The installation ceremony of St Paul’s Lodge No 5459, held in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall, was a special evening as the outgoing master Ian Locke, installed his father Alan Locke as the new master. This is the start of a very special year for Alan, who is a past Widnes Group Chairman of 10 years, as it sees the start of his 60th year as a Freemason and will celebrate his diamond jubilee in January 2016. It is the fourth time Alan has been master of St Paul’s Lodge, his first in 1965 then again in 1993 and 2001.
Worshipful master of the lodge Ian Locke quickly dealt with the initial business of the lodge before Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton was outside the door of the lodge and demanded admission. Ian replied that the members would be pleased and honoured to receive him.
Kevin entered the lodge in a procession accompanied by Widnes Group Chairman Derek Williams, grand officers and acting Provincial grand officers. Ian gave Kevin a warm welcome and offered him the gavel of the lodge to which Kevin thanked Ian for the warm welcome and said: “I accept the gavel as is my right and return it to you.”
Ian Locke then presented a number of cheques totalling £1,350 to the respective recipients, £250 of which was in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons Charity. Kevin received this cheque on behalf of the charity saying that it would make a considerable difference in the lives of many people who we will never know.
Following on from the salutations, Ian Locke asked Barrie Collinson to occupy the senior warden’s chair for the installation; he asked David Berrington to remain in the junior warden’s chair and George King to act as inner guard. The director of ceremonies, Ian Morris, then presented Alan to his son Ian, to receive at his hands the benefit of installation. Ian Locke conducted the installation ceremony in a very smooth and efficient manner and placed his father Alan into the chair of King Solomon with sincerity.
With Alan now installed in the WM’s chair, master Masons, fellowcrafts and entered apprentices were admitted in turn and the director of ceremonies proclaimed Alan as WM in each degree. The working tools of the third degree were explained by Jim Ledward, the second degree tools explained by Charlie Monk and the first degree tools explained by Tommy Glynn. The newly installed Master, Alan, then proceeded to appoint and invest his officers.
Ian Locke gave the address to the WM, David Hockin gave the address to the wardens and Kevin Poynton gave the address to the brethren of St Pau’s Lodge. All of which were extremely well delivered.
As soon as it was announced that it was the end of the installation ceremony, Kevin said: “That is my cue to stand and bring the best wishes and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new WM on attaining the chair of King Solomon.” Kevin continued by saying that if Tony had been present he would have wanted to congratulate the installing master and all who took part for a very well run ceremony and wish Alan and all his officers have a happy year in office.
After the first rising the secretary announced that he had received Adam Berrington’s Grand Lodge certificate. The WM asked Kevin Poynton if he would present it to Adam which he did with pleasure. Kevin and his entourage then retired leaving Alan to complete the lodge business and close the lodge and then all retired to the festive board for a superb three course meal produced by the hall caterers and to help with the digestion there was wine, with tea or coffee at the end of the meal.
In response to the toast to his health, Kevin reminded the brethren of the tercentenary celebration of Freemasonry which will take place in 2017 and if anyone has any ideas for a celebration to contact Tony Bent and discuss it with him. Kevin was pleased to see the magnificent donations to charity and added that with the upcoming festival we must all be aware that the WLFC still needs the support from all lodges in the Province and there is a great need to look after our Masonic halls.
With regard to membership, Kevin commented that there had been a slight increase and recommended all light blues in Widnes to get involved with the Widnes Light Blue Club and suggested that all who are not in Royal Arch to join as soon as they are able.