Members and visitors of Foundation Lodge No 5394 were most honoured and delighted in welcoming Provincial Junior Grand Warden Peter Stuart Allen, representing the Provincial Grand Master, as principal guest to their installation meeting to witness master elect Trevor Bedder being installed as WM for the ensuing year. Peter was in good company being accompanied by grand officers Brian Hayes and South Eastern Group Chairman David Durling.
The WM Alan Tuft opened the lodge and conducted the initial business as per the summons, there then came the expected knock on the door and DC Terry Howard entered and announced that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master stood without and was seeking admission, where upon Peter entered in ceremonial procession accompanied by the grand officers.
Peter having been welcomed, Alan, seemingly determined not to carry out the ceremony then announced that lodge mentor Jeffrey Newbrook would take his place in the masters’ chair for the installation which prompted humorous comments from various undefined sources relating to Alan’s narrow escape!
Jeffrey, in a deft and easy manner, carried out the ceremony and installed the incoming WM Trevor in an excellent manner. Trevor having been installed, there then followed excellent presentations of the working tools in the third degree by Mike Smithies, the second degree by Alan Tuft and the first degree by John Newall.
The address to the master was given by John Ludlow, followed by David Durling giving the address to the wardens and that to the brethren of the lodge was given in an excellent manner by Peter.
On completion of the installation ceremony, Peter rose to bring the sincere greetings, best wishes and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Peter said that Tony was aware that Trevor was taking the masters’ chair once more and wished him and the members of the lodge a very happy, healthy and enjoyable year ahead and also, on Tony’s behalf congratulated the installing master Jeffrey and those officers and brethren who had taken part in producing an excellent ceremony.
In response, Trevor rose and thanked Peter for the good wishes he had conveyed and then with considerable pleasure presented him with a series of charitable donations by way of cheques for £1,200 made in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, £250 to the Wellspring, Stockport and a further £350 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Peter, impressed by the contributions, commented on the remarkable generosity of the lodge members and thanked them on behalf of all those who we may never know, that would eventually benefit.
It soon transpired that those most generous contributions were to reflect further honour on the lodge as Provincial Charity Steward Denis Tierney rose and gave a splendid address to the newly installed lodge charity steward, offering many congratulations and presenting him with a certificate raising the MCF status of the lodge to Vice Patron.
On the first rising David Durling responded on behalf of the grand officers and said he, and they were pleased to see such an excellent ceremony. David welcomed Trevor as a ruler in the craft once more and wished both he and the brethren a happy and healthy year.
During the festive board, Peter gave the response to his toast, offering his own congratulations to the lodge members, saying he thoroughly enjoyed the installation meeting.
Peter, giving both the PrGM Tony Harrison’s thoughts and his own, made reference to the 2021 MCF Festival, which had already raised in excess of £1,000,000, how we should follow a natural progression taking our Masonry to the next level by joining the Royal Arch and exhorting everyone to support our Masonic halls. Rounding off his response, Peter reminded everyone about the forthcoming Provincial Grand Ball on 6 March and instructed us to wear our festival steward’s jewels with pride!
Taking his cue from the reference to steward’s jewels; Denis Tierney rose to present yet another 2021 MCF certificate, this time to group chairman David Durling raising the South Eastern Group status to Vice Patron.
Newly installed master, Trevor, having responded to his toast then proposed a toast to the IPM, Alan Tuft and taking him by surprise presented him not only with a past master’s jewel but also with a solid gold Founders medal which had apparently been passed to Foundation Lodge from the estate of a recently deceased lodge member. Alan, clearly moved by the presentation suitably thanked the lodge members.
Thus, what had been a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable evening was brought to a close with a most suitable and fitting conclusion.