The Warrington Group Chairman’s Dinner was attended by almost 80 Freemasons who enjoyed the company of the principal guests, Kevin Poynton, Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Barry Jameson, Assistant to the Grand Principals.
Following a welcome from Andy Barton, Warrington group chairman, he called upon Ken Smith to say grace. An excellent three course carvery meal was served by the Masonic hall staff which comprised of carrot and coriander soup with a bread roll and butter, a choice of two roast meats served with roast and boiled potatoes and seasonal vegetables and a choice of pudding, followed by tea or coffee. Ken then returned thanks and Andy Barton group chairman proposed the loyal toast.
Andy proposed the toast to Kevin saying, “Brethren It is my pleasure and privilege to propose the toast to our Assistant Provincial Grand Master. Sir, we are honoured by your presence”. He continued by explaining that the group is lucky to have an Assistant who is approachable and friendly, so much so that he is known to us more affectionately as Kevin.
Andy continued by saying “In the course of his journeying around the groups under his care, our APrGM must have heard this toast given on countless occasions and I expect that at the drop of a hat he could recite the sentiments I’m about to deliver to you. I would however, venture to suggest that on no occasion has the toast been given with greater sincerity”.
Andy continued saying “The example set by Kevin inspires us with feelings of admiration for him and of pride and pleasure to be under his care. Above all, he exemplifies what Freemasonry is about and the importance of its principles. I have at times relied heavily on his wise council and guidance. His knowledge of ritual and etiquette is second to none. He has always been prepared to make himself available for a chat whenever I’ve needed a little guidance. We are all aware of the wit and charm that Kevin brings to our meetings, especially our anniversary celebrations where his work behind the scenes always makes for a very special evening for the celebrant. He is always the first to extend his hand to greet you. Some of our newer brethren are never quite sure what is expected of them in his presence, but he quickly makes them feel at ease with a handshake, a smile and a chat”.
Andy on behalf of the group, expressed thanks for and appreciation of his unfailing courtesy and high level of service, all given with a genuine smile and good humour. “Brethren, I ask you to rise and drink a toast to our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Kevin Peter Poynton”.
Kevin responded to the toast by saying he was proud and pleased to be associated with the Warrington group and thanked Barry Jameson and other grand officers for their support throughout the year. He continued by saying that he always felt the warmth and friendliness of all the members as soon as he walked in through the front door of the hall and was always made most welcome by everyone.
He commented that the hall was probably one of the best in the Province. He congratulated Eric Drinkwater, Chairman of the Board of the Warrington Masonic Hall Company on his recent promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and for the excellent facilities in the hall including the catering and waiting staff. He added that the food at the hall is superb and confirmed that all this is only possible by first class team work and the results are obvious and well appreciated by all who use the hall’s facilities.
Kevin concluded by thanking the group executives namely, Andy Barton as chairman, Chris Gleave as vice chairman and John McIntyre as secretary and their support group officers who work so hard in the background to make it all happen. Finally he thanked Andy for his toast and the brethren for the way they received it.
Kevin then proposed the toast to the Warrington Masonic Group.
As the chairman of the Warrington group, Andy replied by saying it gives him a great deal of pleasure to be able to respond to the toast given by our Kevin. Having already welcomed Kevin, he also extended a warm welcome to Barry Jameson.
Andy also welcomed his colleagues from other groups, group chairmen, Mike Adams from the South Eastern group, Andy Whittle from the Woolton group, Neil Pedder from the Widnes group and Len Hart from the Leigh group, who were accompanied by their group executives and officers. He said “He was honoured by their presence and thanked them all for the support and friendship they have afforded him over the last two years”.
Andy continued by saying that they were are also honoured by the presence of Eric Drinkwater the Masonic Hall Chairman, who was promoted to the rank of a PPrSGW by the PrGM at a surprise visit to Boteler lodge’s installation. It was a great honour not only for Eric but also the Warrington group. Whilst mentioning Eric, he took the opportunity to thank him, the directors and the staff of the Masonic Hall company for, not only providing a wonderful meal this evening, but for all they do throughout the year.
“This year the Group Executive hoped to make the Group Chairman’s Dinner a more relaxed event, so we decided a carvery meal would make a nice change from the usual more formal dinner, which I hope has met with your approval”.
