Well, what a grand affair over in Leyland: there were two Provincial Grand Masters, a Deputy Provincial Grand Master, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, two Provincial Grand Wardens, a Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, three Assistant Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies, two Provincial Grand Stewards and three grand officers. It was the annual installation ceremony at Euxton Lodge No 7192 where George Askins was to be installed into the chair of the lodge for the coming year. There were over 100 members and visitors to the occasion in the lodge room and this was due in part to the Provincial team, but more so for the popularity of the master elect, George.
The evening started with a surprise as John Taylor WM wasn’t able to attend the meeting for personal reasons so up stepped Bill Nelson to open the lodge and eventually act as the installing master. This was good fortune for the lodge, as Bill is a more than talented and skilled past master of the lodge which was proven on the night.
So, it was Bill who welcomed Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison along with the Provincial retinue into the lodge room. The retinue included Norman Thompson PrGM of the Province of Westmorland and Cumberland; Philip Gunning Deputy PrGM; Stewart Seddon APrGM; David Asbridge and Peter Allen Senior and Junior Grand Wardens respectively; Anthony Slater and Andy Sumner PrGStwds and a host of other acting and Provincial grand officers including Chris Blackwell, Chairman of Leyland and District Group
At this point Bill attempted to pass the gavel of the lodge to Tony but unfortunately the gavel went rolling down the lodge room when Bill light heartedly said: “Tony, you were supposed to catch it” at which everyone in the room burst into laughter. This set the tone for the evening and when Tony thanked Bill, and of course the members of Euxton Lodge for their very warm welcome, he returned the gavel and said that Bill obviously needed the practice. Tony took his seat and settled for the ceremony which started with both of the Provincial Wardens taking up position as installing wardens for the ceremony, David Asbridge as senior warden and Peter Allen as junior warden.
George was presented to the lodge by Alan Smith before reciting his obligation as master elect. He then took the obligation of an installed master prior to being installed into the chair of King Solomon. The working tools of each degree were expertly presented by the lodge junior brethren in Sean Taylor, John Jackson and Henry Noblett for the third, second and first degrees respectively.
George very quickly set about investing his officers with an address to the stewards being presented by Andy Sumner. The address to the master was given by Bill Nelson with the warden’s address being presented competently by Peter Allen. Tony then gave the address to the lodge and the installation ceremony was complete. George’s very first task was to present a number of cheques at which Tony asked if he could read the contents of the envelope. The envelope contained two cheques written out to the MCF 2021 Festival for £1,000 and to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for £375. These were details of additional donations given by the lodge throughout 2017 thus far. Tony thanked the brethren of the lodge for their generosity.
At the conclusion of the installation, Tony arose from his seat and immediately congratulated George on having attained the chair of King Solomon. He wished George all the very best for the year ahead and hoped that the lodge would go from strength to strength. Tony also went to thank Bill for an outstanding display and for the hard work of installing George at short notice.
Whilst Tony was on his feet there was a little surprise to be had. Out from an envelope came a certificate which he presented to the lodge on becoming Vice Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival. George was more than pleased to accept it on behalf of the lodge; which was followed by a round of applause. Just as Tony sat down, a trio of brethren stood to make a presentation to Provincial Grand Lodge. It was a delegation from the West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Society, including Richard Dennison, Ian Heyes and Andy McClements, who had recently entered and won the Jonathan Spence Challenge. The winners’ cup was presented to Tony on behalf of the team by Richard who took great delight in telling the tale of how it was won to which Tony congratulated the team and said that it would be cherished for the time it was with the Province.
Just prior to the team sitting down Tony pulled out another surprise presentation. This time it was to Ian Heyes who had recently stepped down as captain of the shooting team. Tony presented Ian with a promotion to PPrJGW and again another round of applause followed. The Provincial team retired from the lodge and George closed it in due form.
Adding to the excitement of the evening, everyone retired to the dining room for an excellent meal and conversation. After all, there was a lot to talk about with presentations and promotions and not forgetting the gavel which rolled down the lodge.