The brethren and visitors of Royal Protector Lodge No 3471 were delighted to receive David Durling (group vice chairman) as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master to their installation ceremony to witness Stephen Firth being installed as worshipful master for a third time in his Masonic career.
In 2002, Stephen was initially installed as master of Stat Veritas Lodge No 6813, which along with Concordia Lodge No 4954, amalgamated with Royal Protector in December 2004 and Stephen was again installed as master in 2005 in the newly amalgamated Royal Protector Lodge.
The lodge business being underway, the WM Peter Dickinson was pleased to announce that during the year, lodge member Jim Peckham, who presides and generally resides in the corner of the lodge room as lodge organist, had in fact recently received a Provincial Grand Lodge preferment of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, whereas Jim was then brought into the lodge room where he was congratulated by Peter and brethren.
Soon after, guided by the lodge director of ceremonies, David entered the lodge room and was accompanied by fellow grand officers Brian Hayes and Tony Johnson, also present were group officers and other Provincial grand officers and distinguished brethren.
The installation ceremony underway, Stephen was installed in an excellent, well orchestrated manner by the installing master Peter Dickinson. Presentations of the working tools in the third degree were given by Ron Shallcross, in the second degree by Steve Campin and in the first degree by Jim Peckham.
There then followed an unequivocal address to the master presented by Brian Hayes, an address to the wardens was presented by visitor Doug Couse and the address given to the brethren of the lodge by David Durling.
The installation ceremony having been completed, David rose and brought the greetings, congratulations and good wishes for a happy and healthy year ahead to Stephen from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison.
David said that had Tony been present, he would have witnessed an excellent ceremony and congratulated both Peter as the installing master and lodge director of ceremonies Stan Parkinson and other lodge officers and members for their excellent work during the evening.
In response, Stephen rose and thanked David for the very kind wishes from the Provincial Grand Master and that he was most pleased to have attained the masters’ chair for the ensuing year. Stephen then presented David with two envelopes with what was suspected as being charity donations enclosed.
David was most pleased and with the masters’ permission revealed the contents of one of the envelopes, which was a cheque for £100 made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, to which David thanked the lodge members for their very generous donation and expressed sincere thanks on behalf of those who would eventually benefit from it. The second envelope revealed a very kind donation of £150 made in favour of the Urmston Masonic Hall Building Fund. David congratulated the lodge members again for their most generous support towards the Masonic home of Urmston.
The evening continued into the festive board and in response to the toast to the grand officers, David made reference to the very pleasing new facilities at Urmston including the newly completed chapter room, with particular praise to Royal Protector’s secretary Austin Fletcher, who along with his nephew Norton Fletcher, have been tirelessly instrumental in progressing the work at the hall making the result to which both our Masonic fraternity and non-Masonic clients enjoy today.
David continued with comments relating to the new Masonic care structure, the charities, the 2017 festival, Royal Arch membership and the current ‘talking heads’ presentations currently being hosted by various lodges.
David concluded by expressing his own best wishes to the lodge for a happy year, he said he had experienced a superb ceremony along with a very kind welcome from the brethren.
The cup of cheer and the bread of friendship having been enjoyed, the tyler’s’ toast having been recited, the evening closed on another harmonious evening in the history of the lodge.