“A privilege to witness an excellent installation ceremony.” These were the words of the Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson when bringing greetings on behalf of the grand officers in the lodge room at Morecambe Masonic Hall and they encompass the overall feeling of all who witnessed this impressive ceremony. The brethren of Morecambe Lodge No 1561 were delighted to welcome Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger as the principal guest to their installation meeting. David was equally delighted to have the support of Jim Wilson and the group vice chairman Neil McGill, together with grand officer Thomas Holroyd and acting Provincial grand officers Steve Plevey, Dave Cole, Philip Burrow, Keith Halligan, Dave Rigby and Stewart Aimson.
On completion of the necessary business items, the director of ceremonies Peter Jackson retired and on his return announced that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master stood without and demanded admission. Master of the lodge Maxwell (Max) Yates warmly welcomed David into the lodge and hoped he had an enjoyable afternoon and evening. On being offered the gavel of the lodge David sensibly declined, adding that his mother always told him it was better to give than to receive, so he would give the gavel straight back, creating much amusement amongst the brethren. The master elect Ian Leslie Macluskie was presented by the lodge charity steward Roy Norman, before being installed in the chair of King Solomon in textbook fashion by the installing master Max Yates.
After taking the master’s chair, Ian was presented with outstanding explanations of the working tools. The working tools of a master Mason were delivered by Marian Korzeniowski, the working tools of a fellow craft by Mark Swanepoel and the first degree working tools by Michael Sweetman. Continuing with the same high standard, the address to the newly-installed master was given by Frederick Schofield, the address to the wardens by the lodge’s assistant director of ceremonies Bryan Cambidge and the address to the brethren by the lodge chaplain Geoffrey Wilman.
The conclusion of the ceremony afforded the opportunity for David to bring the greetings and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. David was sure that Tony would have wanted to congratulate Ian on taking the chair of this fine lodge and would have undoubtedly taken the opportunity to thank Max, not just for the work in the lodge on the day but over the full year. David expressed both gratitude and admiration on learning that the total charitable disbursements made by the lodge totalled £4,097. Amongst the beneficiaries of the lodge’s generosity was the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, who received £2,131; this included money collected from the white gift aid envelope scheme and a donation of £1,500 from the lodge. This allowed David to present Morecambe Lodge with the MCF 2021 Festival Patron’s certificate, having already received a vice patron’s certificate on a previous occasion, thus acknowledging the tremendous efforts the lodge has made since the Festival began.
Other recipients of the lodge’s generosity were the Provincial raffle £110, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £361, Masonic sporting charities £95, St Johns Hospice £900 and Child Flight £500. David thanked the brethren of Morecambe Lodge, on behalf of the eventual recipients of the money, adding such generosity can only make the lives of those in need that much easier.
The very well attended festival of St John was held at Morecambe Golf Club, where the brethren were in receipt of excellent food and service. David Grainger, responding to the toast to the grand officers, was very pleased to have the opportunity to offer his own personal congratulations to the master, the immediate past master and to all who had contributed to making the occasion such a successful and happy one. David then went on to discuss a number of topics which the Provincial Grand Master wanted bringing to the notice of the brethren. The most important subject was the MCF 2021 Festival and the importance of our continuing support. Morecambe Lodge was a good example of that support, given the £3,000 they have contributed to the MCF 2021 Festival since its launch.
David then moved on to discuss the ‘Light Blue Clubs’ whose aim was to provide social and relaxed contact amongst the light blue members of our organisation and would certainly recommend any light blue brother present to join the Lancaster and District Masonic Group light blue club, called the Three Columns.
One further important topic was Tony’s wish that we continue to push forward the interests of the Royal Arch by encouraging non-Royal Arch Masons to join, not forgetting that we should not pressurise brethren to join unless they are ready.
Rounding off his speech, David thanked Jim Wilson and Neil McGill for their support and concluded by praising the six acting Provincial grand officers who had accompanied him, as they were an example to all the other groups in the Province on how to approach the role of acting officers.
A very interesting toast to the master was given by Roy Norman, who concentrated on a brief synopsis of Ian’s personal and Masonic history. Following a fine rendition of the master’s song by Malcolm Brown, there came a touching response by Ian to his toast, relaying to the brethren present that being welcomed into Morecambe Lodge was just like being welcomed home and thanked everyone for their support.
To complete the evening, the raffle raised £415, with a further £40 from the masters’ swindle.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.