The November meeting was a busy evening for the master and brethren of Duke of Connaught Lodge No 2919 in Southport. The lodge was opened by the WM, Dave Colley, and after the usual business being conducted, there was a successful ballot for a joining member, Hugh Mett formally of Tithebarn Lodge No. 8446, who had recently moved to Southport from the Fylde Coast.
Now usually, after a successful ballot, a joining member is presented to the master and brethren; welcomed and asked to take his seat but in the Duke of Connaught Lodge, the joining member is presented to the master on entry to the lodge. He then directs the DC, in this case Al Horn, to bring the joining member to the east, so that he can formally greet him. The joining member is asked if he pledges himself to give support to the WM and wardens of the lodge, after which he is formally greeted and given a copy of the lodge by-laws.
The master then instructed the DC to present the joining member to the junior warden in the south, who greets him and then to the west and the senior warden who also formally greets the new member. Following this, the master finally addresses him saying that now he has been greeted formerly in the east, south and west, that he hopes he will enjoy many happy years in the lodge.
Hugh admitted that he has visited a number of lodges in his time and had never observed this type of ritual before and that it made him feel very special.
The lodge was then called off and a ‘Lodge of Sorrow’ was performed for recently departed brother, Peter Matthew Martin, who had been the lodge DC for a number of years and passed to the Grand Lodge above in May 2023. This particular ceremony had not been seen in West Lancashire before.
The lights of the lodge were extinguished and the secretary, Robert Thornton-Davidson, called a roll of all members. Each member either responded or their apologies recorded. Peter Martin’s name was left until last. His name was called three times receiving no response. The chaplain, Jeff Cox, then informed the master and brethren that Peter had passed to the Grand Lodge above.
The brethren were asked to rise bow their heads and give the sign of reverence while the DC squared the lodge bearing Peters regalia on a cushion. He then paused and saluted, with a court bow, the wardens, the treasurer Lee Martin (Peter’s Son) and finally the master whilst a solemn lament was played.
On returning to his station, the DC paused whilst the chaplain delivered a suitable reading. The DC then squared the lodge passing the JW and SW then making his way to the door of the lodge where he presented the regalia to the tyler Nick McEntee.
Everyone in attendance was very moved by the ceremony. Peter was a huge part of the life of this lodge and the Southport Group in general and this proved to be a truly fitting ceremony to mark his passing. It was also very fitting and a privilege for the DC, Al Horn to take Peter’s regalia out as Peter was JD, when he was brought in to the lodge,
The lodge was then called back on and the next business was to perform a double initiation on Mark Fleming and Chris Maher who are neighbours and had been proposed and seconded by Al Horn and his son Michael Horn respectively, who also happen to live in the same street!
The JD and SD did a sterling job and the wardens and master were supported by Les Norton in the east, Keith Burke in the south and Trevor Martin in the west for the purposed of proving.
The SD delivered the address to the candidates, while his father, Mark Barton and grandfather Ken Barton an entered apprentice, who was there to witness his first ceremony after being admitted the month before were sitting on the side lines.
Mike Horn himself an entered apprentice delivered the working tools in a confident and clear manner before the candidates retired to restore themselves and when the candidates were readmitted to the lodge, the JD presented a faultless charge.
The WM congratulated Mark and Chris and they were then introduced to the lodge mentor Les Norton. It was a brilliant end to the evening with a fantastic festive board of pate, gammon and chips and sherry trifle.
Peter Matthew Martin would have been looking down on the work that was performed on the night and all the brethren were sure that he would be thinking: “My Lodge is in very good hands.”