The brethren of City of Lancaster lodge No 281 were delighted to give a very warm welcome to Christopher (Chris) Butterfield as their principal guest. Chris is a member and the current treasurer of the lodge and it was a great honour for him to be able to represent the Provincial Grand Master at his own lodge.
Chris was very pleased to be accompanied by the Lancaster and District Group Vice Chairman Scott Devine, group secretary Chris Larder and acting Provincial grand officers Reg Wilkinson, Les Newlands, Barrie Bray, Graham Dowling, James Stewart and Darren Gregory.
Master-elect Adrian Wells, whose previous tenure as a master was with the John O’Gaunt Lodge No 3815 in 1999, was presented by Anthony Gregg, before being installed in a sincere and dignified ceremony by outgoing master Geoff Careless. City of Lancaster Lodge was formed by the amalgamation of the former Fortitude Lodge No 281 and John O’Gaunt lodges in 2006 and Adrian has been the lodges DC since its formation 12 years ago. However, his tenure as WM will not last long, as the lodge is in the process of moving their installation meetings to the month of October and so their next installation meeting is only eight months away (subject to a change in the by-laws being approved).
After assuming the chair of King Solomon, Adrian was presented with explanations of the working tools. Those of a fellowcraft were presented by the lodge secretary Andrew Ridal, but the working tools of a master Mason (Josh Sendall) and an entered apprentice (Louis Mabe), were in the hands of much newer brethren. Both presentations were of the highest calibre, but Louis, who has only recently joined the lodge through the ‘University Scheme’, was exceptionally cool under pressure and conducted himself with honour.
The address to the wardens was by John Stanley and that to the brethren by John Stedman. Whilst both addresses were given with skill and sincerity, the address to the brethren was rather different to the one you would normally hear at an installation and is a reflection of John’s background as an Essex Mason.
On the conclusion of the ceremony, Chris rose to offer congratulations and best wishes from the PrGM Tony Harrison to all the participants. Chris was most effusive in his praise for both installing master Geoff, as well as the stand in DC for the installation Andrew Ridal, who had at least 24 hours’ notice that he would have to assume that role, no pressure then. Additionally, Chris announced that he had been specifically instructed to communicate Tony’s best wishes to everyone in attendance and that he hoped they had a good year. After being presented with a number of cheques and a list of disbursements made throughout the year in aid of charity, Chris was fulsome in his praise, commenting that these were wonderful donations from such a relatively small lodge. The beneficiaries of the lodge’s generosity were the MCF 2021 Festival £200, British Heart Foundation £500, Alzheimer’s Society £500, St Johns Hospice £300 and the Air Ambulance £50.
At the appropriate moment, Geoff was presented with the lodge’s past master’s jewel. It was first worn by John Pittaway the first IPM of John o’Gaunt Lodge in 1918. Following his death in 1952 the jewel became lost, but was rediscovered in 1990 and during restoration its history was revealed. The lodge then decided that it would be very appropriate if all IPMs of the lodge were to wear the jewel for one year before presenting it to their successor – a tradition that has continued following amalgamation, up to the present day.
At the Festival of St John held in the Rowley Court banqueting suite, Chris had the opportunity to offer congratulations on his own behalf to all who had taken part in a wonderful ceremony.
In drawing the attention of his audience to current Masonic issues, he elaborated on topics such as the MCF 2021 Festival, asking those brethren present to encourage those Masons they came across, who aren’t wearing a festival jewel, to consider a pledge to the festival. He also mentioned the main fund-raising event for the 2021 Festival this year, the ‘Night of the Stars’ concert in Blackpool on the 6 April and hoped as many as possible would attend. Also discussed was the Royal Arch. We all need to consider ourselves as membership officers and point non-members in the direction of the lodge Royal Arch contact, who should be able to answer any questions they may have.
Anthony Gregg, who has known Adrian since their the time spent as members of John O’ Gaunt Lodge, restricted his speech to an interesting but brief history of the new WM’s personal and Masonic career. Of particular note, was that Adrian had been fortunate to be honoured by being initiated into Masonry by his father in 1991.
Following Adrian’s reply to his toast, it was announced that the raffle had raised £185, with a further £30 donated through the master’s swindle.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.