Members and visitors of Canis Major Lodge No 9487 were most honoured and delighted in welcoming the presence of Philip Gunning, Deputy Provincial Grand Master as principal guest to their installation meeting to witness master elect Ken Toohey being installed as worshipful master for the ensuing year.
Philip was in good company being accompanied by a whole galaxy of grand officers which included Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton, group chairman Mike Adams, past group chairmen, Brian Hayes and Chris Hamilton and group vice chairman David Durling with Neil MacSymons was acting in his very able role as Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, along with group officers and other distinguished Provincial grand officers and of course the members and visiting brethren all being present for the installation.
The WM Robert Ashcroft opened the lodge and conducted the initial business where after, lodge secretary Ray Wilkinson was invited to take his place in the master’s chair to continue with the ceremony. There then came a somehow expected knock on the door and upon entering, Neil MacSymons announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master stood without and demanded admission, where with much pleasure to the members and visitors alike, Philip entered the lodge room in ceremonial procession accompanied by the grand officers.
Ray, having welcomed Philip, made a wry attempt to offer Philip the gavel and by right Philip accepted it, but then after a very short consideration, decided a better, safer option would be to hand it straight back to Ray in view of the hard work he had practiced for the evening. Ray excelled through the ceremony and installed Ken in a most excellent manner.
Ken having been installed, there then followed excellent presentations of the working tools in the third degree by Chris Humphreys, in the second degree by Eric Stephenson and in the first degree by visitor Eddie Wilkinson. The address to the WM was given by Malcolm Robinson, followed by Peter Bailey giving the address to the wardens and that to the brethren was given in a very heartfelt manner by Philip Gunning.
On completion of the installation ceremony, Philip rose to bring the sincere greetings, best wishes and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Philip said that Tony was aware that Ken was taking the master’s chair and wished him and the members of the lodge a very happy, healthy and enjoyable year ahead. Philip also on Tony’s behalf congratulated the installing master and those officers and brethren who had partaken in producing excellent work in the ceremony throughout the evening.
In response, Ken rose and thanked Philip for the good wishes he had conveyed, he then had pleasure in presenting Philip with a charitable donation by way of a cheque for £200 made in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Philip responded in thanking the lodge for their most kind and generous contribution to the charity and of course, on behalf of all those who we may never know who would eventually benefit.
On the first rising there was an impromptu twist where as Ray, back in his role as lodge secretary, announced that a Grand Lodge Certificate had been received for lodge member Ian Biggs and with an art of suggestion, indicated it would be a nice gesture if Philip would do the honours in presenting it, to which with much delight, Philip rose and in some depth explained to Ian the various aspects of the ‘1796 pillar certificate’ and so Ian having signed his certificate, was congratulated by Philip as he handed Ian his ‘passport to Freemasonry’.
Mike Adams then responded on behalf of the grand officers and said he, and they were pleased to see such an excellent delightful ceremony, Mike welcomed Ken as a ruler in the craft and similarly wished Ken and the brethren a happy and healthy year.
During the festive board Philip, in his response, initially offered his own congratulations to the WM and similarly to those individuals who had taken part in the ceremony during the evening in particular to Ray for his work as the acting installing master, saying that he had thoroughly enjoyed the installation meeting. Philip said he was pleased to have been accompanied by so many officers and thanked them for their presence, in particular Neil MacSymons.
Philip continued by making references to Masonic halls, the tercentenary, the forthcoming 2017 four-year festival and how we should continue to support the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity as was amply illustrated by the lodge in their presentation of support to that charity earlier in the evening. Philip also mentioned the availability of the new Provincial attire and had noted a few of the new Masonic Craft ties were being worn that evening and in view of Freemasonry reaching out to the non-Masonic world, being especially careful in using the Provincial guidelines when using social media on the internet.
In humour, and perhaps in keeping with the electoral activities in the USA, Philip recited an amusing story appertaining to a Latino chap called Jose and an across the Atlantic love for the world series baseball games, and with much to the amusement of the brethren, some broad Lancashire accents thrown in, ‘sithee’. Thus, the evening being brought to a close, concluded a most enjoyable meeting.