The first craft installation ceremony of the Liverpool Group after the summer break was for Childwall Lodge No 5235 and it was held in the Adams Suite of the magnificent Masonic hall on Hope Street. The lodge is one of the few in West Lancashire designated as a Hall Stone Jewel Lodge, this jewel was presented to the members in recognition of their donations to the building of the Masonic Peace Memorial in Great Queen Street, London following the aftermath of the Great War. The jewel is today still proudly worn by each successive master of the lodge.
Raymond Cooper WM opened the lodge promptly in due and regular form, ably assisted by his wardens and officers. The lodge members were particularly happy to receive the principal guest for the evening, Roy Pyne, the direct representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Roy, a Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, was accompanied by fellow grand officers, Mark Matthews Chairman of Liverpool Group, with Syd Ford, Roy Ashley, Alan Lamont, Gwynfor Thomas and Colin Jenkins. The WM warmly welcomed Roy Pyne and the director of ceremonies Mark Connell conducted the customary salutations to him and the other grand officers, followed by salutations directed to James Kontzle and his fellow provincial grand officers.
For the purpose of the installation ceremony, Raymond requested John Stallard to occupy the chair of senior warden, Keith Benson as junior, with Mike Wallis as inner guard. The ceremony of installation, carried out according to Emulation ritual, was conducted in a flawless fashion by Ray, who placed his successor, Tony Fennell, into the chair of King Solomon. The first duty of the newly installed master was to invest Ray Cooper with the collar and jewel of the IPM. The working tools of each degree were explained in exemplary manner by three of the newer brethren, those of a master mason by Alan Ray, the fellow craft by Brian Beaumont and the entered apprentice by Richard McKenna. At this stage Mike Wallis approached the chair and gave a superb address regarding the Hall Stone Jewel which he then presented to WM Tony Fennell.
Tony then invested his officers for the coming year, and besides those taking their place on a progressive rung, special note must be made of the retirement of Mark Connell as director of ceremonies, who for many years has been an example to all on how the job should be done. The lodge has no fear though, for his successor Mike Wallis has all the attributes to rise to the standard set by Mark. The address to the new almoner, IPM Ray Cooper, was given by Roy Ashley in his usual inimitable style, while that to the WM was of equal standard, delivered by Mark Connell. David Cross delivered the address to the newly invested wardens Stuart Bromhead and Michael Price.
On completion, Roy Pyne gave the address to the brethren of the lodge and then conveyed the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and congratulated the installing master and the director of ceremonies for the quality of the ceremony and said that he was pleased to see the newer brethren playing their parts so well. Roy made a particular point of going to each of the newer brethren who had previously presented and explained the working tools of each degree. He said the future of Childwall Lodge was going to be assured for a number of years, if it carried on initiating persons of this high calibre.
Tony Fennell then presented three charitable cheques on behalf of Childwall Lodge consisting of two at £200 each, one in favour of the Friends of Tithebarn, which is a local care home, the other to the Liverpool Masonic Hall building fund. The third cheque was for £700 towards the West Lancashire 2021 Festival for the Masonic Charities Foundation. Roy Pyne thanked the brethren for their generosity and said that it had been a most enjoyable meeting and a great way to start the new season.
At the festive board later, it was revealed that Tony Fennell and Raymond Cooper had known each other for many years and along with Barry Fletcher, who sadly due to illness was unable to be in attendance, all three shared a great passion for motorbikes. On reflection, what a wonderful opportunity it had been for Ray to install his lifelong friend Tony into the chair of his lodge, and to this is added a reciprocal pleasure as Tony presented Ray with the past master’s jewel and the book containing the work of his year in office.
The whole ceremony within the lodge room had been greatly enhanced with the musical dexterity of organist Llewellyn Williams from Segontium Lodge No 606, Caernarfon, who for many years has attended Childwall Lodge installations. His harmonious interludes were again put to good use at the festive board, where, in conjunction with the dulcet voice of Eryl Edwards a rousing rendition of the ‘Masters song’ was a joy to behold. Two other brethren of Segontium Lodge were also in attendance, and helped the chorus along, namely Vernon Jones and John Parrington Jones. To show their appreciation the lodge presented to each of the two musical brethren the finest export Scotland could provide.