Assistant Provincial Grand Master David John Walmsley was delighted with the warm welcome he received when attending the installation meeting of Silverdale Lodge No 6926 as their principal guest. David was accompanied by a large contingent of fellow grand officers, including Norman Thompson, Phil Gardner, Jim Wilson, Keith Kemp, Keith Beaumont, John Robson, Norman Milburn, Malcolm Dewhurst and Peter Mason. The Lancaster and District Group and Vice Chairmen Neil McGill and Scott Devine respectively, were also in attendance, together with acting Provincial grand officers Barrie Bray, Les Newlands, Reg Wilkinson, Graham Dowling, John Pitches and Jim Stewart.
This large host of grand officers, together with a considerable number of lodge members and visiting brethren, meant the small, but beautiful Masonic temple at Silverdale, was full to the brim, leaving little space on the lodge floor for manoeuvre. However, due to the judicious work of the lodge director of ceremonies Alan Procter, the installation ceremony went without a hitch and was a credit to him and all the lodge officers.
Carl Horrax, the installing master, opened the lodge and completed the usual administrative duties. The lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees, following which the DC announced that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Walmsley was without and demanded admission. Under the direction of Alan, David was admitted along with grand and acting Provincial grand officers in true ceremonial style. Carl welcomed David and all the dignitaries saying he hoped they had a ‘lovely afternoon’ and then proceeded to offer David the gavel of the lodge, which he initially accepted, but whilst thanking Carl for the ‘warm welcome’ he added that as he was not at any of the rehearsals, he would offer it back for safe keeping.
Following the customary salutations, master elect Anthony John Dickinson was presented by Anthony Woof Jackson, before he was installed in the chair of King Solomon according to ancient custom and with all due reverence. It was in fact the fourth time Anthony Dickinson had been installed as WM, but it was his first time in Silverdale Lodge.
After assuming the master’s chair, there followed a superb rendition of the working tools of an installed master by Peter Mason, followed by David Jackson, John Gunson and Darren Holden giving equally impressive presentations of the working tools in the third, second and first degrees respectively. The address to the master was given by Tony Woof Jackson, to the wardens by Stephen Fox and the all important address to the brethren by John Robson.
The conclusion of the installation ceremony marked the opportunity for David to bring the greetings and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. On behalf of the PrGM, David congratulated Anthony for being installed as master of this fine lodge and then took to the floor of the lodge to congratulate Carl for the excellent manner in which he had conducted himself throughout the ceremony. David finished by repeating Tony’s refrain that he hoped we all continue to enjoy our Freemasonry.
At this juncture, it was the turn of the Assistant Group Charity Steward Andrew McClements to rise and present the lodge with a ‘Grand Patron’s Certificate’, in honour of the money the lodge had raised towards the MCF 2021 Festival. David was expansive in his praise for the effort taken to collect such a large sum of money and thanked everyone on behalf of the eventual recipients.
Following the completion of the ceremony the brethren relocated to the impressive banqueting suite at Silverdale Golf Club, were an excellent four course banquet was served. Responding to the toast to the grand officers, David was able to offer his own personal congratulations to Anthony on attaining the chair of King Solomon and in the pleasure he had derived from being able to attend the installation at Silverdale Lodge for the first time, a lodge he added he had passed many times over the years during his sojourns to the district whilst on holiday.
In particular, he wanted to congratulate all the brethren appointed and invested today and hoped they had a successful year in office. Praise was also proffered for the hard work undertaken by installing master Carl Horrax, the DC Alan Proctor and the secretary Chris Brown in making sure the ceremony went as smooth as possible.
Moving the focus to charitable giving, David thanked the lodge again for their staunch support of the MCF 2021 Festival and congratulated them again on achieving ‘Grand Patron’ status.
David then went on to speak about the benefits of membership of the Royal Arch and how this is the foundation for all the other degrees in Masonry. However, he did feel that he was speaking to the converted, as it was apparent by just looking at the precept, the majority of members of Silverdale Lodge were already in the Royal Arch.
Tony Woof Jackson entertainingly proposed the toast to the health of the new master Anthony, following which there was a fine rendition of the master’s song by Simon Almond, with accompaniment from Peter Wood, the lodge honorary organist.
After Anthony had responded to his toast with a sincere thanks to all, it was announced the raffle had raised the tremendous sum of £388, with a further £45 raised through the ‘masters swindle’.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.