The brethren of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge No 8348 and their guests assembled at Wyrebank, Garstang, to enjoy witnessing Frank Hogarth being installed in the chair of King Solomon. It was Frank’s second time in the master’s chair of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge and the ceremony throughout was conducted in a warm and sympathetic manner.
The lodge was delighted to welcome as their principal guest Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson, who was representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison in his position as group chairman for the final time, due to his imminent retirement from that post.
Jim was accompanied on this auspicious occasion by grand officers Malcolm Worsley, Tom Holroyd, Wallace Lockett and Raymond Firth. Also supporting Jim were the group secretary and assistant secretary Scott Devine and Chris Larder respectively, together with acting Provincial grand officer Steve Plevey.
On completion of the necessary business items, the director of ceremonies Alan Brown retired and, on his return, announced that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master seeks admission. The WM David Christopherson, warmly welcomed Jim to St Michaels on Wyre Lodge and hoped he had a wonderful evening. In his reply, Jim thanked the WM for his earnest welcome, adding: ”In my position as chairman I had picked this installation, which should tell you that I am delighted to be here.”
Following the presentation of the master elect by Malcolm Rowlandson, there then followed an excellent example of Masonic ritual as David placed Frank in to the master’s chair in a very notable and sincere manner.
After taking the master’s chair, Frank was presented with the explanation of the working tools of an installed master in exemplary fashion by Bernard Snape. The working tools of a master Mason, fellow craft and entered apprentice were all delivered in fine style by Brian Stoddart, Kevin Rawcliffe (himself a fellow craft Freemason) and David Williamson respectively.
The addresses were of a similar high order, that given to the master was by John Holmes, to the wardens by Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden Peter Pemberton, whilst the address to the brethren was superbly orated by Jim. Appropriately, the addresses to the lodge deacons was given by acting Provincial Grand Deacon Steve Plevey.
The conclusion of the ceremony afforded the opportunity for Jim to bring the greetings and good wishes of the PrGM. Jim was sure that Tony would have wanted to congratulate Frank for once again taking the chair of this fine lodge and would have undoubtedly taken the opportunity to thank David, not just for the work in the lodge today but over the full year. Jim expressed admiration on learning that the total charitable disbursements made by the lodge totalled £4,567. The beneficiaries of the lodges generosity included Garstang Masonic Hall £1,000, the WM nominated charity MIND £2,020, MCF 2021 Festival £378, lodge widows £355, St Michael’s on Wyre Church £237, Pilling Silver Jubilee Band £200, Garstang Masonic Fellowship £150, WLFC £127 and the Masonic sporting charities £100. On behalf of the eventual recipients, Jim thanked the brethren of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge.
Before Jim resumed his seat, Frank, on behalf of the brethren, asked him would he please accept honorary membership of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge. Jim answered he would deem it an honour and thanked the lodge most sincerely.
At the festival of St John held in the magnificent Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, Jim was able to offer his own sincere congratulations to all who had contributed to such an excellent occasion. Jim observed that the lodge had experienced a good year and that it was now Frank’s turn to keep it going from strength to strength and hoped it would be a memorable year for him.
In thanking the lodge for the generosity of its charitable giving, Jim made particular mention of the support shown for the MCF 2021 Festival and also for the Masonic hall. He thanked the brethren for their support of the festival and for those who were yet to do so, he asked them to seriously consider it. Jim was delighted to see the support given to the Masonic hall, as the halls maintenance was of the upmost importance.
Further topics discussed were the relaunch of the Three Columns Club and the significance of the Royal Arch within Freemasonry.
In conclusion, Jim thanked Steve Plevey for his support as an acting officer, as well as the lodge secretary and the DC for all their assistance. Jim reiterated his pleasure in receiving honorary membership of the lodge, it had certainly been a high point in his career.
The toast to the master was given by IPM David, who concentrated on a brief but very interesting history of Frank’s life. Following a fine rendition of the master’s song by John Darrell, Frank responded to his toast with equal measures of humour and sincerity and in the process thanked the IPM for the sincere way he had been installed into the master’s chair.
To complete the evening, the combined total of charitable giving and the raffle raised £597 and the master’s swindle a further £50. One further matter of interest was the presentation of a master’s lapel badge to Frank, by the ‘Masters and Wardens Mess’. As a badge of honour, he is expected to wear it at all times and if found without it, he would be fined, the money raised going to charity.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.