It would be easy to be so overjoyed by the advent of the new sky blue floor team, appointed and invested at the installation meeting of Lodge of Triumph No 1061, that we forget that the whole event was a brilliant exhibition of Masonic ritual. North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith, the principal guest for this meeting, was also given the pleasure of presenting a certificate attesting that this very generous lodge had become a Patron of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, having already donated the sum of £3,000 to the fund.
The mantle of conducting the 153rd installation meeting fell to veteran lodge member John Topping. With the lodge opened by master of the lodge Conrad Petrus, John soon found himself invited into the chair, and a ceremony of what South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward described as ‘top quality’ was to ensue.
The director of ceremonies from the outset was South Fylde Group Secretary Dave Barr. He conducted Duncan Smith into the lodge along with Ian Ward, Past Junior Grand Deacon Stuart Thornber, Regional Charity Steward Ted Rhodes, grand officers John Parkinson and David Randerson, along with Provincial Grand Sword Bearer David Kenworthy. All of these guests were suitably welcomed and saluted along with other Provincial grand officers. John Topping then invited installing officers to take post.
The installing senior warden on this occasion was Mike Boxall, the installing junior warden was Peter Gratrix and the installing inner guard was Les Cunningham. An excellent ceremony of installation ensued with John Topping in full command of every aspect, assisted by Dave Barr who directed the brethren through the perambulations. Master elect Alan Barlow was majestically guided through his paces by John Topping, who then led the greetings in each degree.
The working tools of the third degree were expertly delivered by David Jenkinson, those in the second degree by Edward Oldfield, and William Buchanan explained those in the first degree, all showing the excellent skills accomplished by these lodge ‘sky blues.’ The senior warden Andrew Goodacre received an explanation of his insignia and jewels by Mike Boxall in fine style. The jewels of the junior warden were nicely described to David Jenkinson by Peter Gratrix. The inner guard William Buchanan received a fine description of his jewel by Les Cunningham.
The main addresses began with that to the master, delivered as ever in his own passionate style by Brian Pearson, who certainly knows how to instruct the new master as to what his duties and responsibilities are. Ted Rhodes delivered the address to the wardens with the authority born of position and experience, followed by Duncan Smith who addressed the members of the lodge with eloquence all of his own. With the ceremonial concluded, John Topping advised the new master that the ceremony of installation was complete – thus ended an installation ceremony that will enter into Lodge of Triumph legend.
Immediately after this Alan Barlow presented several cheques to Duncan Smith on behalf of the following charities: £1,800 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £250 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £250 to RNLI St. Annes, £250 to the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, £200 to North West Blood Bikes, £200 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation, £100 to Home Start for Blackpool and Fylde, and £50 to each of the West Lancashire Masonic golf, bowling and clay pigeon shooting societies; totalling £3,200.
The remainder of the business was swiftly concluded and the brethren retired to the banqueting suite where they enjoyed a sumptuous feast provided by the staff of Square and Compasses Catering. Following the meal, a toast to the grand officers was proposed by Alan Barlow and received a response from Duncan Smith, who thanked the South Fylde Group for the invitation to attend what had been ‘a quite remarkable installation ceremony’ and highly commended John Topping for his leadership of it.
Duncan also praised Brian Pearson for his impassioned address to the master and congratulated everyone else involved in the ceremony. He wished Alan a happy, healthy and successful year in the chair and thanked the lodge for their generosity with an excellent set of donations to their chosen charities.
Duncan continued by giving an update on the MCF 2021 Festival, advising the brethren that money and pledges had already reached the very generous sum of £1,500,000 and thanked those present for their contributions so far. He went on to inform the audience that Martin Maynard was the new Regional Ambassador of the Provincial Ambassador’s scheme. Duncan also talked about the Membership Pathway, a scheme designed to guide gentlemen who are interested in joining Freemasonry from their early interest through to becoming a master Mason. More can be learned about Membership Pathway by reading the Winter issue of the magazine, ‘Freemasonry Today’.
In his toast to the master, Conrad Petrus wished the new master good health and good fortune for the year ahead. He presented Alan with a framed copy of the ancient charges and regulations that are read by a lodge secretary to all new master elects. Conrad also presented Alan with a menu card, which had been signed by all present. The master’s song was performed by George Embleton, accompanied by guest organist Phil Bolton.
Alan Barlow thanked everyone present for their attendance and assured them that he had enjoyed, “a good time.” He went on to thank all of the installing officers, particularly the sky blues who had worked on the floor and taken lodge officer positions. He voiced his appreciation of the support of all the visitors and added that it was nice to see the senior brethren of the lodge in attendance and taking part. He then thanked George Embleton and Phil Bolton for the master’s song and advised that the first social event of his year would be a Sunday Lunch to be held on 25 March. Alan concluded by presenting flowers to Duncan Smith for his good lady Karen.
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