The brethren and visitors of Lancaster Castle Lodge No 5952 were delighted to receive Provincial Junior Grand Warden Paul Storrar to their installation ceremony to witness James (Jim) Hamilton being proclaimed as master of the lodge. Jim was first in the chair of Lancaster Castle Lodge in 2001 and having completed a successful year in 2018-19 had decided to stay in the chair for one more year to help the lodge.
The routine business of the lodge being dealt with, the proclamation ceremony commenced with the DC Richard Holdstock retiring from the lodge for a short while and then returning to announce the Paul Storrar was out side the door of the lodge and sought admission. Paul was escorted into the lodge room accompanied by Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, grand officer Phil Gardner and Jim Wilson, together with acting Provincial grand officers Alan Hilton, Terry Ridal and David Ingham.
Welcoming Paul to Lancaster Castle Lodge, Jim hoped that he would have an excellent day. In response, Paul remarked that he was very much looking forward to the meeting as he knew a lot of effort had been put in to make it run smoothly.
The installation commenced and the immediate past master John Clare rose and by proclamation, announced that Jim was to remain as WM for the following year.
The subsequent delivery of the working tools were confidently delivered by John Stanley in the third degree, Thomas Wilkinson in the second and Mark Furnival in the first degree.
The ceremony having been completed, Paul rose once more to bring the greetings, congratulations and good wishes for a happy, healthy and enjoyable year ahead from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Paul said that had Tony been present he would have been very impressed and congratulated Jim on his past year as master and his stamina in continuing for a further year,
In response, Jim thanked Paul for the very kind wishes from the PrGM and said he was happy to retain the master’s chair for yet another year and was pleased at that point to offer Paul an envelope complete with charitable donations.
Paul, having sought the master’s permission revealed the contents of the envelopes, which were donations to the MCF 2021 Festival totalling £2711 (which includes white envelope contributions), £75 to the Lodge Widows, £1000 to Lancaster Masonic Hall and £100 to the group Masonic charities, making a grand total of £3886.
At the festive board, which was held in the banqueting suite of the Masonic hall, Lancaster, Paul brought his own congratulations to Jim, wishing him good health for the year ahead and congratulating John Clare as the proclaiming master, ably assisted by Richard Holdstock as Lodge DC and the officers of the lodge.
A very amusing toast to the master was given by Peter Wiltshire, a long-standing friend of Jim’s, which was followed, as is traditional by the master’s song, confidently sung by Gary Rogerson, vice chairman of the Furness group, with accompaniment from David Tattersall.
Jim responded to his toast with his usual humour and in thanking John Clare for his efforts, remarked that the “ceremony today John was short and to the point, just like yourself”, which brought a great cheer from his audience. He then proceeded to praise John for his valuable contributions to the lodge since becoming a joining member.
An excellent evening was rounded off with the raffle which had raised the staggering sum of £705. An extra £35 was raised via the master’s swindle.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.