The beast from the East a passing memory, Pontefract Masonic hall welcomed the Brethren of Pontefract Lodge of Mark Master Masons and their guests on Thursday, 22nd March 2018.
The Senior Warden, Brother Peter Higgins was to be Installed but , sadly not by Worshipful Brother John Clayton, the Worshipful Master, as he was indisposed with a chest infection.
Step forward Worshipful Brother William Sables and Worshipful Brother John Gray. The former dealt with the opening formalities including welcoming Worshipful Brother Edward Wilkinson, Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C. and Worshipful Brother John Maxwell, Elected Member of the Charity committee, both attended by Worshipful Brother Richard Brown, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
At this juncture, control passed to W.Bro. John Gray who had only found out a few days before that it was now in his hands. He took the chair in a very relaxed style and proceeded to undertake an installation Ceremony of supreme quality. I have never seen one better and as one experienced colleague was heard to say, ‘we all sat back in awe’, no books, no prompts, a towering performance by the diminutive W.Bro.John. He orchestrated the whole performance until finally advising the newly installed Worshipful Master that the Lodge was now in his hands.
In the process he was ell supported by colleagues, notably Worshipful Brother Martin Millward with the explanation of the tools, Very Worshipful Brother Ian Wolstencroft presenting the Key Stone Collarette and he also delivered the Address to the Worshipful Master, he is well practised in them , of course. The remaining addresses being respectively in the hands of Wardens by Worshipful Brother Jim Garland, Overseers by Worshipful Brother Paul Levey and the Brethren by Worshipful Brother Sam Brown. W.Bro. Peter having appointed and invested his new team of Officers, the Past Masters Jewel presentation being deferred until W.Bro. John is well, we were reminded that the Lodge, and the Province, had recently lost one of its stalwarts, Very Worshipful Brother Philip Mann. No words can truly express the service provided by Philip and Judith to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, he is truly missed.
A healthy festive Board was then consumed, Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Braised Steak the size of a mini log and Lemon sponge with custard, no I did not have the later, it was passed to W.Bro.Tony Mackrell, he needs feeding up!! The Toast to the Province was then eloquently delivered by Worshipful Brother en Taylor whose eyesight is very bad and who told me before proceedings began that he now had great difficulty in recognising members in Lodge. Nonetheless with the aid of a magnifying glass and light, he reminded us all that Provincial Grand Lodge Officers in his experience were always there to help, dedicated to the Order, without any expectations other than a job well done. W, Bro Edward thanked him for the warm sentiments and then reminded the brethren that the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge is on Saturday 7th April and the Second Northern Variety Show on the 14th, if possible miss neither. He concluded by emphasising that we are the custodians of our Lodges and the Order and have a duty to ensure that they are always t for purpose to be transferred, in due course, to our successors.
The Toast to the charities was in the experienced hands of Worshipful Brother Walter Skaife who praised the Cleeves and Whitehead for the good they perform and then left the detail to W.Bro. John who responded. Much has been said about the festival and on this occasion W.Bro.John chose to speak about our Charity whose objectives remain unaltered, ‘The relief of past and present Mark Master Masons of West Yorkshire and their relatives and dependants who are in need, hardship or distress, and to support such charity’s, charitable institutions and purposes as the Trustees think t’. This they continue to do; the annual holiday is to take place in July, new venue,’ Inn on the Prom’ at Lytham St Annes. Additionally both Almoners Luncheons are set for the year, the rest on Monday, 9th of April. Personal assistance continues to be provided where required and help has also been forthcoming for other causes that the Trustees found deserving, something of which we can all be justly proud.
A wonderful Mark Masonic occasion.
W Bro Duncan Smith PGSD