The first craft installation meeting of the Ormskirk and District Group for the new Masonic season commenced with Aughton Lodge No 7996 installation, the meeting was well supported by 56 members and visiting brethren, including a number of masters in office.
The meeting was opened in a calm and collected manner by WM Chris Cullen and following the usual business of the lodge he asked Frank Smith to occupy the senior warden’s chair and John Doyle that of the junior warden, with Charles Browne as inner guard.
The lodge was honoured on this occasion by the presence of Michael Threlfall PrSGW , representative of the Provincial Grand Master, this being Michael’s first official visit after his installation in May. Michael was accompanied into the meeting by grand officers Frank Umbers (Ormskirk and District Group Chairman) and Trevor Rimmer, together with the vice chairman Stephen Brereton, group officers Malcolm Alexander, Martin Howell and other acting Provincial officers.
Chris formally welcomed Michael on behalf of the brethren and wished him a pleasant evening. In his response Michael said how much he was looking forward to the ceremony and thanked Chris for the very warm welcome he had received.
Stewart Cranage was presented as master elect to the lodge by John Wootton. Following the obligation Chris asked Edward Harrison acting PrJGD to occupy the chair for the remainder of the ceremony.
Edward then installed Stewart into the chair of King Solomon in a confident and sincere manner. This is the fifth time in his Masonic career that Stewart has been WM. The first three times were in his mother lodge Jordan Lodge of Good Companions No 201 meeting in London and the fourth time in 2012 for Lathom Abbey Lodge No 6286.
The ceremony was under the direction of acting DC Derek Westby who had undertaken the role at very short notice as Ian Tupling had sustained a knee injury whilst attending a music festival in Holland. Derek, who is also the secretary for the lodge, is no stranger to stepping into the breach as on this occasion he was also acting as treasurer.
The working tools of the third, second and first degrees were excellently presented by Jim Carrie, Derek Westby and Charles Browne. The address to the master and also to the wardens was given by Eric Croston who eloquently presented them with great warmth. The address to the brethren was delivered by the principal guest Michael Threlfall in a very sincere manner.
Michael, in bringing greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulated Stewart on attaining the chair once again and wished him and the brethren an enjoyable and fulfilling year in office. Michael also congratulated all those that had taken part in the ceremony, in particular mentioning the excellent installation undertaken by Chris and Edward, with a special thank-you to Derek for all his dedicated hard work.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Stewart presented Michael with two cheques: £500 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £200 to Friends of Tithebarn. Stewart also announced that further cheques had been distributed to the following; £250 to Kingsbury Primary Special School, £200 to Royal National Lifeboat Institution, £150 to North West Air Ambulance, also work undertaken at the Ormskirk Masonic Hall by a member of the lodge equivalent to £150 donation. Michael congratulated the brethren for their generosity on behalf of the worthy recipients.
Following the meeting the brethren retired to the festive board to conclude an excellent evening. The menu comprised of deep fried breaded brie with cranberry dip, steak and ale pie, thick chips served with vegetables followed by jam roly-poly and custard or cheese and biscuits. During the evening musical entertainment was provided by Howard Linaker and Ray Beech.