A most gratifying meeting was enjoyed by over 90 members and guests of the Lodge of Triumph No 1061, as they celebrated 150 years of the lodge’s existence. It was a meeting in which the history of the lodge was presented, a significant amount of money was donated to charity, a hearty oration and rededication conducted and there was a big surprise for one lodge member at the conclusion of the formalities.
This being an emergency or extra meeting there was no normal lodge business to deal with. The letter of dispensation from Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was read, the lodge summons read and Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder was welcomed into the lodge.
David Winder was supported by 12 grand officers including the Chairman of South Fylde Group Ian Ward, the Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Godfrey Hirst, along with several Provincial grand officers and other distinguished brethren also attending.
Having received the gavel from the master of the lodge John Topping, (who is enjoying his third separate year in the chair), David Winder gave an abridged history of the Lodge of Triumph since its consecration and first installation on 14 June 1865. He spoke of the unstinting generosity of the lodge which from the very outset had given munificently to good causes of all kinds.
He went on to recount the names of famous and hard working members such as Sir Knowles Edge, formerly the Provincial Grand Master, who was elected an honorary member and Harry Yeadon, who had been a senior engineer involved in what eventually became known as the M6 motorway. He also had a road into Blackpool named after him, known as Yeadon Way.
John Hagan, the lodge’s first grand officer celebrated his 50th year as a Mason in 1979 and in that same year the lodge had donated £2,000 toward the purchase of the Palace Building. In 1985 John had to miss the installation meeting, the first ‘Triumph’ meeting he had ever missed in 55 years.
In his presentation, David went on to relate that there had been a healthy rivalry between the many police officers and farmers belonging to the lodge. The rivalry, he stated, brought new members into the lodge, thereby benefiting the lodge and all its members.Roger Barker Hornby, a past master and secretary of the lodge was a vet by trade and wrote two books based on his experiences in much the same vein as James Herriot.
The year 1988 saw the return of historical artefacts to the lodge, one being an apron worn by a founder of the lodge, which had been found in the museum at Blackpool Masonic Hall and the second being a set of stained glass windows provided by the lodge to the County and Commercial Hotel during their tenure there. These are now proudly displayed at the top of the stairs in The Palace.
Praising current members of the lodge, David particularly mentioned Brian Pearson and Danny Chester, both of whom were lifeboat crew members involved in a dangerous rescue in 1981. Brian received the ‘RNLI Bronze Medal for Gallantry’ and both received the ‘Thanks of the Institution on vellum’ award for their respective parts in the rescue. Another distinguished member of the lodge is Ted Rhodes, who in 2004 became the Regional Charity Steward and in 2008 became only the second member to receive grand rank. David also called for appropriate applause for Brian Horrocks and Graham Smith who had been appointed to Provincial grand office in May. In conclusion, David thanked the lodge committee members for their hard work in the necessary arrangements required to organise this sesquicentennial meeting.
The minutes of the consecration meeting were read, along with those of 100 years ago and 50 years ago, by the secretary Brian Horrocks. This was followed by an exuberant oration, delivered by Godfrey Hirst, on the theme of the word ’Triumph.’ He also waxed lyrically on the frequency of the number ‘three’ in Masonic terms and life in general. He made particular reference to the three Masonic windows at All Hallows Church in Bispham, describing them as, ‘a part of the Masonic heritage of which we should be justly proud’. David then invited Godfrey to re-dedicate the lodge, which he did with his customary aplomb.
At this juncture the meeting took an unexpected turn. David Winder asked Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies David Thomas to place a chair in the centre of the lodge. What could this portend? To the experienced Mason this became very clear when Brian Pearson was invited to sit in the chair. The expression on Brian’s face registered as ‘gobsmacked!’ Ian Ward, in his capacity of group chairman was then called upon to stand and read from a framed document. It could only be that very rare honour of promotion to higher Provincial office enacted in your own lodge. For the sake of brevity, the most important words were; ‘Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden’; hence the spontaneous and prolonged applause! David Winder recounted the many services that Brian had given to both his lodge and to the Palace over many years and congratulated him heartily.
Yet there was still time for a very pleasant surprise. On regaining the chair, John Topping had the pleasure and honour to present to David Winder cheques to the value of £7,683. These consisted of the following donations, whimsically aligned to various currencies and loosely based on the lodge number 1061: £1,061 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity; to the same charity in support of the Morecambe Bay Walk 10,061 Fijian dollars (£3,122); then to each of the following; 1061 New Zealand Dollars (£500) to RNLI Lytham St Anne’s Branch, 7th Lytham St Anne’s Scout Group, Home-Start Blackpool and Fylde, BLESMA, Windmill Trust, Aspired Futures and Hug in a Bag. These donations were described by David Winder and several later speakers, including Ian Ward, as fantastic and magnificent sums.
At the banquet that followed which was a fine sumptuous meal, John Topping thanked all of the people who had contributed to the success of the occasion. Significantly, however, he made a presentation of a current photograph of lodge members to Lawrence Abram, as Lawrence was the only brother present who had been at the centenary celebration meeting. The evening was brought to a close in the traditional way by Ken Turner, who delivered the tyler’s toast.