The year 1979 saw Britain finally pull out of Malta, 30 minutes of snow fell in the Sahara Dessert, Voyager 1 approaching Jupiter, Margaret Thatcher elected as Prime Minister and Manchester United losing to Arsenal by three goals to two in the FA Cup Final. It also saw a spritely 39-year-old Trevor Molloy installed into the chair of Kirkham Lodge No 6615. Fast forward now to the current year and we find a spritely 82 year old Trevor having another go.
On this occasion grand officer Ian Ward, a past group chairman and preceptor of the Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction No 65, was representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Ian was supported by two other grand officers, Keith Jackson and John Wrennall.
Group chairman John Robbie Porter, Provincial Junior Grand Warden Ben Gorry and Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Mike Hornby also attended. Provincial Grand Steward Kevin Byrne was present, but on this occasion, Kevin had the lion’s share of the work to do as he was the installing master, having been WM of the lodge for the year just ending.
So it was that, when the lodge director of ceremonies Derek Lewthwaite announced that Ian was seeking admission, Kevin had the pleasure of greeting him and his entourage into the lodge room. With greetings and formalities completed it was time for Kevin to get on with the real work. The installing officers were already in place, as they had assisted in opening the lodge. They were Peter Gratrix as installing senior warden, Bill Swindlehurst as installing junior warden and David Hill as installing inner guard.
Peter, who had some important work to do on this occasion, then introduced Trevor Molloy as the master elect and Kevin delivered the opening address after which Trevor recited his obligation to the satisfaction of all. Kevin conducted the next part of the ceremony with the assistance of the past masters present. With this completed, the other brethren were called back into the lodge and the ceremony continued.
Trevor was greeted and saluted in all three degrees with the third degree tools explained by Bill Swindlehurst in excellent fashion. The Scottish version of the long second degree tools was delivered by honorary member Bill McLaughlin, whose delivery was perfection itself. The first degree tools were delivered by lodge charity steward, Paul Leaper, again in very fine style.
As the ceremony was drawing to a close, Kevin presented the warrant of the lodge, the banner, book of constitutions and byelaws into Trevor’s keeping before Peter Gratrix delivered the address to the master in a deliberate and meaningful way. Peter was followed by Ian Ward who gave the address to the brethren of the lodge in an exemplary manner. The Lodge of Instruction members were certainly seen nodding their heads in approval.
Ian now conveyed the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master and congratulated Kevin on what he described as, ‘a most excellent ceremony of installation’. Ian added that he had seen many installation ceremonies in the past and none were better than had been witnessed on this occasion. Trevor thanked Ian for his kind words and asked him to give the good wishes of the lodge to Tony Harrison.
John Wrennall congratulated everyone on an enjoyable ceremony and added that it was a pleasure to see Doug Little acting as organist and playing ‘Little brown jug’ whenever John was in his mother lodge, St James No 8910 at Leyland (a private joke, apparently).
Mike Casey speaking for the Provincial grand officers heaped praise on Kevin Byrne and Derek Lewthwaite. Then Andy McClements, the master of Scorton Lodge No 5791, speaking for the visitors made a point of praising the brethren who had delivered the tools.
The grand and Provincial grand officers had retired by this time and the lodge was closed shortly afterwards, with everyone retiring for refreshments and the evening meal. This meal began in what has become a traditional way in Kirkham Lodge near to Burns night. That is by Bill McLaughlin addressing the haggis. It’s always mentioned that you can’t beat having this address given by a real Scotsman in kilt and sporran and attacking the haggis with a real sgian dubh. This is a duty that Bill has a particular flare for.
During the toasts, Ian Ward thanked everyone in the lodge for an installation of the very highest quality. He also congratulated the brethren who had recently been offer promotions in this year’s Masonic honours list; including Ben Gorry, Derek Lewthwaite and David Crossley. Ian also gave praise to Derek for the manner in which he had marshalled the whole evening as director of ceremonies. Ian also thanked Kevin Byrne for the work he had done during his year as a Provincial Grand Steward saying: “Well done Kevin you’ve been everywhere this year.”
Kevin then proposed the toast to the WM in which he outlined some important episodes in Trevor’s career, particularly visits to Holland and Scotland. Kevin also thanked all those members of the lodge who had worked in the background to ensure the success of the evening. In his response, Trevor spoke of his many happy years as a member of the lodge and the lasting memories he had of his 54 years as a member. He too thanked everyone involved in the great success of this enjoyable evening.
Having thanked the guests for their support he then presented Ian with flowers for his mum Wendy and a bottle of gin for himself. Trevor then concluded by proposing a toast to the lodge founders. He was followed by Paul Leaper who announced the proceeds of a very fine raffle, with several prizes taken home by happy winners, as being £317. The evening was closed by Ken Turner who proposed the tyler’s toast.