Members and visitors alike of Foundation Lodge No 5394 were delighted to receive Neil MacSymons on his first outing into the South Eastern Group, as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master, at their installation meeting to witness Noel Grubb being installed as master for the ensuing year and for the first time in Noel’s Masonic career.
The meeting, held at Urmston Masonic Hall, was the first installation meeting of the lodge to be held at the newly refurbished hall since the lodge moved location from the recently closed Heaton Moor Masonic meeting place. The installation was very well attended and Neil was in good company, accompanied by South Eastern Group Chairman Mike Adams and other grand officers Brian Hayes and group vice chairman David Durling along with other distinguished Provincial grand officers, group officers and visiting brethren.
The lodge opened in good form and with good humility by the worshipful master Allan Crowe, there was an air of good Masonic camaraderie, so much so that upon request from Allan, the director of ceremonies Jeffrey Newbrook was delighted to take the position of installing master and the immediate past master Terry Howard took over as an equally very efficient lodge director of ceremonies for the evening.
With the ceremony underway, Jeffrey installed Noel in excellent fashion and it was clear he was well supported by his fellow installing officers carrying out their own and exacting diligent ceremonial manner. There then followed excellent presentations of the working tools in the third degree by Trevor Bedder, followed by Alan Tuft who presented the second degree tools and Phil Rampling presented the tools in the first degree.
The officers being installed, Terry Howard then gave an aspiring address to the deacons followed by Phil Rampling with his address to the wardens. There then followed a very confident, relaxed and excellent performance of the address to the master by Brian Bush, a visitor from High Peak Lodge No 1952 in the land of the ‘twisted spire’, Province of Derbyshire.
Neil MacSymons completed the series addresses by his very confident and heartfelt presentation in the address to the brethren, clearly pleasing the lodge director of ceremonies, so much so and with much pleasure Terry guided Neil back to his seat.
The business of the installation ceremony having come to its completion, Neil rose at the customary moment in the proceedings and immediately conveyed the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, offering his congratulations to Noel on being installed as WM, wishing him and the lodge good health to enjoy a happy and busy year ahead.
Neil continued by saying that had Tony been present, he would have also had great pleasure in congratulating the installing master Jeffrey for the excellent work that he had put into the ceremony and of course to Terry for his work as installing director of ceremonies. Also on behalf of Tony, Neil congratulated the new past master Allan, for his previous successful year in the chair.
Turning to the officers and brethren of the lodge, Neil similarly complimented them on the high standard of the ceremony and of the excellent, exacting and friendly manner in which it had been conducted.
Noel then responded to Neil by thanking him for him passing on the good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master and had much pleasure on behalf of the lodge members in presenting a series of charitable donations enclosed in an envelope. Neil having opened the envelope had much surprise in its contents, he asked Noel’s permission for him to reveal the contents which were a number of cheques made out for £250 in favour for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £250 in favour of the Blind Children Charity number 1051607, £250 in favour of the Strictly Wheel Chair Dancing Charity number 1148826 and a further £250 toward the Burnage Good Neighbours Charity number 1146074.
Through the lodge’s annual collection of the yellow envelope scheme there was an additional £400 including gift aid tax relief, available and having been collected, added to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity donation making a total of £650.
Neil said these were a most generous and outstanding contributions and clearly had much pleasure in congratulating and thanking the lodge members on behalf of all those eventual recipients, we may never know, for their most kind, charitable giving.
The sentiments and congratulations on the excellence of the ceremony were re-iterated by Mike Adams in his response in the first rising, he too concurred with the comments that this had been a most enjoyable meeting and welcomed Noel as a new ruler in the Craft and similarly wished him and the lodge an excellent year ahead.
Under any other business, the charitable giving of the lodge members was further expanded by a lodge member John Ludlow, rising to express his sincere gratitude to the lodge and informed the brethren that in the recent death of his beloved wife Eileen, who had been a very active Lady Mason, and through her efforts towards Beechwood Cancer Care, she had managed to raise upwards of £3,000 of which £500 had been donated by Foundation Lodge via their lodge relief chest, administered by the Grand Charity. John said that Eileen would have been so proud. In conclusion the lodge members had presented an admirable £1,900 in charitable donations over their last Masonic year.
The evening continued with an enjoyable, friendly, jovial festive board. Neil, in his response, made references to the new Masonic Charitable Foundation charity, the tercentenary, membership recruitment, retention and Masonic halls. Neil acknowledged the group officers and all the work that they do in the group. He also made reference to the Provincial and group websites and reminded everyone to enact wordings illustrated on those websites such as friendship, purpose, openness and growth in open conversation with non-members. He transmitted the Provincial Grand Master’s comments that he hoped we each continue to enjoy the fun and camaraderie of our Freemasonry and in completing his response, Neil commented on Royal Arch promoting the Talking Heads ceremony.
Neil went on to say he had experienced an immensely enjoyable evening and again, on his own behalf, thanked the lodge members for their kind charitable generosity demonstrated earlier in the evening and of the hospitality which they had extended to him throughout the evening. Thus ended a most enjoyable evening.