It was a special night for the new master of Wyreside Lodge No 2605, Ronald James Rich (Ron), as he again occupied the chair of King Solomon, having first done so in 2106.
The occasion was honoured by the presence of its principal guest and representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Senior Grand Warden John Karran. John was delighted on this occasion to be supported by grand officers Harry Cox, Jim Wilson and Peter Greathead, as well as Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, group vice-chairman Scott Devine, group secretary Chris Larder and acting Provincial grand officers Gordon Smith, Les Newlands, Graham Dowling, James Stewart and John Pitches.
Having completed lodge business, the director of ceremonies Steve Jennings retired from the lodge and on his return announced that PrSGW stands without and seeks admission. On entering the lodge John was warmly welcomed by the retiring WM Daniel Crossley, to which John replied that it was wonderful to be here and was looking forward to an enjoyable evening, adding that it was only his second time as a representative of the PrGM, “so please be gentle with me”.
Master elect Ron was presented for installation by David Wright and having given his assent to the ancient charges of an installed master and taken the obligation, he was placed in the chair of Wyreside Lodge by the installing master Daniel Crossley. After taking the master’s chair, Ron was presented with excellent explanations of the working tools by Paul Seacy (third degree), David Wright (second degree) and Mathew Crossley (first degree), all of which were of the highest calibre.
Following the appointment of the lodge officers, newly installed master Ron, received the traditional address to the master from the lodge secretary Stephen McClintock. It had been a busy week for Stephen as only the previous evening he had installed Jim Wilson in the master’s chair of Plantagenet Lodge No 9357 and had given the same address to Jim, on both occasions he performed in an exemplary manner. The address to the wardens was admirably given by John Smith and that to the brethren was performed with measured eloquence by John Karran.
The end of the ceremony of installation marked the opportunity for John Karran to bring the best wishes and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. John said that if Tony had been present, he would have been delighted with the ceremony, which had been ‘first class’. He felt sure Tony would have congratulated both the IPM Daniel Crossley and the brethren who had undertaken the presentation of thee working tools, they had all performed splendidly.
Ron, having asked John to return both thanks and warm salutations to Tony from the lodge, it was the turn of Daniel to stand and present John with a list of charitable disbursements totalling the unbelievable sum of £5920. The MCF 2021 Festival received £1500, entitling Wyreside Lodge to receive Grand Patronage of the Festival, an outstanding achievement. Other donations included Garstang Masonic Hall £1000, Garstang Masonic Fellowship £200, Masonic sporting Charities £100, Group Ball £20, Access Counselling £1900, Neuro Drop In, Lancaster £1000 (for people affected by neurological conditions) and Scorton School Carol Singers £200.
At the subsequent festive board, held in the superb Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, conversation was lively and animated with everyone enjoying the occasion to the full. In his response to the toast to the health of Provincial grand officers, John gave his own congratulations to the new master and affirmed his admiration for the fine standard of work that he had witnessed earlier in the lodge room, especially those brethren who had undertaken to present the working tools.
John drew the attention of issues surrounding the Royal Arch, particularly recruitment, the WLFC and its promotion of PSA testing, SOLOMON the new on-line learning facility and Masonic Halls.
Prior to the distinguished guests taking their leave, Daniel Crossley gave a very eloquent toast to the new WM, highlighting some of Ron’s personnel history. The master’s song was performed by Robert Tinsley with accompaniment by David Brown. In responding to both the toast and musical tribute, Ron gave his thanks to all who had both participated and attended the installation.
As the evening drew to a close, it was announced that the raffle held at the festive board raised a further £375 for deserving causes with a further £65 added through the ‘master’s swindle’.
As the brethren left for home, many will remember a very special night in a very friendly and happy lodge.
Article and photos by Paul Thompson