Whilst Worshipful Brother Matthew Brelsford was very happy to be Installed once more in the Chair of this fine Lodge, dreams came true when, under propositions, a joining Brother was proposed and then four for advancement; there will be another later in the year as a Brother is to be Raised in the Craft in the Autumn and will then join Aireferry. After a dearth of candidates in the recent past, all their numbers have come up at once, doesn’t it make you feel envious, well done W,Bro. Matthew.
The meeting had commenced at 5 p.m. and the Lodge was opened by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Michael Brearley, who then expeditiously dealt with the opening procedures and agenda items. At this point, Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Gray was admitted and very shortly afterwards escorted Very Worshipful Brother Richard Puttrell, the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master and Worshipful Brother Chris Oldfield, Elected member of the Charity Committee, into the Lodge. W.Bro. Richard then presented W.Bro. Michael with a Patrons Collarette for the Lodge. The vast majority of Lodges in the Province had qualified when the last festival took place but this Lodge was not then in existence and had to start from scratch.
Attention then turned to the Installation Ceremony which was of short form and was warmly and sincerely accomplished. The Working tools were presented and explained in fine style by Worshipful Brother Ken Beaumont and the Keystone Collarette superbly entrusted to the W.M. by Very Worshipful Brother John Barlow,as he had done some five years previous when W.Bro Matthew took the chair for the first time and, just as he had done the previous week at Prince Edward. W.Bro. Matthew having appointed and invested his team for the ensuing year, the Addresses were delivered in excellent form, that to the W.M. by Very Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield followed by that to the Wardens by V.W.Bro. Bob again, we waited in anticipation , would he also deal with that to the overseers, the answer no, this was in the hands of Worshipful Brother, Reverend Brian Instone; whilst it would have been a first to do all three, V.W.Bro. Bob was feeling quite unwell and had to leave the Festive Board early, we trust that he is now fully recovered. I have already covered the excellent memberships news but W.Bro. Matt also told me that there are two others in the wings, if all came to pass the, membership would increase by a third, we wait and see.
The assembled company having seen off the pangs of hunger, the Toast to the Province was proposed by W.Bro. Matt, himself a Provincial Grand Lodge Officer, praised the commitment and enthusiasm of his Colleagues in the assistance that they provide around the Lodges. This was echoed by V.W.Bro. Richard in his response. He then reminded Brethren that it is the wish of the Provincial Grand Master that Brethren attempt to learn the ritual, not read it, to provide the right impression to candidates and demonstrate the moral standards that we follow. He also emphasised that Masters in the Chair have to accept that they are the face of the Lodge and have a responsibility to represent their Lodge around the I,M,A, and wider in the Province. Some dates for your diaries 25th July, Combined Mark Lodges in Sheffield, under the banner of Escafeld Lodge of M.M.M. No.1139, an advancement when some very special people will be showing us all how it should be done , both of these at Tapton hall; on l5th August, a Sunday barbecue organised by the Social Committee at the Mercure Hotel, Bingley, and upcoming musical delights, an Evening with John Fitzpatrick at Greenhead in Huddersfield, 29th September and two offerings from John Whitworth at Pontefract Masonic Hall on October 27th and November 3rd.
The Toast to the Charities was delivered by Worshipful Brother Mick Ricketts having only been appointed earlier to the Office which he has never held before, a first. He presented a cheque for £550 and awaited news from W.Bro. Chris upon the activities of the organisations. W. Bro Chris began by thanking the Lodge for the generous donation and said that rather than generalise in his response, he would specialise and talk about individual giving by standing order. The percentage of those who contribute in this manner stands at 28% approx, a figure that has remained unchanged from when I was Chairman of Trustees back in 2010 which, given our desire to demonstrate our charitable nature, is something of which we should be ashamed, caveat no one should give more than they can afford. We have about 1300 members, of which, about 360 have s/o’s now. If 200 Brethren started to give £10 per month, with gift aid , that would amount to £30, 000 in a full year, it includes £6000 from the tax man . Give it a thought.
Finally, a delight to see three Masters in the Chair present. I trust that others will take note of the lead by W.Bro. Neil Park, Gothic No. 1018 and W.Bro. Colin Middleton, Thorne No.1004 who were , of course, visitors. The third?, W.Bro. Mike Brearley, unusually in two Chairs at the same time, the other being Integrity No. 110. A bit more complicated for W.Bro. Michael in September as the Master Elect is Brother Alex Baskeyfield and a full Installation Ceremony will be required. Start swotting up now Mike!!
Another wonderful Mark Masonic evening, I feel very lucky to be a Mark Master Mason.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.