Peter Pemberton, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, had travelled to Bryn Masonic Hall to attend the installation of the new WM Craig Lyon into the chair of King Solomon of Wigan Lodge No 2326. Peter was representing the Provincial Grand Master on this special occasion and had been looking forward to his visit, particularly as he had worked in Wigan in the 1970s and was relieved to see that his safe conduct permit into the borough was still valid. Peter was accompanied on his visit by no less than five grand officers, including Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stanley Oldfield, Bert Ross, John Roberts, Alex Sharp, David Ogden and Lionel Gornall supported by acting Provincial officers Barry Dickinson, Tony Simms, Eric Bailey and Ken Wilson together with group officers Geoffrey Porter (vice chairman) and John Parrott (group charity steward).
Wigan Lodge is not great in numbers, but it is usual for the members to see plenty of visitors at their installation and this year was no exception, with 50 brethren in attendance to support the new master. Before the installation ceremony commenced, exiting master Mike Purcell was pleased to thank the brethren of the lodge for their support over the year. Lodge members lined up in the north and Mike shook each one by the hand and thanked them personally, which was a really nice touch. The members of the lodge then removed their collars and handed them to the DC for the investitures to follow.
The ceremony got off to a great start and just got better and better. Craig was presented by lodge DC Bob Whitney to the installing master Mike Purcell. Mike did a sterling job from start to finish and performed what can only be described as a faultless ceremony and as if he had not done enough, he went on to present the working tools in the first degree.
The address to the master was given by Mike Durrington, the address to the wardens by
Bill Smith and Peter Pemberton of course, gave the address to the brethren. The new WM then proceeded to appoint and invest his officers, after which Peter was keen to rise and bring the greetings and congratulations of the PrGM Tony Harrison, whom he said would have been extremely impressed to witness such a delightful ceremony and everyone concerned could be proud of the quality of ritual they had performed.
The custom in Wigan Lodge is that there is no charity collection in the meeting and no cheques are presented at the installation, so Peter left the lodge very happy, but empty handed, to join the brethren in a fine festive board.
Paul O’Brien sang the Master’s song, in his own inimitable style, to the delight of all present, particularly the new master.