The installation season of the Lancaster Masonic Group really ended on a high when Russell Hudson became master of Pilling Lodge No 7879 at the lodge’s installation meeting held at Wyrebank, Garstang. The brethren were highly delighted to welcome Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent as their principal guest for the occasion who in turn was very pleased to make his first visit to the Lancaster and District Group and the magnificent ‘Masonic home’ of Wyrebank.
Tony was also pleased to have the support of grand officers Thomas Jackson, group chairman Jim Wilson and Keith Jackson together with group vice chairman Peter Pemberton and acting Provincial officers John Holmes Provincial Senior Grand Deacon and Scott Devine Provincial Grand Steward.
The lodge room was packed with over 100 brethren when installing master Andrew Jones gave hearty greetings to Tony before the proceedings commenced with the presentation of the master elect by his proposer, lodge secretary Peter Grisdale.
The ceremony which followed bore great testimony to the weeks of hard work which must have been put in to make the occasion ‘one of the best’ as it was described by one senior Provincial officer. It had, he said the three main ingredients of success: excellent ritual, great sincerity and importantly humour, which was tangible evidence of the enjoyment derived from Freemasonry.
The excellence of ritual was certainly not confined to those senior Masons taking part but was equally impressive in the work of three more newish members of the lodge who presented the working tools in highly competent fashion which brought great acclaim from the assembled throng. The tools of a master Mason were delivered by Chris Wilkinson; those of a fellowcraft Mason by Iain Collinson and the working tools of an entered apprentice by David Partington.
After Russell had assumed his place in the chair of King Solomon he proceeded to appoint and invest his officers for the coming year with the senior offices being filled by Ian Parkinson as senior warden and Norman Guy as junior warden.
In Pilling Lodge, past masters are certainly not ‘excused duties’ with the address to the deacons being given by lodge treasurer Paul Humphreys, the address to the inner guard by William Richmond and the address to the stewards by Rod Sherwood. Similarly the address to the master was sincerely and superbly delivered by Peter Grisdale; that to the wardens by Harry Robinson and the all-important address to the brethren was articulated splendidly by Alan Robinson.
As the ceremony of installation drew to a close it presented the cue for principal guest Tony Bent to stand and bring to the master and brethren the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. He said that had the Provincial Grand Master been able to be present in person he would undoubtedly have been highly impressed by the quality of the work and the sincerity with which it had been delivered. Great tribute was certainly due, he said, to the immediate past and installing master Andrew Jones for the highly accomplished and dignified manner in which he had installed his successor and the many, many hours of hard work which must have been undertaken to achieve such a high standard.
Tony also made a point of crossing the floor of the lodge to personally and individually congratulate the three brethren who had so magnificently delivered the explanations of the working tools. Their obvious commitment augured extremely well for the future fortunes of this popular and successful lodge he said. On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master he wished the WM and all the brethren the very best of health to enjoy their Masonic year to the full and with a number of candidates in ‘the pipeline’ it was obviously going to be a busy year but he hoped that, above all, it would be a happy one.
Tony was delighted and amazed to receive details of donations made to charities and good causes during the year amounting to more than £4,500, which included £1,000 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £660 to St John’s Hospice, Lancaster, £500 to Vine House, £500 to Bowland Mountain Rescue, £500 to the Scarlett McCracken Fund, £300 to Pilling Jubilee Silver Band, £500 to the Garstang Masonic Hall Building Fund, £200 to Hornby Institute and £100 to the Garstang Masonic Fellowship.
At the festival of St John held in the superb Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, the excellence of the occasion was even further enhanced by a great meal and companionship, the atmosphere from around the room again confirming the enjoyment all the brethren derive from being members of our great institution.
In responding to the toast to the health of the grand officers Tony had the very welcome opportunity to bring his own personal congratulations to everyone who had worked so hard to make the ceremony and the whole occasion, such an enjoyable event. He was delighted to again praise the work undertaken by the brethren who gave explanations of the working tools and to have the opportunity to attend such a thriving and successful lodge for which he thanked group chairman Jim Wilson. Tony was particularly impressed by the charitable giving of the lodge and encouraged all Freemasons to be proud of their membership and share their enjoyment by telling family and friends about the good work we do – locally, nationally and indeed internationally – through monies collected from our own efforts.
The master’s song was performed by Garstang’s own popular vocalist Bob Tinsley who was professionally accompanied by David Tattersall. After the last toast of the evening the brethren were joined by their ladies, who had spent an enjoyable evening having meal together, to continue to enjoy the Wyrebank facilities before wending their way home replete and satisfied with a thoroughly enjoyable installation meeting.