A warm welcome for all at the Masonic Hall, Swinton on Tuesday, 5th March for the Installation of Brother Ian Wright and a good number present, including representatives of a number of Lodges based at Tapton Hall, good to see. The Lodge was duly opened by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Neil Park, housekeeping issues attended to including the Re Election of the Auditors , W.Bro’s Marshall Swann and Tony Tarver, unopposed. A report heralded the presence of the Assistant Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Richard Brown, shortly followed by Very Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by Worshipful Brother Mark Kenyon, Elected Member of the Charity Committee.
Now to the reason all were present, the Master Elect was presented by Worshipful Brother George Herd and the appropriate questions posed to him by the W.M. Brother Ian, this was a surprise, then recited his obligation, with an occasional prompt; I have never seen that before although I was assured that this had been their procedure for some time and, must have seen it before, whoops senior moment. W.Bro Neil then demonstrated and explained the signs and secrets and placed, now W.Bro., Ian Wright in the Chair of the Lodge,, all accomplished in a most professional manner. The Inner Workings completed, the assembled Company were then treated to another departure from the norm when the Lodge Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro.Charles Lindsay produced chocolates for consumption, well received. The Brethren re-admitted, note no treats for them, W.Bro. Jack Anderson then delightfully presented and explained the Working Tools followed by W.Bro.John Blundell who gave an account of the Keystone Collaret, a very precise and meaningful delivery, a delight to witness. The Officers for the year were then Appointed and Invested, no surprises and the Lodge can look forward to a bright and interesting Year ahead.
The Addresses were then delivered as follows: Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Robert Davis; Wardens, W.Bro. Tony Tarver; Overseers, W.Bro.John Blundell and the Brethren by V.W,Bro.Richard Puttrell, all in fine form. The standard script was used for the Addresses except that to the W.M., a very different text from the norm and somewhat complicated, I think I will return in 2020, all being well, to hear that again. The Past Masters Jewel was presented by W.Bro. Charles who congratulated W.Bro.Neil on two Candidates and a very a happy and contented Lodge. In return Neil thanked all the Brethren for their support and for making it a year to remember. To conclude matters Brothers Stephen Linstead and Graham Young received their Grand Lodge Certificates from V.W.Bro. Richard, something I know that they will treasure for some time.
The Festive board was well received and the Toast to the Province submitted by W.Bro.John Pease, thanked the Provincial Officers for being the back bone of the Lodge, always ready to step in at a moments notice to fill any gaps. I noticed that as Brethren rose for the Toast, W.Bro.Ian turned to Richard Brown behind him saying ‘ and you’, a lovely touch. In his response V.W.Bro. Richard provided a reminder for the Grand Lodge Investiture meeting on the 13th June when Brethren from our Province will be honoured. Come and support them and, in addition, the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Bradford. This is a must for all Masters in the Chair, it being one of the responsibilities of Mastership. Do not forget, this is the Lodge of the Provincial Grand Master, he visits you, reciprocate. He also emphasised that despite our focus on the Festival, we must never lose sight of that critical objective, that of ‘Making Better Men of Men and spreading the ‘Magic of the Mark’. One note for your diaries, Centenary meeting of Peace Mark Lodge No.681 is to be held on Saturday, 30th March, still spaces, one not to miss.
The Toast to the Charities was succinctly submitted by W.Bro.Ian Yates and in his reply W.Bro.Mark reminded all that the M.B.F. was our National Charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust very much the local arm. The work of the latter continues undiminished providing immediate support where required whilst, in addition, arranging Almoners Luncheons, the next at the Cedar Court Hotel, Huddersfield and the holiday at The Inn on the Prom at St Anne’s. How is this all accomplished? Principally by regular donations and legacy giving by the Brethren, it is your Charity of which we are all extremely proud.
Before concluding I have to mention the dulcet tones in the Temple by W.Bro.George Crofts, the harmony of the Masters Song, a duet by W.Bros. Robert Davis and Trevor Brown, in tune, well almost! And lastly the comment by W.Bro.Ian that he had come into the Mark Degree late in his career, a mistake he has now remedied and he is going to have a year to remember, I have no doubt he will.
The Mark degree is wonderful, Enjoy.