New WM Martin Bos presided over his first ceremony when he initiated Phil Watkins into the swelling ranks of Starkie Lodge No 1070. This was the third initiation of the season and along with one joining member it surely ensures a rosy future for this popular lodge.
After the lodge was opened and the fire regulations duly read, Martin’s first duty was to install Alan Cornes as his senior warden for the year. Unfortunately, Alan had been absent for Martin’s installation ceremony due to ill health but was pleased to be able to finally take his place in the west.
On completion of the rest of the usual lodge business, Phil Watkins was balloted for and this proving favourable, Martin declared that he would be initiated into the lodge. Phil was then admitted in due form and an excellent ceremony ensued. The junior deacon, Dave Parker, guided Phil around the ceremony giving the impression of a seasoned veteran rather than a ‘newbie’ to the post.
As with all ceremonies, regular practice and a DC with the demeanour of a regimental sergeant major will always show through. Thus, this was the case here, with long serving DC Tony Johnson keeping a beady eye on proceedings and once again his ‘troops’ did not let him down.
Once Phil had taken his obligation, IPM John McGrady took over the chair for the rest of the ceremony. John once again showed what an excellent ritualist he is, delivering an almost word-perfect initiation and making it a memorable occasion for the assembled brethren. Once again Martin Maynard did an excellent rendition of the NE corner and he is fast becoming an established master of the ‘corners’.
Special mention should be made of Adam Bicknell who having only joined the lodge in December, has thrown himself wholeheartedly into his Freemasonry; whether it be processing in as ‘banner man’, reading the ancient charge, collecting raffle money or as in this case, giving a faultless presentation of the working tools of the degree.
Once Phil had retired to restore himself to his personal comfort, the WM once again took over the chair and readmitted him to the lodge. He returned to hear Bob Shaw once again give his superb delivery of the charge to the initiate. That being completed Phil took his place in the lodge and upon completion of the risings, the brethren retired for a well-deserved festive board.
As is usual, hall chef Wayne Warhurst did not let the brethren down, providing them with his usual excellent fare and showing why the catering services achieved a five-star award following the recent environmental health inspection of Southport Masonic Hall.
Following on from the usual toasts, Jack Hudson regaled the brethren with the entered apprentice’s song. This was quickly followed by Peter Stones representation of the chain, with the instruction: “Don’t sway until I tell you.”
As is traditional in Starkie Lodge, after the festive board was completed, a large contingent of members and guests retired to the bar giving Phil the opportunity to relax and get answers to all those questions buzzing around in his head.