Stephen (Steve) Graham McClintock was installed into the chair of Plantagenet Lodge of Installed Masters No 9357 to become, not only its 28th master, but also the youngest Mason to take the chair of this distinguished and honourable lodge.
The principal guest at the installation meeting held at Wyrebank, Garstang, was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David John Winder, who was accompanied by a striking array of grand and Provincial grand officers, which included Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson, grand officers Philip Gardner, Christopher Butterfield, Peter Mason and Christopher Band. The installation was also enhanced by the presence of group vice chairman and group secretary Neil McGill and Scott Devine respectively, as well as acting Provincial grand officers Phil Preston, Clive Gitsham, Steve Plevey, David Cole, Phil burrow, Stewart Aimson and Keith Halligan. In addition, the Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Peter Schofield and vice chairman Gary Rogerson were also in attendance.
After the lodge was opened by the outgoing master Doug Willoughby, Steve was presented as master elect by the lodge director of ceremonies Steve Jennings, before Doug, ably assisted by the officers of the lodge, proceeded to install him as master for the ensuing year, in a ceremony that was noteworthy for the self-assurance portrayed by the installing master Doug, in the delivery of his ritual, which was almost word perfect.
Following explanations of the working tools by David Shaw (third degree), Robert Stafford (second degree) and Stewart Aimson (first degree) and the usual investiture of lodge officers, the address to the new WM was presented by Doug Willoughby, that to the wardens by Brian Milner and the address to the brethren of the lodge by David Winder, with all being confidently delivered by their hosts.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, David brought the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and congratulated Steve on attaining the chair, adding that he knows the lodge will be in good hands and wished him a super year in office. Special mention was made of installing master Doug, in what for David was a ‘wonderful, wonderful example of ritual done in a delightful way – just excellent’.
Before taking to the floor of the lodge to congratulate those who had taken part in the ceremony, David made special mention of Jim Wilson, who was retiring as group chairman after 10 years of service, to be succeeded by Neil McGill. He wished them both well for the future. David’s ‘walk about’ was very much appreciated by those who received his praise, making sure he missed none who had given their efforts to ensure a successful ceremony.
One final duty for Doug to perform was the presentation of a cheque for £500 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, for which David, on behalf of the eventual recipients of the donated funds, was extremely grateful.
On retiring to the banqueting hall, the festive board provided good food, fellowship and a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout the evening. The meal completed, David in his reply to the toast to the health of the grand officers, was able to offer his own personal greetings and congratulations to the master, officers and brethren of the lodge. David commenced his address by acknowledging the ‘galaxy of colleagues’ who had accompanied him today and none more so than ‘the spitfire of the north, David Grainger – he gets around’ to which comment there was a roar of laughter from the brethren.
Moving on to the body of his speech, he thanked the brethren for their warm welcome and Jim Wilson in particular for inviting him to the group. In the process David restated his best wishes to Jim on his forthcoming retirement and also congratulated Neil McGill and Scott Devine on their promotions to chairman and vice chairman respectively.
Congratulations were also proffered to Steve for attaining the master’s chair and to Doug, not only for his work today but for all the work he has done in the last year. David’s last round of thanks went to the acting Provincial grand officers who had accompanied him today, describing them as a ‘wonderful team’.
This last phrase gave David the link to his next topic, remarking that he was delighted to see so many brethren wearing the new team colours of the Province – the festival jewel. For David, supporting the festival should be our first priority and we can have one of the jewels for just 25 pence per day over the length of the remaining festival period.
Moving on, David noted that wearing our team colours is ‘part and parcel of being more open about our Masonry and having a brighter outlook. Gone are the days, he suggests, of hiding our light under a bushel, if we do not tell people how good it is, then who will. David’s rallying cry is: “Be bold-brave-be open”.
David was also delighted to see many of the brethren wearing Royal Arch jewels, in his words, a most colourful and enthralling degree. In conclusion he wished everyone the best of health, adding: “Look after your body, you know it’s the only place you can live in.”
The toast to the newly installed master was proposed in a sincere and heartfelt manner by the vice chairman designate Scott. In his response, Steve thanked all those brethren who had worked so hard to make it an excellent ceremony. For Steve it was a great honour to be asked to be master and was very grateful to the lodge for putting their confidence in him.
The evening ended with Phil Gardner presenting the outgoing master Doug, with a specially hand turned miniature gavel on an inscribed stand, to mark his year in office. This unique item has been presented as a symbolic souvenir, to every past master of the lodge in lieu of a past-masters jewel, since its foundation in 1990.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.