Silverdale Lodge No 6926 kick started the Lancaster and District Group new year, with Carl Horrax being installed into the chair of King Solomon in an exceptionally delightful manner. The lodge room at Silverdale Masonic Hall was at capacity as the brethren gave a very warm welcome to Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, who on this special occasion was accompanied by Lancaster Group Vice Chairman Neil McGill and grand officers David Kellet, Christopher Butterfield, Peter Mason, John Robson, Norman Milburn, Malcolm Dewhurst and Christopher Band. Also witnessing this much admired performance were the group secretary Scott Devine and acting Provincial grand officers David Kenworthy, Steve Plevey, Fred Dickinson, Keith Halligan, Philip Burrow and Stewart Aimson, all skilfully synchronised by the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barry Fitzgerald.
After opening the lodge and completing the usual administrative duties, Andrew Wood, the installing master, opened the lodge in the second and third degrees, following which the PrDGDC was admitted into the lodge to announce that APrGM David Grainger was without and demanded admission. The Silverdale Lodge room is quite small and once David had made his way through the arrayed ranks of grand and acting Provincial grand officers, Andrew welcomed him, saying that he hoped he had a splendid evening. As is the custom, Andrew offered David the gavel of the lodge, which David initially accepted, commenting: ”It was a delight to be here at Silverdale, but what an entrance, it was like going through a tunnel.” However, David quickly returned the gavel, pointing out that even though he was really pleased to be present at the installation it would be even better if he offered the gavel back.
Following the presentation of the master elect by Darren Holden and Carl’s subsequent solemn obligation as regards his duties as master, Andrew asked a past master of Silverdale Lodge, Andrew Martin, to take over the ceremony of installation, which he completed in a very dignified and proficient manner.
After assuming the master’s chair, Carl was presented with a superb explanation of the working tools of an installed master by Peter Mason, followed by equally inspired explanations of the third, second and first degree working tools by Matthew Preston, Alec Dobson and Darren Holden respectively. In a similarly splendid manner, the addresses to the master, wardens and brethren were correspondingly enunciated by Alan Thompson, Steven Fox and John Robson.
As the ceremony drew to a close David was delighted to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, and felt sure that had Tony been able to attend in person, he would have been extremely impressed with the quality and sincerity of the proceedings and would have wished to express his congratulations to all involved. David was delighted to receive from the lodge a cheque made out to the WLFC for the wonderful sum of £1360.50p, together with notification of a £1,500 cheque which had been sent to London for the MCF 2021 Festival. This donation made Silverdale Lodge a Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival, having already received Vice Patron status at their last installation meeting. In recognition of this attainment and the tremendous efforts the lodge has made since the festival began, the lodge were presented with a certificate denoting ‘Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival’.
At the festive board, which was held in the Silverdale Golf Club Banqueting Suite, David was pleased to respond to the toast to the grand officers on behalf of the galaxy of grand officers present. In responding to the toast, David was also delighted to have the opportunity to offer his own congratulations and best wishes to Carl, his officers and brethren of the lodge. Moving on, David remarked, it was always a pleasure to visit Silverdale Lodge, situated as it is in a most beautiful part of the country. Being slightly isolated from the rest of the group means you have to support each other and the lodge rather more enthusiastically than if you were in a Masonic hall that had several lodges meeting in it. That enthusiasm for the lodge is apparent to anyone who visits Silverdale Lodge. Speaking directly to Carl, David said: “WM you have become the 69th master of Silverdale Lodge and it is your task to ensure that this enthusiasm never wanes and continues to go from strength to strength.”
In addition, David also apprised the brethren on the progress of some of the important initiatives being taken by the Province, particularly the MCF 2021 Festival and recruitment. In terms of the festival, this group has always had a reputation for generosity and it was particularly noteworthy, David said, that Silverdale Lodge had again demonstrated that with their magnificent donation earlier and by becoming a patron of the MCF 2021 Festival.
In moving forward, we need the membership to be able to retain the level of charitable giving that has been shown today and so retention is of huge importance. It is crucial that when asking someone to join us, we consider are they good enough, but equally we need to also ask are we making ourselves good enough to attract the right sort of candidates. We must ensure our lodges are friendly and welcoming to new recruits and to make them feel a vital part of our organisation.
In conclusion David thanked the group officers, PrDGDC and the acting Provincial grand officers for their company and support and even more importantly, for supporting Silverdale Lodge at their installation.
In proposing the toast to the new master, the installing and immediate past master Andrew gave an appropriate resumé of Carl’s career and achievements in Masonry. He concluded by wishing his successor a healthy and happy year to enjoy his period of tenure.
The master’s song was competently delivered by Simon Almond, who was ably accompanied by Peter Wood.
Following Carl’s response to the master’s toast, it was announced that the raffle would commence and that one of the prizes would be a magnificent gallon bottle of Jameson Whiskey. The lucky winner was Roger Nevinson of Warton Lodge No 8411. The combined proceeds from the raffle and the master’s swindle realised a magnificent total of £452 for the benefit of worthy causes. This was a particularly fitting and appropriate announcement on which to conclude the celebrations.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.