“Health related issues have unfortunately left us missing two of our most senior members of the group, Dennis Rudd and Jack Forsyth, both of whom I believe are on the road to recovery. I wish them both well. I think you’ll all agree, it doesn’t seem the same without Jack and Dennis being here. Would they have been able to be with us this evening I am certain that they would be impressed by the level of support that the members of the group have demonstrated tonight. Almost 80 brethren and guests is a great turnout to a chairman’s dinner and is a reflection of the strength of Freemasonry in the group”.
“To encourage our newer brethren to attend this important event, I have decided, each year, to extend a personal invite to those brethren who have been initiated into our lodges since the last group dinner. Hopefully this will make them aware of the group dinner and the enjoyment of attending it”.
Andy said, “He would like to welcome Richard Clatworthy, David Eccles, Sab Hussein, Daniel Wheatley, Martyn Boardman and Jonathon Williamson. Unfortunately Martyn and Jonathon were unable to attend but he still wished to extend a warm welcome to them. He hoped that they will continue to enjoy their masonry and continue to attend the group dinners at which he was sure they will make lifelong friendships, as he has over the past 25 years. He said you never know, one day you may be standing here responding as group chairman”.
Andy said, “During my absence last year, due to problems with my own health, the normal workings of the group continued, thanks to our Group Vice Chairman, Chris Gleave and Group Secretary, John McIntyre. I am indebted to both of my colleagues and the rest of the group officers for the hard work carried out this Masonic season”.
He informed the brethren there have been one or two changes due to people wishing to retire. “Last year, Mike Williams informed me of his intention to retire as our Group Charity Steward after years of dedicated service to that office. Chris Todd bravely agreed to take on this office, I say bravely, because Chris has been thrust head long into the 2021 Festival, which means that he has a lot of responsibility resting on his shoulders. I know that from the manner in which he has applied himself so far, he is more than capable to take on the task”.
“Last year Jim Walker decided to retire as our local care officer again after many years of service. I’m pleased to say that Dave Berrington of the Widnes group has been appointed to that office”.
“Also, Andrew Sharp informed me of his wish to step down as assistant group mentor due to taking office as master in his own lodge. I have appointed Paul Rigby as assistant group mentor. Paul has taken on the role of assisting Peter Whalley in welcoming new members to the group and assisting the lodge mentors”.
Andy said to those brethren who have retired, “I extend my sincere thanks for their dedication to the Warrington group and wish those brethren who have taken office all the best in their new roles”.
Saying once again, “I’d like to thank all the officers of the group for their hard work and efforts which make our group so successful”.
“We are well into our Tercentenary celebrations; I don’t intend to list each and every event, as I’m sure you’re all very aware of the events planned. I would like to thank Vic Charlesworth and his team for their ongoing efforts in making sure that the Tercentenary doesn’t pass unnoticed in the Warrington group. Please make sure that you do your best to support these events and encourage others to do so”.
“I have already mentioned, we are very shortly going to be in the Festival period, however support for the Festival has been gathering pace for some time. I would encourage everyone to support the Festival in whatever way you can. The results of our last Festival meant that the Province donated just over £6,000,000 to the grand charities. Since then the Province has received well over £6,000,000 in grants. Basically we have received back what we donated. If we fail to support our grand charity, we can’t complain if there’s no money available, God forbid we should ever need it”.
“I would like to congratulate all our members who are to be appointed or promoted within Craft Provincial Grand Rank. The group has been extremely fortunate this year with 20 brethren receiving honours in Craft. Each honour is special in its own right and has been hard earned. I would like however, to mention again Eric Drinkwater on being promoted to PPrSGW and Vic Charlesworth who is to be promoted to the same very high rank. I would also like to mention Dennis Wilding having been promoted at Elias Ashmole’s Chapter installation to the very high rank of PPrGSE”.
“I would once again like to thank the group vice chairman, Chris Gleave and John McIntyre, secretary for once again keeping me on the straight and narrow and making sure that I am in the right place at the right time and doing the things he need to do”.
Andy continued by saying “Brethren, you cannot imagine how proud I was at being appointed the 12th Warrington group chairman since the office came into being in 1942. That pride has never diminished in the two years I’ve been in office. Being chairman of a group like Warrington is an honour and a pleasure and it’s made even easier by the quality and commitment of our members. Collectively I’d like to thank you all”.
“May I finish by thanking Kevin for the warmth of your toast to the Warrington group and you brethren for your kind reception of it.”
To bring the meeting to a close Bill Wainwright proposed the tyler’s toast.
Article by John Starkey.