In a very low key but interesting meeting of Poulton le Fylde Lodge No 4040, WM Ray Boardman was proclaimed as the master of the lodge for the ensuing year in a simple but different ceremony led by the lodge director of ceremonies, Martin Dennison.
The lodge was opened by Ray and then the lodge business was completed with some alacrity and treasurer, Bill Roscoe, presented the accounts for payment without demur. Martin then retired to form the parade in which South Fylde Group Chairman John Robbie Porter, representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, entered the room. John Robbie was supported by his vice chairman Ben Gorry, who is the Provincial Junior Grand Warden and other Provincial grand officers led by Provincial Grand Stewards Kevin Byrne and Michael Tax.
Before conducting the proclamation ceremony, Martin led the brethren in salutations to Provincial grand officers. Then after the dispensation was read by the lodge secretary Peter Walker, Martin proclaimed Ray to be WM of the lodge from the east, west and south pedestals. Ray then appointed and invested his officers for the ensuing year. The last part of the ceremony was delivered by John Robbie Porter, who delivered his own version of the address to the brethren of the lodge in a moving and memorable manner.
John Robbie continued his participation in the evening’s proceedings when he responded to the toast to the Provincial grand officers at the festive board. In his reply he gave an abbreviated history of the lodge. He followed this by congratulating Martin Dennison for the manner in which he had conducted the ceremony and thanked the Provincial grand officers who had supported him and the lodge on this occasion. He recognised Kevin Byrne and Michael Tax for the number of occasions they have attended lodge celebrations, at the same time thanking Ben Gorry for the work he does for the group and the Province, particularly in connection to the Royal Arch and the Membership Pathway scheme.
The last two subjects mentioned led John Robbie into further discussion on the points as well as covering the MCF 2021 Festival and the work done by group charity steward Dave McKee. By Dave’s zeal and determination the South Fylde had managed to donate £173,405 towards the final total of £3,504,423 from the Province of West Lancashire as a whole. Giving an example of how the Masonic Charitable Foundation use our funds, he advised that £300,000 had been donated to give underprivileged children the chance to experience activities organised by the Duke of Edinburg’s Scheme. John also urged the members to return to donating money to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity via the yellow envelope scheme. He supported this by describing the Christmas tea parties for our widows, which were paid for from these funds. John concluded with an amusing, though thought provoking, analogy between the alphabet and physical ailments.
The toast to the WM was given by his predecessor, Tony Riley, who wished him every success in his further efforts for the lodge and the best of health to complete them. In response, Ray thanked Tony and all of his officers for their continued support. He also thanked John Robbie and the other guests for attending. He then gave the good news that the lodge would be interviewing two new candidates in the New Year and hoped that this would keep them all busy for some time to come.
Continuing with the toasts, that to the visitors was proposed by Mike Lumby, the junior warden. He observed that it was nice to see so many visitors and welcomed them all on behalf of the lodge. He then proceeded to give an amusing explanation of the working tools of the festive board. These were the knife, fork, goblet and the common gavel. This was greeted by much hilarity from the audience. Responding to this toast was Ken Greenwood, WM of Tithebarn Lodge No 8446. Ken commented that it was nice to see something different at a meeting, adding that he had never seen a proclamation ceremony before.
Before the tyler’s toast was proposed by Harry Davidson, Ray Boardman presented flowers to John Robbie Porter for his wife, Sue. The last item for the evening was that the brethren all joined in to sing the hymn to absent brethren before wending their way home, having enjoyed a different and interesting evening.