Poulton le Sands Lodge No 1051, held their annual installation ceremony at Morecambe Masonic Hall and were delighted to welcome as their principal guest Christopher (Chris) Charles Butterfield.
Joining Chris at the meeting, which saw WM Mike Ashton install his successor Nigel John Norris into the chair, were the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who is a member of the lodge, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson, Keith Kemp, Tom Holroyd, Philip Gardner and Malcolm Alexander, together with acting Provincial grand officers David Kenworthy, Steve Plevey, Craig Williams and Stewart Aimson.
Having completed the necessary lodge business, the lodge director of ceremonies Keith Dorrington entered the lodge room to announce that the PrGM stands without and demands admission. Tony was warmly welcomed by the WM Mike Ashton, who as tradition dictates, offered Tony the gavel of the lodge, which he politely declined, wishing the WM and brethren good luck with the installation. Tony then introduced the lodge’s principal guest Chris to the WM, before they both took their rightful places in the lodge.
Upon commencement of the proceedings, master elect Nigel, was presented for installation by John Long, who was his seconder into Freemasonry. Nigel’s proposer was his good friend Peter Sykes, who sadly passed away in 2016.
Having been installed into the chair of King Solomon in a dignified and assured manner by Mike, the new WM was presented with commendable explanations of the working tools of the third, second and first degrees by Mark Laverty, Malcolm Lowe and Aaron Mayers respectively. Aaron is the youngest member of Poulton Le Sands Lodge and conducted himself with particular dignity.
Maintaining the quality of the presentations, the address to the master was given by Keith Dorrington and that to the wardens by Brian Milner. The address to the brethren of the lodge was presented by Chris Butterfield, in an exemplary manner.
Following the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Chris rose to convey the greetings and best wishes of the PrGM and congratulated Nigel on attaining the master’s chair. Given that Tony was in attendance, Chris asked him to continue bringing his own congratulations. Tony particularly stressed that the WM should enjoy his year and wished him good health and a busy year ahead. There was also praise for the immediate past master Mike, for all his good work and also for the three brethren who had delivered the working tools.
Nigel thanked both Tony and Chris for their kind words, before the immediate past master Mike, presented Tony with a number of generous lodge disbursements made to charity and good causes, which included, WLFC (including gift aid) £1,000, MCF 2021 Festival (including white envelope scheme) £2,514, Morecambe Masonic Hall Building Fund £500, Masonic sporting charities £110, MTSFC £280, group whisky draw £100, group walk £160, St John’s Hospice £420, Air Cadets £400, Lancaster Renal Support £700, British Heart Foundation £600, Morecambe RNLI £300, Duddon Inshore Rescue £141 and Cancer Care £500. Tony thanked the brethren for the amazing amount they had raised for charity and then presented the lodge with a certificate confirming their status as a Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival.
At the festival of St John held at the Heysham Golf Club, the brethren enjoyed a superb celebratory banquet, at which Chris was able to offer his own personal congratulations to all who had taken part in such a fantastic occasion. Chris thanked all the grand officers who had accompanied him today, especially Tony. He also thanked Jim Wilson for all the support he had given him over the last 10 years and wished him well on his retirement as the chairman of the group.
Congratulations also went to both Mike for all his work today and for his commitment to the Blood Bikes Charity in his spare time and to the junior brethren who had presented the working tools, adding it shows the lodge has a good future ahead. Chris went on to comment that the lodge had made good use of the members ‘Pathway Project’, to attract, retain and add value to the future of new members and it shows. Chris had been coming to the Poulton Le Sands Lodge since 1993 and was proud to see it going from strength to strength.
Chris finished his address by discussing that vibrant and stimulating degree, the Royal Arch, adding we need to encourage new brethren to join, as it is the completion of their journey through the Craft, in effect the fourth step in Freemasonry.
Following the toast to PrGM, Tony stood to reply and said simply: “Thank you,” then sat down again, to the amusement of all present.
The master’s song was performed by John Atkinson, with musical accompaniment by David Tattersall. Before leaving the festive board at the end of the evening, the WM presented Chris, on behalf of the lodge, with a beautiful bouget of flowers for his wife. The evening’s raffle raised the magnificent total of £631, with an extra £65 generated through the ‘masters swindle’.
Article by Paul Thompson.
Photographs courtesy of Stewart Aimson.