The Roman Suite within Liverpool Masonic Hall was the venue for the installation of Geoffrey Cuthill into the chair of King Solomon of Woolton Lodge No 6448. The lodge, one of the few in Liverpool which follows the Emulation form of working, was opened in due form and ceremonial by WM Edward O’Hare, ably assisted by his wardens and officers.
On completion of the opening procedure the brethren were requested to stand in respect to departed merit of a founder member of the lodge, James Derek Brear. Preferred to be known as Derek, he passed to the Grand Lodge on high a few weeks previous to the meeting, at the age of 101. Derek, a former bank manager, was the last of the founders, the class of 1947, previously initiated in the Buckingham and Chandos Lodge No 2667 on the Wirral, and had led a full and interesting life, particularly in regard to his wartime service.
With the lodge then called to order, the brethren were happy to welcome Steve Walls who, as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, was their principal guest and on this auspicious occasion he was accompanied by Mark Matthews, Chairman of the Liverpool group.
Eddie formally welcomed Steve to the lodge and once salutations were completed the most important business of the lodge got underway. Dr Alistair Reid occupied the senior warden’s chair, Geoff Green the junior warden’s chair and Nigel Piper assumed the role of inner guard. The presentation of the master elect was placed in the very capable hands of Gordon McConnell and during the installation, the third degree working tools were presented by Geoff Green. Those of the second and first degrees were performed by installing master Eddie O’Hare.
Of special mention was the appointment of Geoff Green as lodge treasurer; this was due to the retirement from the role of David Blythe, a role he had served with distinction for more than a quarter of a century. Eddie delivered the warrant to Geoffrey Cuthill and Dr Alistair Reid gave the address to the new WM, whilst David Blythe followed with the address to the wardens. It was then the turn of Steve Walls to address the brethren of the lodge.
Once Gordon McConnell had delivered those immortal words: “That completes the ceremony of your installation” to the new master, Steve Walls arose to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and in turn he thanked Eddie, Gordon and all those who had worked so hard to produce such a magnificent ceremony.
Geoffrey then had the pleasure of presenting Steve with cheques of £400 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and £100 to Liverpool Masonic Hall, for which Steve expressed thanks on behalf of the eventual recipients.
Following the closure of the lodge the brethren retired to an excellent festive board where Gordon McConnell performed his new duties as director of ceremonies with aplomb. Steve Walls, in response to the toast to grand officers, entertained the diners with a mixture of seriousness and humour. He took great delight in expounding some of the events with regard to the new WM on the charity bike rides over the years: exploding tyres, adjusting loose seats and fending off ravaging swans – all was laid bare.
Steve thanked the grand officers present for their company and said that they had had an enjoyable day. Speaking of the MCF 2021 Festival he said from the generous donation the lodge had made it was obvious that Woolton Lodge was making great efforts to support it, mentioning the £1,000,000’s that Freemasons gave to charity as a result of the scheme.
Steve then praised the efforts of the Liverpool Group officers who worked hard to ensure that the group was enjoying success. He also thanked the acting Provincial grand officers present who had given of their time to support both him and Woolton Lodge by their attendance. The ceremony had been wonderful and congratulated all who had taken part in it, and what a pleasure it had been to hear some of the addresses given by Geoff to his officers on their appointment. To hear the full address to the IPM Eddy O’Hare must have been a first for most within the room.
He brought his personal congratulations to Geoff, adding he had no need to tell him to get out with the other masters and have an enjoyable year, as being a publicity officer for 10 years, he was already in attendance for most functions and installations. Indeed, it was quite unusual on the night for Geoff to be the chief protagonist in the story, rather than reporting it. It had been mentioned that Geoff, along with his publicity colleagues had been responsible for raising awareness about Freemasonry with over 1,200 stories being published.
Steve wished the lodge success in the year ahead, and spoke too about Liverpool Masonic Hall and asked brethren to promote the hall for all manner of occasions with the public and concluded by wishing everyone in Woolton Lodge continued success.