Wyre Lodge No 7704 held its 2022 installation in the presence of the Provincial Senior Grand Warden Chris Taylor and the evening proved to be a truly memorable one. With over 60 members and guests present there weren’t too many empty seats in the lodge room. So the brethren were ready to witness a fine ceremony and they weren’t to be disappointed.
The lodge business was dealt with expertly by the WM Martin Clements, secretary Dan Whalley and treasurer Steve Hagen. The highlight of the administrative items was the ballot for no less than three new joining members, these were; Geoffrey and Matthew Brady and David Wright. This proved in favour of the candidates and they were welcomed into the lodge by the WM. He then announced the main event of the evening, that of installing the senior warden Stephen Kerrigan into the master’s chair.
While the director of ceremonies, Bob Hopwood, retired to form the principal guest’s retinue the WM invited his installing officers to take post and a knock on the door indicated that the director of ceremonies was ready to lead Chris Taylor and his entourage into the lodge. Supporting Chris on this occasion were grand officer, Jim Woods, North Fylde Group Chairman John Cross, along with group officers Jim Gregson and Mike Brown. Also supporting was Paul Smedley, Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.
Salutations to grand and Provincial grand officers received responses from Jim Woods and Chris Taylor respectively and the master elect was then presented. He was advised of the ancient charges by lodge secretary Dan Whalley, to all of which he submitted, then he advanced to the pedestal and recited his obligation with great confidence. Having thanked the officers of his year for their support and hard work, the WM invited all below the rank of an installed master to retire and the new WM was installed according to ancient tradition. A nice inclusion at this point was the fine presentation of the WM’s working tools by Mike Thistlethwaite, a past master of Wayfarers Lodge No 7544.
On their return to the lodge the master Masons saluted and greeted Stephen Kerrigan as the new master in all three degrees and the working tools were presented by Alan Berwick in the third degree, Clive Chenery in the second degree and Dan Whalley in the first degree. All three brothers excelled in their work, however, Clive’s rendition of the ‘long’ explanation of those in the second were the subject of much praise. The excellence of these brothers and the installing WM was particularly impressive, notwithstanding the noise of some seasonal pyrotechnics outside in remembrance of a certain Guy Fawkes!
Further addresses were delivered by seasoned experts Bob Hopwood and Terry Seddon to the WM and wardens respectively, then Chris Taylor delivered a polished address to the brethren of the lodge to round off a wonderful installation ceremony. The wonder didn’t end there however, as new WM Stephen had the pleasure of presenting Chris with cheques and a list of the charitable donations made by the lodge during Martin’s mastership. The combined total of all donations amounted to the staggering sum of £12,886. Chris certainly looked impressed and in thanking the lodge for their generosity described this as, “an enormous amount that would make an enormous difference to the lives of many people in need.” A stunned silence was broken by warm applause!
The final items of lodge business included reports from the almoner and the group representative and a proposition, announced by the secretary to make Jim Woods an honorary member of the lodge. Now those who know Jim will be aware that he isn’t often noted for being lost for words. There was, however, a little croakiness in his voice when he stood to speak during the risings!
The lodge was closed soon after and everyone retired to an enjoyable festive board. A fine meal was provided by Lee and his Cleveleys catering team and the toasts which followed proved to be lively and entertaining.
Responding to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, Chris Taylor mixed serious with humorous content in a lively combination. In between a series of top quality gags he managed to congratulate the lodge and the IPM on a very successful year, give thanks to group chairman John Cross and his executive on the great work that they do, along with praising Provincial Senior Grand Deacon Paul Smedley on the work he is doing during his year as an acting officer. Chris also paid a special tribute to Frank Kennedy, who had been both Provincial Grand Pursuivant and Provincial Grand Tyler in recent years, but was at present recovering from serious illness and had made the effort to attend this meeting.
Chris went on to praise all those who had taken part in the ceremony of installation, particularly those presenting the working tools, as well as discussing subjects including the forthcoming investiture of the new Provincial Grand Master, the Membership Pathway initiative, the Hermes administration project, the Provincial Ball to be held at Bolton on 3 March 2023, then finishing off by heaping praise on the lodge for its magnificent level of charitable donations.
Chris was followed by IPM Martin Clements who proposed the toast to the new WM and wished him an enjoyable and successful year in office. Amid more entertaining anecdotes Martin gave a brief history of the path Stephen had followed from being a Welshman joining the Lodge Union Dunfermline No 250 of the Scottish constitution to arriving on the Fylde coast and being installed master of Wyre Lodge. He then presented Stephen with a menu card signed by all those present before an excellent rendition of the master’s song was performed by Peter Baldwin, the WM of Symphony Lodge No 4924. Peter was accompanied with music played by guest organist Malcolm Burrill.
Stephen responded to the toast with an informative reply, giving more detail of his progress from Lodge Union Dunfermline, via meeting up with lodge mentor Michael Dickinson, then a member of the Normoss Round Table Lodge No 8741, to the present day. He joking alluded to the many incidents of banter from his fellow lodge members concerning his Welsh ancestry and took the opportunity to poke fun at some of them. He summed up by thanking several members of the lodge for the work that they do.
As usual, a raffle was conducted by Bob Hopwood for two fine bottles of spirit, this raised over £500. This money will go towards Stephen’s charity list. He has his sights set on beating Martin’s marvellous figure. Everyone wished him the best of luck with that and nobody doubts that it’s possible now!
Finally, having received his lodge IPM jewel, which was presented by Martin Clements he had the pleasure of giving Chris Taylor a lovely bunch of flowers for his wife and the formal proceedings were brought to a close by guest tyler Mark Tomlinson who proposed the final toast.