Duke of Lancaster lodge No 1353 was honoured to welcome Harry Cox as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master, together with fellow grand officer Keith Kemp, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill and acting Provincial grand officers Les Newlands, Graham Dowling and James Stewart.
Once lodge business had been completed, the director of ceremonies Nigel Parrish announced that Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox was outside the door of the lodge and seeks admission. On entering the lodge, Harry was introduced to the installing master Gordon Brown, who wished him a pleasant afternoon and hoped he enjoyed the installation.
Following the requisite salutations, Gordon, in his valedictory address, thanked the brethren of the lodge for their support, adding humorously ‘we have had some nice times throughout the year and I have thoroughly enjoyed going through the chair again (for the third time), but I will not be back’.
Master elect Alan Long, who had previously taken the chair of the lodge in 2017, was presented by the DC Nigel Parrish, before being installed in an outstandingly sincere and dignified ceremony by outgoing master Gordon. The address to the master was superbly delivered by Ian Kennon, whilst the address to the wardens and the brethren were given with equal skill and sincerity by Bob Tyson and Alan Physick respectively.
The presentation of the working tools of an installed master, was left to that very busy lodge officer, Bob Tyson and those of an entered apprentice were explained by experienced Freemason Malcolm Morrison. However, the working tools of the second and third degrees were in the hands of much newer brethren, with Lee Procter presenting the working tools of a master Mason and David Male those of a fellow craft.
The conclusion of the ceremony marked the opportunity for Harry to bring greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Harry was sure that Tony would have been impressed at the quality of the proceedings and would undoubtedly have wished to specifically congratulate the immediate past master for a job well done. Further thanks were extended to the director and assistant director of ceremonies, Nigel Parrish and Graham Earl respectively for their work today, as well as the brethren who had presented the working tools in such a great manner, it was a credit to them all. In reply to the greetings brought by Harry, Alan answered it was a pleasure and an honour to be in your company today.
Harry was absolutely delighted to receive notice of donations made by the lodge to charity and good causes totalling some £3151.80. The Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival was supported to the sum of £1100, with a further £781.80 collected through the white envelope scheme. Other donations included £500 for Lancaster Masonic Hall, £560 to the lodge widows Christmas gifts etc, £25 Royal British legion, £70 Masonic sporting charities, £115 to group charity raising activities.
Because of the money donated to the MCF 2021 Festival, the lodge were presented a certificate denoting their status as a ‘Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival’, by the group charity steward Simon Hanson.
At the Festival of St John held in the banqueting suite of Rowley Court, Harry was able to offer his own congratulations to all who had contributed to such an excellent occasion. He thanked Alan for again taking on the responsibility of ruling and governing such a distinguished lodge, and complimented the brethren for the tremendous amount donated to charity.
Harry then moved on to appraise the brethren on a number of topics, including the MCF 2021 Festival, Royal Arch, Masonic halls and the on-line learning resource ‘SOLOMON’, which he encouraged all the brethren to use, especially junior members,
Harry also took the opportunity to read a short history of the first 150 years of the lodge’s existence and was impressed by the ‘Loving Cup’ which was passed around full of Port. This cup was first used in 1896.
The toast to the newly installed master saw Graham Earl deliver a charming and often humorous synopsis of Alan’s career and personal details. Nigel Parrish then performed the master’s song with accompaniment by Roy Domville, before Alan responded with gratitude for the support he had received from the immediate past master and the brethren of Duke of Lancaster.
The evening ended with the announcement that £263 had been raised from the raffle, with a further £45 donated from the ‘master’s swindle’.
Article by Paul Thompson.
Photographs by Malcolm Morrison and Paul Thompson.