The installation meeting of Torrisholme Lodge No 5245 attracted much praise from Assistant Provincial Grand Master Frank Umbers, when he attended as the principal guest and witnessed what he described ‘an excellent ceremony’, as performed by Brian Waddington when placing his successor Anthony Gregg into the chair of the lodge.
Frank was accompanied on this occasion by the Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, as well as the group vice chairman Scott Devine and group secretary Chris Larder. Also in attendance were fellow grand officers Phil Gardner, Chris Butterfield and Nicholas Waller, together with acting Provincial grand officer Graham Dowling.
In keeping with a long-established tradition, the current masters of Morecambe Lodge No 1561, Heysham Lodge No 4108 and Poulton Le Sands Lodge No 1051 were called upon to occupy the principal installing officers’ posts.
Following the required salutations, Adrian Wells presented Anthony Gregg for installation, before the installing master Brian Waddington placed Anthony into the chair of the lodge in a most dignified and faultless manner. Anthony was taking the chair of a lodge for the fourth time, having previously been master in John O Gaunt Lodge No 3815 in years 2000 and 2004 and City of Lancaster lodge No 281 in 2010.
After assuming the chair of King Solomon, new master Anthony was presented with an ex-planation of the working tools of an installed master by experienced Freemason Brian Dewhurst, followed by admirable explanations of the working tools in each degree by three relatively new Masons. Mark Ormerod explained those in the third degree, Paul Marshall those in the second, with John Fretwell completing the set with a fine performance of the first degree tools.
Superb addresses to the master and the wardens were delivered by Brian Townson and Richard Routledge respectively, whilst the address to the brethren was rendered with a particularly profound inference by Frank Umbers, which was much appreciated and admired by all present.
On completion of the ceremony, Frank rose to give the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and professed that had he been present, he would have been absolutely delighted by the manner in which Anthony had been installed by the immediate past master and the excellence of the work of all those who had participated in the ceremony.
Frank was delighted to receive a cheque for £1500 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, with which magnificent sum the lodge was now entitled to become a ’Patron’ of the festival. It was Frank’s great pleasure to present the lodge with a certificate acknowledging their status. Further disbursements were also announced including a further £572 for the MCF 2021 Festival (collected from the white envelope scheme), £200 WLFC, £250 Breast Cancer Research, £250 St John’s Hospice and £400 Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
At the Festival of St John, held in a very bright and cheerful banqueting suite at Morecambe Masonic Hall, Frank was able to bring to the brethren his own greetings and congratulations and extensively praised the standard of work delivered during the ceremony and then apprised the assembly of the various topics that are being promoted by the Province. Starting with ‘membership’, Frank wanted to concentrate on one part of that subject which is ‘retention’. It as of the upmost importance that we manage the expectations of new members, understand what they want from our organisation and seek to look after them. It was fantastic news, Frank said, that the lodge is getting so many new members, seven in total and wished them lodge every success.
Moving on, Frank discussed the need to continue supporting the MCF 2021 Festival and mentioning in the process the ‘Night with the Stars’ production, which is in support of the festival. Mention was also made of the creation of a West Lancashire rugby team, which he hoped everyone would support.
Concluding, Frank reiterated his delight at being at Torrisholme Lodge and would like to thank everyone for their very warm welcome, it had been a great night.
The toast to the newly installed master saw Jimmy Nisbett deliver an interesting and often humorous summation of Anthony’s career and personal details. John Bates then performed the master’s song with accompaniment by John Heaton, before Anthony responded with gratitude for the many good wishes and congratulations he had received.
The evening concluded with an announcement that the raffle at the festive board had raised £318.20p. A further charitable donation of £40.00 was raised through the traditional ‘masters swindle’.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.