The members and guests of Woolton Lodge No 6448 gathered in the Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall for their installation meeting.
This year saw a shortened ceremony with the principal officers remaining in position for a second year to allow the younger members time to gain more confidence and expertise in their Masonry.
The Worshipful Master Geoffrey Green, was pleased to welcome the Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton to the lodge, along with Robert Povall, Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Group of Lodge’s, which number 27, all who meet at the Masonic hall.
Other guests included Robert Sawyer PM Maryhill Lodge No 510, which meets in Glasgow, Merrick Beedle WM of St Peter’s Lodge No 4324 accompanied by a strong delegation from the lodge, and representations from Tower of Sir Francis Drake No 3583, Liverpool Epworth No 5381, and from Cheshire, Tony Statham WM for Dee Lodge No 1576 and Nigel Piper of Parkgate Lodge No 7263.
The evening started on a sombre note as the brethren stood in silence in respect of departed merit for long standing lodge member John Duncan who recently passed over. Although the ceremony of installation was by proclamation, two of the junior brethren, Phil Green and Carl Sullivan took up their first appointments within the lodge as Steward’s, while Gordon McConnell was invested as Assistant Director of Ceremonies and James Kontzle as Tyler.
Of special note was the work done as Director of Ceremonies by Edward O’Hare, who stood in at very short notice as the lodge DC as Dr Alistair Read was unable to attend, and to Nigel Piper who replaced Edward as the Junior Warden for the evening, with absolutely no notice!
At the conclusion of the ceremony, John Hutton rose and congratulated Geoffrey on his continuation of office, and Edward O’Hare and Nigel Piper on their willingness in helping the ceremony to run so smoothly. He passed on the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master to the WM and indeed to all of the assembled brethren.
In response, Geoff Green presented John with two cheques, the beneficiaries being the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund in the sum of £100, and Friends of Tithebarn to the same amount. Although a quiet ceremony, Geoff can look forward to a busy year in office with at least two ceremonies of raising to be worked, and possibly an initiation or two.
The festive board was held in the magnificent Egyptian Suite, which the hall staff had laid out in a delightful and spectacular manner, and it was during the toasts that John remarked on how pleasing it had been to see the great support given to the lodges in the hall by the members of the Liverpool Group. He informed all present that the Provincial Grand master Tony Harrison wants Freemasonry to be a matter of enjoyment, family involvement, and something to be shared with friends and the local communities.
Care was another important factor, with the lodge almoner, in the case of Woolton Lodge this position in the capable hands of Colin Twigg being perhaps the most important role within any lodge, looking after the well-being of the members and their families. Here in West Lancashire we had for a very long time been fortunate in having our own West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, along with the four National Charity. Just as important are our own Masonic halls and John told how he would be chairing a meeting at the end of the month in Preston, when it is hoped the directors of all the halls would be in attendance.
The next big event on the Masonic calendar was only a couple of years away, the tercentenary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717, which amongst other events would include a service at Liverpool Cathedral. John then thanked all for the really warm welcome he had received this evening, as is only to be expected in this great seafaring city.
The song to the WM was performed most admirably by Nigel Piper, assisted in the glee, by Tony Statham and Geoff Cuthill, and of course in the chorus by all assembled. A signed card of congratulation was presented to the WM on behalf of the Liverpool Group by Bob Povall, and Gordon McConnell IPM gave an insight into the quiet devoted work over the years given by his life-long friend, Geoff Green.
Outside of the lodge very few people know that Geoff, with 12 others, undertook a charity cycle ride this summer, from John O’Groats to Land’s End, which raised £30,000, for cancer charity and the Willowbrook Hospice near St Helens. A truly remarkable feat as it had been some years since Geoff had even owned a bike.
Merrick Beedle proffered the thanks of the visitors to the WM and the lodge for the warm hospitality shown, and looked forward to seeing them all again in the near future. The last toast of the evening was given by the tyler, James Kontzle, with everyone bringing the evening to a close in good spirit.