The master elect of Semper Fidelis Lodge No 4428, Bob Chesters is a brother of considerable experience and was originally a Cheshire Mason. He won’t have been involved in an installation with such dramatic preparations too often though.
Bob was born in Birkenhead and brought up in Thornton Hough on the Wirral. In 1988 he joined Felicity Lodge No 5215 in Birkenhead (which unfortunately closed in 2011) and was twice master of the lodge, once in 1996 and again in 2003. In 1999 he joined BAE Systems at Warton and moved to Lytham, where he began attending St Cuthbert’s Church where he met the vicar, Rev Godfrey Hirst. It was while visiting another lodge that he again bumped into Godfrey, who invited him to Semper Fidelis as his guest. Bob subsequently joined the lodge in May of the same year. Since then, he has filled various offices within the lodge and in due course has been elected WM.
All was prepared for the installation when the lodge learnt that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master was unable to attend and grand officer Roger Perry substituted at very short notice. Four days before the installation, the WM Nick Harper was taken ill and was unable to attend. Fortunately, immediate past master Julian Hale agreed to deputise.
Julian opened the installation meeting at The Palace, St Anne’s, and expedited the general business. Director of ceremonies Steven Carr announced that Roger Perry, representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, was outside the lodge and requested admission. The WM and members being very pleased to receive him, Roger was duly admitted into the lodge supported by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Steven Reid, chairman of the South Fylde group Ian Ward and other distinguished grand and Provincial officers. After being formally greeted Roger took his seat at the WMs side.
The lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees by the installing master, and the usual salutations were led by the director of ceremonies. For the purpose of the ceremony the master asked Mike Hornby to act as senior warden, Mike Middleton as junior warden and Ray Pinkstone as inner guard. The master elect was then presented by Rev Godfrey Hirst, his proposer into Semper Fidelis lodge and an excellent ceremony ensued.
The brethren were then admitted by rank and Bob Chesters was proclaimed WM for the ensuing year. The third degree working tools were presented by David Lucas, the second degree tools by Simon Cook and the first degree tools by Tony Hodgson, all of whom delivered their work with aplomb.
The new lodge officers having been appointed and invested, the address to the WM was delivered by Steven Reid, the address to the wardens by Ian Ward and the address to the brethren by Roger Perry. Needless to say, three very experienced officers delivered three high quality addresses.
Roger Perry then brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master and congratulated Bob on being installed in the chair of Semper Fidelis lodge for the first time. He also congratulated the installing master and the officers who had taken part in what had proved to be a very enjoyable ceremony.
After the ceremony the festive board was attended by nearly 50 brethren, all of whom enjoyed an excellent meal. In his response to the toast to the grand officers, Roger thanked the members of Semper Fidelis lodge for their kind hospitality and said how much he had enjoyed the ceremony.