Yes, this was a déjà vue feeling the Harrogate Masonic Hall, one of the finest Temple in the Province, on Tuesday 7th November. The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother David Fisher ,Worshipful Brother Roy Schofield, Immediate Past Master, at his left hand, they being the ‘Little and Large’ of the 2016 Installation, the usual formalities were attended. Of note was the ballot for Worshipful Brother A.G.Robinson, Worshipful Master in 1986 and 1987 who now, for reasons of age and health, is unable to come to Lodge, this proved positive. Sadly this is something many Lodges have to address, it manifestly being un Masonic to seek subscriptions in these circumstances, from Brethren, most of whom have a considerable track record of paid membership. .
Then, upon a report, the Provincial Grand Senior Warden, Worshipful Brother John Marrison was admitted, accompanied by Worshipful Brother Stephen Wood, Elected Member of the Charity Executive, both attended by Worshipful Brother Richard Brown, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. Then followed the presentation of a Grand Lodge certificate to Brother David Clough by W.Bro.John Marrison, something I am sure that he will remember for many years.
It was now time to deal with the meat of the matter, the Installation of the Senior Warden and Master Elect, Brother Eric Shaw, in the hands of ‘Little and Large’ duo.. This worked well as by, his own admission, W.Bro.David is not an accomplished ritualist but W.Bro.Roy is and, together, they made a very good team and Worshipful Brother Eric Shaw was duly placed in the Chair, all being superbly directed by Worshipful Brother Mark Holland, Director of Ceremonies. The appointment and investiture of the Officers passed smoothly, the same can also be said of all the Brethren who delivered the addresses, well done.
An enjoyable Festive Board was then taken by the assembled Brethren with the usual buzz of Mark Masonic chit chat and laughter; sometimes I wish we could bottle the atmosphere and ship it around the country. The Toast to the Province gave rise to episode one of the Worshipful Brother Bob Boyd show. Would he tread the ingratiating path of many of his predecessors or say whatever he wished. Accordingly he congratulated all the Provincial Officers for their zeal and leadership, underpinned by their support and commitment, should not be long before his preferment is confirmed. This was duly acknowledged by W.Bro.John who also congratulated W.Bro.Eric on attaining the Chair. The Lodge is 118 years old and he thanked its members for their record of service to the Province, particularly Worshipful Brother John Vause Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and W.Bro.Mark Holland, now about to conclude his tour of duty as an Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.
W.Bro.John had taken a sneaky look at the attendance register before entering and was pleased to see that most of the brethren had appended their marks to their signature as the P.G.M. has requested. Unfortunately, Worshipful Brother Gerald Bickerdike, the Father of the Lodge, could not be present but, at the ripe old age of ninety one, he remains involved and delivers ritual, what a fine example to us all. W.Bro.John also thanked Worshipful Brother John Maxwell for all his good work in preparing the Year Book, not forgetting the web site, between the two everything you need to know can be found. Dates for your diaries, Sunday,10th December, annual Carol Service at Brighouse Methodist Church, Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, Bradford Grammar School, Saturday April7th and 2nd Northern Masonic Variety Show, Saturday 14th April, same venue, booking forms for tickets have been included with the Year book and are available on the web site.
Episode two of the W.Bro.Bob Boyd show then began with the Toast to the Charities, cheque presented; over to you W.Bro.Stephen who thanked the Brethren for their generosity and assured them, it will be put to good use. In this regard, the big ticket items such as the Hope for Tomorrow, mobile Chemotherapy Units for rural areas and the replacement of fifty two ambulances and support vehicles for St John Ambulance are both on track. This also applies to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust which remains in good stead and is maintaining its support with Almoners Lunch, one just held at Tapton Hall, 175 present and the annual holiday confirmed for July 2018, venue changed to the Inn on the Prom at Lytham St Annes. A final comment, the Trustees remain concerned that some deserving cases are slipping under the radar, in this respect we are all Almoners, let us all remain vigilant.
Another memorable evening of Mark masonry, Smile and be happy.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.