The March 2022 meeting of Lonsdale Lodge of Installed Masters No 9422 saw the first-time installation of Tony Nevinson by the outgoing WM David Dryden. The principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Duncan Smith, or Duncan as he is better known to the vast array of his Masonic friends.
Duncan was accompanied by a coterie of grand officers; fellow Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Schofield, Norman Thompson, David Grainger, Keith Kemp, Mike Threlfall, John Lee, Chris Butterfield, Peter Mason and David Kellet. Acting Provincial grand officers also added an extra sparkle to the ceremony in the guise of Gordon Evans ProvGS, Joe Crabtree PProvAGPurs and Alan Tomlinson PProvGS.
When David Dryden opened the lodge in the third degree, the hard-working director of ceremonies Dennis Laird introduced Duncan Smith to David, who kindly asked principal guest Duncan to occupy his rightful place in the lodge. He was supported by the Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Gary Rogerson and his vice chairman Alan Pattinson.
Salutations were given and the next pleasant duty for David was to welcome Chris Butterfield and Chris Angell as joining members of the lodge. It was clearly obvious that David’s year in office had been highly thought of by all the brethren of the lodge. The atmosphere was one of joy, knowing that David had been a fine ambassador for the lodge, as he had performed a third degree or two for the Lancaster Group, as well as visiting his own group of lodges diligently throughout the year.
The master elect Tony Nevinson was presented by Gary Rogerson and following his acceptance of the ancient charges and regulations, he repeated his obligation in fine style. A board of installed masters was convened and David Dryden installed Tony in his usual elegant manner. The working tools of an installed master were orated perfectly by Tony Cassells and as they were completed, he gave a beautiful boxed trowel to the WM to commemorate the occasion. Tony Nevinson thanked Tony and went on to say: “It is moments like that which show the true level of friendship and companionship within Freemasonry.”
Dennis Laird then oversaw the short versions of the presentation of the working tools in the three degrees. Phil Renney, Glen Hudson and Steve Renney were all word perfect and delivered them in a splendid display of ritual. Gary gave the address to the new WM in a heartfelt manner. Alan Pattinson orated the address to the two new wardens with a very polished performance. The principal guest Duncan then rose and demonstrated an impressive display of ritual in his address to the brethren of the lodge.
The ceremony of installation being ended; Tony’s first pleasant duty was to hand Duncan a cheque for £1,000 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. This was gratefully received and would be faithfully applied.
The 57 guests and brethren retired to the festive board to celebrate the installation of Tony, being treated to a very tasty three-course meal of vegetable soup, salads for those watching their waists, or roast beef and all the trimmings, plus a superb cheese board.
Duncan, in his speech at the festive board, expressed his personal thanks for a ‘thoroughly enjoyable day’. He said it had been ‘tremendous’ and, as he had not been able to visit too far away from his own group due to the pandemic, was ‘delighted’ to visit the top of the Province. One piece of good news from the pandemic he explained was that the pandemic had given Freemasons a chance to show their support of local communities throughout the period of lockdown (food banks being just one example) – ‘Freemasonry at its finest’.
The raffle at the festive board raised £320 whilst the collection for Masonic charity down stairs raised approximately £110. The masters in office contributed another £18 which was then presented to the WM by Dennis Laird, who had worked tirelessly through the ceremony ensuring a smooth installation.
David, in his toast to the health of the new WM, gave a very humorous speech, as he gave Tony one or two presents to help him on his dog-walking jaunts. Tony has two Alaskan Malamute dogs, Midas and Precious. He asked for volunteers to give him a day off from ‘walkies’ but unfortunately, requiring at between 10 to 12 miles per day, not many took him up on his offer!
The memorable evening for Tony perhaps ended too soon but it had been very enjoyable and rather special for all who had attended.