As the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, the brethren of Runic Lodge No 6019 were delighted to welcome Frank Philip (Phil) Gardner to their installation meeting at Morecambe Masonic Hall, to help them celebrate the installation of Terence (Terry) Nealons into the chair of King Solomon. Phil was accompanied on his visit by fellow grand officers Keith Kemp and Tom Holroyd, Lancaster and District Group Secretary Scott Devine and acting Provincial grand officers Steve Plevey and Stewart Aimson.
The lodge was opened by the WM Ken Needham and his officers, following which the routine business of the evening was conducted. For the ceremony of installation Ken asked Alan Gregory to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Peter Charlton the junior warden’s chair and Malcolm Hayward to continue to occupy the position of inner guard. Ken then called on the presenting officer David Tattersall, who is the lodge organist and assistant director of ceremonies, to place Terry before him. The ceremony of installation which followed was, in Tom Holroyd’s words, ranked amongst the best he had ever seen at Runic Lodge.
After being placed in the chair of King Solomon Terry was presented with the working tools of an installed master in commendable style by Chris Larder, the lodge secretary, followed by excellent explanations of the working tools in the third, second and first degrees by Sam Hodgson, Peter Charlton and Peter Tooze-Froggatt respectively.
Terry appointed his officers for the ensuing year, with a smile and a word of thanks to each and every appointee. To the new lodge treasurer Ken Needham, he went one further and gave him a calculator, which raised a huge laugh from everyone present. The addresses to the new officers were also given; that to the deacons by acting Provincial Junior Grand Deacon Steve Plevey, to the inner guard by the lodge director of ceremonies John Heaton and to the stewards by acting Provincial Grand Steward Stewart Aimson. John Heaton stood again and delivered a memorable address to the newly-installed master. The address to the wardens was given with consummate ease by Ian Stephenson, while the final address, that to the brethren of the lodge, was perfectly delivered by Phil.
At the conclusion of the ceremony of installation Phil stood to offer the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, saying Tony had expressed the wish that Terry and indeed all the brethren would have good health in order to continue enjoying their Freemasonry. Phil went on to say that the Provincial Grand Master’s Masonry had been forged in Morecambe Masonic Hall and had a great fondness for Runic Lodge.
On behalf of the lodge, Ken rose to present Phil with two cheques, one for £450 made payable to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the other for £500 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. In total Masonic donations for the year amounted to £2,026. On behalf of those who would ultimately benefit from such generous disbursements, Phil thanked the brethren.
Following the charity presentation, Terry presented Ken with the past master’s jewel, commenting that he had been a wonderful representative of Runic Lodge during his year in office and that the jewel came with their thanks to mark his year as master, trusting he will wear it with pride. Phil, accompanied by grand and acting Provincial grand officers then retired from the lodge.
After relocating to the Heysham Golf Club to revel in a lively and most enjoyable festive board, Phil in his response to the toast to grand officers expressed his admiration on the quality of the installation ceremony he had witnessed and proffered Ken his congratulations on a job well done, adding: “You made it look easy.”
Particular mention was also made of the brethren who had presented the working tools – they had been wonderful. Phil then moved on to discuss topics concerning charitable giving, the university scheme and the resounding hope that all present would continue to enjoy their Freemasonry, before ending his speech with a fond wish that Terry would have a great year in office and be blessed with the health to enjoy it.
David Tattersall, not satisfied with just presenting the master elect for installation, moved on to proffer the toast to the master with an interesting insight into Terry’s personal and Masonic history. David had been Terry’s proposer into Runic Lodge and he was confident Terry would give 100% in his efforts as master.
The traditional vocal tribute was provided with a fine rendition of the master’s song from George Fox with accompaniment from David Tattersall (you just can’t keep a good man down), before Terry responded by thanking all those who had been involved in the ceremony, especially David Tattersall for all his support since his initiation into Freemasonry.
As is customary in Runic Lodge, the toast to the visitors by the junior warden, Peter Tooze-Froggatt included a version of the traditional visitors’ song. Beginning with just Peter singing solo, with accompaniment from David Tattersall, he was eventually joined by all the members of Runic Lodge in a somewhat rousing but ear-piercing final verse.
Rounding off a splendid evening and due to a bumper raffle, £377 was raised for charity, with a further £75 from the masters’ swindle.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.