Members of Lodge of Unanimity No 113, having changed the regular meeting time from evening to late morning, celebrated their first installation since the change. The attendees certainly noticed the difference as sunlight bathed the lodge room. In attendance as principal guest was Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones, accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and supported by Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton, group vice chairman Geoff Saul and other grand officers.
Howard and the other visitors witnessed an excellent ceremony as Ray Taylor installed his successor, Mark Brown, into the chair. The master elect was presented for installation by Peter Turner, who also addressed Mark on completion of his installation. By tradition, Ray as IPM was also addressed, on this occasion by the lodge DC Trevor Phillips.
The working tools in the third degree were presented in full by the installing master and as Mark had served as the WM of a lodge on a previous occasion, the working tools in the other two degrees were presented in a shortened form, again by Ray.
During the appointment of officers, the SW was addressed by John Watson, the JW by Douglas Atkinson and both wardens by Ray Taylor. As part of his appointment, the lodge mentor was addressed by the WM. Both deacons were addressed by Bill Woods and the assistant secretary by Gordon Pilkington. The inner guard was addressed by Richard Johnson and the stewards by Gary Norris. The final address, that to the brethren, was given by Peter Watson.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Howard brought the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, for what had been an excellent ceremony, wishing Mark a happy and enjoyable time as master. He went on to congratulate Ray Taylor for the wonderful and enjoyable way he had installed his successor. He concluded by thanking Trevor Phillips, who had thought he was having the day off, for stepping in at a few minutes’ notice and controlling the proceedings so well.
In response, Mark’s first duty as master was to present Howard with two cheques totalling £294.92 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and a further cheque to the value £300 in support of the Prescot Masonic Hall Foundation Fund.
The day’s lodge proceedings closed with Ray receiving his past master’s jewel as a token of appreciation for all the work he had done for the lodge during his two successive years as master. The presentation was made by Douglas Atkinson in a sincere but also humorous way as he recalled the advice he had been given during his 38 years as a member of the lodge.
At the celebration banquet which followed, Howard had on his own behalf, the opportunity to congratulate Mark on attaining the WM’s chair and also the work of all the officers who took part in the earlier ceremony. Particular mention was made of the excellent work by the retiring master, Ray Taylor. He thought the ceremony he had just witnessed had set the standard for the Preston Group during 2015.
Howard then invited all the brethren to support ‘his’ lodge on 7 May when PrGL will be meeting at the Winter Gardens Blackpool with dining following at the Hilton.
He reminded brethren that 2017 is only two years away when United Grand Lodge would be celebrating its tercentenary. He informed the brethren that the Provincial Grand Master had set up a committee headed by Tony Bent to decide what the Province of West Lancashire was going to do to celebrate the passage of 300 years.
He then went on to talk about Masonry and how members should publicise their membership and hopefully change the public mind set of Masonry, from Masonry is about possessions to the reality that Masonry is about people. He urged members to talk to people and explain what Masonry really is all about.
Howard concluded by commenting that the lodge’s decision to become a daylight lodge had been a tremendous success and from the standard of ritual demonstrated earlier has many enthusiastic and active members. He wished the lodge and its members well for the future and continued success.
A high point of the celebration banquet was a beautiful rendition of the master’s song given by Steve James. Steve, who is a Blackpool Mason, had been invited by Mark to come along and sing the master’s song. He commented after completing the rendition that, in travelling to Preston, he thought he was on Masonic missionary work.