Members and visitors of Peel Moat Lodge No 7633 were honoured and delighted in welcoming the presence of David Walmsley, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to their installation meeting to witness the outgoing and installing master, Alex Keenleyside install Nigel Sharpe as WM for the following year.
David was accompanied by fellow grand officers Brian Hayes and South Eastern Group Chairman David Durling along with other distinguished Provincial grand officers, regional and group officers and numerous visiting brethren present for the installation meeting.
Alex, having discharged the normal lodge business and opened the lodge in the third degree, the time arrived for the official party to enter the lodge, whereupon, director of ceremonies, Vin Wren knocked for admission and in admirable fashion announced that David was without and demanded admission. The grand officers entered the very full lodge room and David and his fellow grand officers having been welcomed by Alex took their respective places.
Alex proceeded to carry out the ceremony of installing Nigel into the chair in an admirably smooth and almost faultless manner which had clearly involved much practice by all concerned. The working tools of a master Mason were then presented by Derek Addy, followed by the fellow craft tools by Philip Lowe and the tools of an entered apprentice by Philip Hampson.
Brian Cross then presented an excellent address to the master followed by excellent addresses to both the wardens and the deacons and finally followed by David, who presented a warm and pleasant address to the brethren of the lodge.
On completion of the ceremony, David rose and brought the congratulations and good wishes for a happy and healthy year from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. He continued by saying that had Tony been present, he would have witnessed a most excellent, smooth and well-practised installation ceremony and on Tony’s behalf, warmly congratulated the immediate past master Alex, for his most excellent work and also to Vin in his role as director of ceremonies.
Nigel rose to respond to David and thanked him for conveying those very kind wishes, he said he was most proud to be installed as WM and looked forward to his year ahead. Nigel then attempted to present David with a very large charitable donation by way of several cheques with a cumulative total of £3,460, only to be forestalled when it transpired that the charity steward had put the cheques away for safe keeping and that they were still there.
Never the less, David rose to accept the magnificent donations which amongst them contained £1,500 made out to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and then presented the lodge with a Grand Patron’s Certificate which was the first to be given to a lodge in the South Eastern Group. David jokingly suggested he would keep the certificate on account until the cheques were received.
On the first rising, David Durling responded on behalf of the grand officers adding their congratulations and good wishes to those transmitted by David and welcoming Nigel as a ruler of the Craft in the South Eastern Group.
The meeting having ended, a very friendly and buoyant festive board continued into the evening where the responses were plentiful, amusing and thoughtful and Peter Beswick sang a forceful rendition of the master’s song.
David responded to his toast by thanking Peter Beswick for organising the use of The Grange Club, he congratulated the lodge once more for attaining the Grand Patron’s Certificate, remarked on the recent ‘Enough is Enough!’ story recently printed in the press and commented on the happiness of the lodge.
Referring to the lateness of the hour, rounded things off with a quotation from Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go and some whenever they leave.” All the same, the brethren were very happy to have him there and his response was very well received.