The highlight of any lodge’s year is its installation, the day the new master and his team are installed. When the Provincial Grand Master and his team make a visit, then the day becomes very special indeed.
Leyland St Andrew’s Lodge No 7391 was in this position when the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and his team visited its installation to join over 60 members and their guests to enjoy a feast of very high-class ritual from both the Provincial and lodge officers.
Those present witnessed Paul Wharton-Hardman being installed as master of Leyland St Andrew’s Lodge by his predecessor David Bishop, who as well as being last year’s master and the installing master is also the Vice Chairman of Chorley and Leyland Group. He installed his successor in a most memorable way. The new master Paul will remember it for the rest of his Masonic life.
It was Paul’s first time in the chair. He was introduced into Freemasonry by Allan Archer, the lodge secretary in September 2014 at Cribden Lodge No 7285 in the Province of East Lancashire. Paul was raised in the January of 2015 and exalted into Royal Arch in April 2015. He moved from East Lancashire to the Leyland St. Andrew’s Lodge in November 2017 and became lodge secretary in 2018. In 2019 Paul took office as the senior warden of the lodge having previously held the rank of deacon in his previous lodge. Paul served as senior warden of the lodge for two years during the pandemic and was elected as master elect in September 2021.
Away from Freemasonry, Paul is currently a student nurse, studying at the University of Central Lancashire. He is a local parish councillor for Farington Parish Council and a magistrate within Lancashire. Paul volunteers for St John Ambulance as the Regional Quality and Assurance Lead for the North Region and holds the clinical qualification of Emergency Ambulance Crew. During the pandemic, Paul volunteered nearly 1,000 hours in providing a front line ambulance response to support the NHS during one of its most difficult times and helped countless patients across the country, having volunteered not only in the North West but also in the Midlands and in London.
Allan Archer, the lodge secretary expressed the view that the ceremony went extremely well with notable delivery of the second degree working tools by Rev Matthew McMurray who has been a Freemason for only a couple of years but has already demonstrated the lodge’s high standard for ritual accuracy.
Further recognition of the outstanding delivery of the installation by the installing and immediate past master David Bishop was given by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and other grand officers during their addresses.
Two cheques were presented to Tony from the lodge for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, totalling £1,000 which was gratefully accepted. Tony took great delight in reciprocating as he presented the lodge with its certificate of Grand Patronage to the Festival in recognition of the large amount of money donated to the Festival over the previous two years.
The social board was not only notable for its great food and wine but also for the toasts and responses where recognition of Paul’s significant voluntary contributions over the last year were noted. These included completing nearly 2,000 hours as voluntary ambulance crew for St John Ambulance during the pandemic, him volunteering as a magistrate and a local parish councillor.
A raffle was held during the social board to support the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and other local charities and raised £315, totalling just under £500 raised for charities during the evening.
There was a presentation of a framed photograph of Paul’s face superimposed onto a Matron’s body in recognition of him starting his nurse training in August which was well received in the humour it was intended. It was a very special day for Paul and for Leyland St Andrew’s very special guest.