Christopher Butterfield (Chris) received a very warm welcome from the brethren of Silverdale Lodge No 6926 when he attended as principal guest and representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison on the occasion of their installation meeting. Chris was accompanied on this occasion by a plethora of fellow grand officers including Tom Jackson, Christopher Band, Peter Mason, Malcolm Dewhurst, John Robson and Norman Milburn. Also present were the group secretary Scott Devine and acting Provincial grand officers Bernard Snape Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and Paul Fuery Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
Sadly, master of the lodge Stuart Thompson was unable to attend the meeting as he was recovering from an operation, so at very short notice the current immediate past master Andrew Martin stood in for him. On completion of the necessary business and after placing the installing officers in position, installing master Andrew Martin asked the officers of Silverdale Lodge to ‘line up in the north’ and then before asking them to remove their collars thanked each and every one on of them, on behalf of the absent master, for ‘their work throughout the year’. Following the presentation of the master elect Andrew Wood by the director of ceremonies Alan Procter, the installation ceremony which followed was conducted with great skill and sincerity by Andrew Martin. He was ably assisted by the director of ceremonies, who together with other members of Silverdale Lodge made sure the occasion would be one to remember.
After taking the master’s chair and before the board of installed masters was closed, the new master Andrew Wood was presented with a splendid explanation of the working tools of an installed master by Peter Mason. The brethren who gave the explanations of the working tools which followed were not to be outdone however, as perfect renditions were delivered by Chris Isherwood (third degree), Carl Horrax (second degree) and Tony Dickinson (first degree). The addresses were of a similar high standard; that to the master was given by Alan Procter, that to the wardens by Steven Fox, whilst the address to the brethren was superbly given by Chris Butterfield. Appropriately, the address to the lodge mentor was given by the group mentor Nigel Parrish, whilst the address to deacons was given by Provincial Junior Grand Deacon Bernard Snape.
The conclusion of the ceremony afforded the opportunity for Chris to bring the greetings and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Chris was sure that Tony would have wanted to congratulate Andrew on taking the chair of this fine lodge, and hoped he had a busy and enjoyable year ahead. Chris also had no doubt that Tony would have taken the opportunity to congratulate the installing master Andrew Martin on a job well done. To the amusement of the brethren however, Chris had to leave the lodge room to congratulate Andrew, for by now he had been appointed as tyler. After thanking Chris for his kind words, Andrew presented him with a cheque to the value of £1,000 on behalf of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, together with notification of a £1,500 cheque which had been sent to London for the 2021 Festival. This donation made Silverdale Lodge a vice patron of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, and in recognition of this milestone Chris invited the regional charity steward Geoff Bury to hand the master a certificate in recognition of this tremendous donation.
The Festival of St John which followed was held in the Silverdale Golf Club where over 70 diners sat down to a sumptuous three course meal, which together with excellent service proved a winning combination. Following the toast to the grand officers Chris was delighted to offer his own congratulations to Andrew on attaining the chair of King Solomon and also to the installing master Andrew Martin on an ‘absolutely fantastic job’. Chris congratulated all the brethren who had delivered the working tools, but made particular mention of Carl Horrax who had delivered the long version of the second degree working tools in an exemplary manner. Chris also thanked all the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for being present this evening and adding to the ceremony. Further thanks were then proffered to the group secretary Scott Devine for all the work he does for the group. Chris went on to convey some of the topics which were close to the Provincial Grand Master’s heart and began by drawing the attention of the brethren to the new Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival jewel and highlighting its uniqueness in that it is the ‘first festival jewel to support the arms of the Province hosting the festival and not that of the charity itself’. Although the festival is officially to be launched at the May meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge the jewels are available now and can be worn as soon as a brother has paid his subscription.
As was witnessed in the lodge room earlier, lodges and chapters can become patrons of the 2021 Festival and Chris took the opportunity of offering his own personal congratulations to Silverdale Lodge on achieving vice patron status, even before the festival is officially launched. Chris felt however that it was also worth mentioning that because much of our charitable giving will be diverted to the festival, thought must be given to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, as the donations to that charity will probably diminish. Consequently, he was really pleased to receive in the lodge room earlier a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Mention was also made of the new Provincial Craft and Royal Arch ties which are to replace the Provincial ties that have been worn for some time, although of course brethren can also continue to wear the original tie along with others they may have. Both ties are interchangeable but cannot be worn outside the Province. The proceeds from selling the ties will go to the festival but as they are Provincial ties they can continue to be worn after the festival with any future proceeds going to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Chris also took the opportunity to promote the Royal Arch and encouraged those brethren who were not Royal Arch Masons to join, adding that becoming a member of the Royal Arch should be the next step after being raised. Chris finished by informing the brethren that his uncle had been a past master of Silverdale Lodge, which only added to his delight at being able to attend the installation ceremony.
A fascinating toast to the master was given by Peter Mason who concentrated on a brief but very interesting history of Andrew’s life, following which a fine rendition of the master’s song was performed by Simon Almond with accompaniment by Peter Wood.
In responding to the toast to his health Andrew paid tribute to Alan Procter for his encouragement and said he was looking forward to the year ahead and had high hopes for what was in front of him, adding it ‘was his intention to work hard and do the best for the lodge’. Andrew expressed his thanks to everyone for attending the installation and ended by announcing that the raffle had raised £355, which together with a donation of £50 from the ‘master’s swindle’ resulted in a magnificent total of £405.
Article written by Paul Thompson.