf of the recipients.
The business of the lodge concluded, over 40 brethren and guests retired to the festive board to celebrate the installation of a new master. At the festive board Michael gave a very humorous speech, explaining to all assembled that he was particularly pleased to be invited to the lodge, being a veteran himself.
Michael said he was a member of the Royal Air Force band and, as a musician, had played on many state occasions including the state funeral of Winston Churchill, as well as at Buckingham Palace and the Edinburgh Tattoo, and felt very at home amongst the service personnel present. The brethren and guests applauded Michael for his address and afforded him the honour of three in response.
Immediate past master Roger then rose to toast the health of new master Andrew, explaining to all present how he had met Andrew and how pleased he was to be able to install him into the chair of King Solomon. In addition, he also welcomed the many brethren of Royal Connaught Lodge No 2676 of the Province of Sussex who had travelled from Eastbourne to be present for the occasion in support of Roger, who is also a member of that lodge. The brethren rose to toast the health of Andrew and joined in with a rousing rendition of the ‘master’s song’, expertly conducted by Peter Duggan.
As time flies when having fun and with the tyler’s toast completed, members of both Royal Connaught and Centurions of Merseyside Coronation Lodge said their goodbyes – and so a ‘royal coronation’ drew to a close.