Friday, 9th March and a good attendance at the Masonic Hall, York Place, Knaresborough to witness Brother David Preston Installed as Worshipful Master by Worshipful Brother Barry Smith. The W.M. opened the Lodge in due form with the assistance of a double hand in the Director of Ceremonies function; Worshipful Brother Bernard Dunne being unable to attend , at the last minute Worshipful Brothers David Lees and Gordon Renton stepped into the breach where, apart from a bit of doubt initially as to where the Master elect should be seated, they acquitted themselves superbly.
A ballot was then taken for a joining member, Worshipful Brother David Broadhead, that been approved, he was admitted and welcomed to the Lodge, A further ballot then followed to approve Worshipful Brother Don Birkin as an honorary member, it being explained that due to his deteriorating health it was unlikely that he would be seen at the Lodge again, In my travels around the Province, this has become increasingly common and is to be applauded. It is manifestly unmasonic to take monies from a Brother who probably will not attend Lodge in the future. It is, of course, right and proper to ascertain that the Brother would accept Honorary membership, he may wish to maintain the status quo, well done Knaresborough Castle.
Upon a report, Worshipful Brother Ian Lewis, Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies was admitted, formed an escort whereupon the Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Edward Wilkinson was admitted accompanied by Worshipful Brother Alan Corbridge, Elected member of the Charity Committee. Attention again turned to W,Bro. Barry who then proceeded with the Installation Ceremony in a calm measured delivery throughout. In this he was ably assisted by W.Bro.John Maxwell, explaining the Collaret, W.Bro.George Wise, the Tools and the Addresses respectively by W.Bro.Graham Essex to the Worshipful Master, W.Bro.Brian Harrison to the Wardens, W.Bro.David Lees to the Overseers and , finally, W,Bro.Edward Wilkinson to the Brethren, all submitted in fine form.
In presenting his Past Masters Jewel to W.Bro.Barry, W.Bro.George Wise confirmed that he had Advanced three candidates in the year and a joining member, any lodge would be delighted with that in the current climate. W.Bro.Barry acknowledged the Jewel, which he will wear with pride, in the same unassuming, calm manner he had conducted himself throughout. The Almoner unable to be present, the report was In the hands of W.Bro.George who promptly asked me to report on Very Worshipful Brother George Robert Fraser-Platt, who I had visited on my way to Knaresborough. He has recently had surgery on his left knee and was in some pain but his sense of humour has not changed and I had a most pleasant hour with Bob and Trudie. Hopefully he will be able to visit Lodges this year, I will most certainly see him again, but I know that he would welcome a call from his friends scattered around the Province; please call if you can but take my advice do not encourage him to tell you a joke, you could be on the phone for hours, he does like talking. I wish that I could see his face when he reads this but I did tell him that he would receive a mention, he does like his press.
A most welcome Festive Board consumed attention turned to the Toasts, that to the Province given formally by Worshipful Brother Alan Young. Responding W.Bro.Edward spoke about the sponsored Barge Pull from Barnoldswick to Leeds Distances, for each day, vary from three to seven miles but you have all day and as many as wish can be involved.. Lodges have already joined together to form teams and all are asked to consider and advise W.Bro.Edward, There will be evenings of interest en route, details of which should be available early April, one of which will be the copper Dragon Brewery, I will not miss that. Now a must for your diaries if it is not already there, Provincial Grand Lodge, Bradford Grammar School, April 7th Saturday, SEE YOU THERE, It is the Provincial Grand Masters meeting of his Lodge, only once a year, we should all reciprocate with our attendance.
The Toast to the Charities was succinctly provided by Worshipful Brother Richard Stone, the response by W.Bro.Alan Corbridge, Elected Member of the Charity Committee. He confirmed that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust continues to fulfil it’s obligations. an Almoners Luncheon in early April, followed by another in the Autumn and holiday at Lytham St Annes in July. Meanwhile the focus of our Charitable efforts are, quite rightly, fixed upon the Festival. It is through the Festivals that the Mark Benevolent Fund, founded 150 years ago by Canon George Raymond Portal, receives the bulk of its funding, this enables the support for major ticket items such as £2.6m for the Hope for Tomorrow cancer Charity, chemotherapy units in rural locations and £3.2m for the replacement of Ambulances and support vehicles for St John Ambulance, very worthy causes indeed.
Entertainment was provided from an unlikely source when the raffle drum, with raffle tickets enclosed, was placed before W.Bro.David. The wheel was turned and the tickets cascaded onto the table, the lid had been forgotten!!. Laughter ensued and that sealed what had been a wonderful Mark evening, I know I keep saying this but we are lucky to be Mark Master Masons, Enjoy.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.