Brethren of Scorton Lodge No 5791 were honoured to welcome Alan Jones, who as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master, was the principal guest for the evening at their annual installation meeting held at Wyrebank, Garstang. Alan was accompanied on this occasion by the Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, the group vice chairman Scott Devine and acting Provincial grand officers Les Newlands and Graham Dowling.
The first installation of the new Masonic season in the Lancaster and District Group, saw Stephen Parker take the chair of Scorton Lodge for the third time, the first being in 2005 and again in 2010. Once the installing officers were in place, the WM Harry Parker thanked the members of the lodge for their support in what had been an excellent year.
Following the presentation by Brian Clark of the master elect, there then followed a first-rate example of Masonic ritual as Harry placed Stephen into the master’s chair in a very distinguished and sincere manner.
After taking the chair of King Solomon, Stephen was presented with explanations of the working tools in an excellent manner by three relatively junior brethren, bringing much commendation from both officers and brethren. The working tools of a master Mason were delivered by Andy McClements, the working tools of a fellow craft by Adrian Walker and the first degree working tools by Jimmy Greer. The addresses were of a similar high order; that given to the master was by Arthur Ashcroft, that to the wardens was delivered by Richard Parker, whilst the address to the brethren was superbly orated by Alan Jones.
The conclusion of the ceremony afforded the opportunity for Alan to bring the greetings and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Alan was sure that Tony would have wanted to congratulate Stephen on taking the chair of this fine lodge and would have undoubtedly taken the opportunity to thank Harry, not just for the work in the lodge today but over the full year. Alan expressed both gratitude and admiration on learning that the total charitable disbursements made by the lodge totalled over £6,000. The beneficiaries of the lodge’s generosity included £500 each to Derian House (children’s hospice in Chorley), Croston House (Cancer Care in Garstang) and St John’s Hospice (Lancaster). £1,000 to Garstang Masonic Hall Refurbishment Fund, £2,075 to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society, £400 to Thumbs Up Charlie, £425 to WLFC and £956.15 to MCF 2021 Festival white envelope scheme, collected in the lodge over the year.
The money collected for Thumbs Up Charlie was in aid of a local two-year-old boy, Charlie Robinson, who needed to raise £100,000 for a brain tumour operation and specialist follow-up treatment in Germany. Charlie is the grandson of David Catterall of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge No 8348 and chairman of the board at Wyrebank, Garstang. David, who attended the ceremony, thanked the lodge for its generous support and was able to give an update on Charlie’s progress. Of further interest, was the £1,460, raised by the installing WM’s wife Freda Parker, as part of the money donated to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society. Freda achieved this by jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet!!
At the festive board, held in the banqueting suite of Wyrebank, Alan responded to the toast to the health of the grand officers by welcoming the opportunity to bring his own congratulations to the new WM and all those who had been appointed to the offices within the lodge. He noted that it was impressive to see so many ‘light blues’ invested and particularly expressed his admiration for the performance given by the talented trio who had explained the working tools.
Alan moved on to expand upon the issues that are at the forefront of the Provincial Grand Master’s agenda, namely the MCF 2021 Festival, his hope that Royal Arch membership will be considered as the logical next step for all new master Masons and the continuing need for lodges to focus on the needs of their local Masonic halls when making charitable donation decisions.
Alan also stressed that the WLFC was not suffering from the effects of the MCF 2021 Festival and that it had made advanced contingency plans to offset the reduction in income during the Festive period. In reality, he assured the brethren, the MCF now provides a far larger share of support financially to claimants and that as a result the WLFC is seeing a reduction in the call upon its services.
An interesting toast to the master was given by the immediate past master Harry Parker, followed by a fine rendition of the master’s song by Bob Tinsley, with accompaniment by Keith Jackson. To complete the evening, the raffle raised a further £596 towards good causes.
Article written by Paul Thompson.
Photographs courtesy of George Fox