The brethren came in from a cold autumn night to the warmth of the welcome offered by Warrington Lodge of Concord No 1250, at their installation meeting at Warrington Masonic Hall. It was attended by 55 Masons to see John McIntyre (group secretary) once again attain the chair of King Solomon.
The lodge was opened by Nick Woodward, the present and installing master, who conducted the usual administrative duties. He then expressed his personal thanks to the brethren for work done during the year. Upon a report being given, DC Chris Todd, announced that Chris Eyres, acting as representative of the Provincial Grand Master, was without and requested admission. Chris, the principal guest, was then admitted in due ceremonial style and was accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers including Stan Churm, Barry Jameson, Derek Hunt, Andy Barton (group chairman) and Eric Shepherd.
Nick extended a warm welcome to Chris and his colleagues, saying he was delighted to receive such distinguished guests. The lodge was opened in the second and third degrees. Nick then requested Charles Carr to act as SW, Andrew Sharp as JW and John Walkey as IG. All were delighted to assist by occupying their respective offices.
John was presented to Nick to receive at his hand the benefit of installation into the chair of King Solomon by his old friend and ex-neighbour John Williams and another old friend and still neighbour, Richard Sherratt. The ceremony proceeded according to ancient custom and John accepted his role with dignity. It is the third time that John has been in the chair, the previous being in Concord Lodge’s predecessor, St Elphin Lodge No 3287.
A board of installed masters was opened and for probably the first time in the Warrington Group, the working tools of an installed master were explained by John Williams during the ceremony, to the delight of the assembled brethren. A plumb line which was used had been specially made by John Williams for this occasion; it was a very professional dark wood and black metal symbol, the plumb swaying gently in time with the recitation.
The new WM expressed great thanks to John Williams for the extensive work involved in producing the tools and thanked Brian Wilson for his contribution on the organ.
The ceremony proceeded with the working tools of the third degree being explained by David Winkler, the second degree working tools by Robert Wilson, and the first degree working tools by Robert Kelly, all of whom are junior brethren and in the case of Robert Kelly, very junior brethren.
The addresses to the IPM and WM were delivered by Eric Shepherd, the address to the wardens by Andy Barton (group chairman) and the address to the brethren of the lodge was delivered by Chris Eyres.
Immediately following the installation, Chris, on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulated John on being installed into the chair of such a distinguished lodge, commenting that the ceremony was a pleasure to witness and emphasising this by shaking the hands of the IPM and deliverers of the tool explanations. Chris extended his good wishes to all present and hoped John and all his officers would have a productive and enjoyable year, with everyone having the best of health.
The first task John had to perform as the new WM was a very pleasant one of presenting donations to Chris, firstly from the Charity Account, £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £200 to MCF 2021 Festival, £100 to the Salvation Army, £100 to St Rocco`s and £100 to the Alzheimer`s Society; and from the Social Account, £100 to the Warrington Masonic Hall and a further £150 to the `Talking Newspaper’. A grand total of £1,250 to which Chris received with the deepest gratitude.
An excellent festive board followed with a four course banquet served with red or white wine with tea or coffee to finish. Shortly after the meal a raffle was conducted which raised the magnificent sum of £282 which will go to support lodge widows.
Chris congratulated the junior brethren on their delivery of the respective working tools and Brian Wilson for his delightful music, saying how much we all appreciated the music both in the lodge and at the social board. The master’s song was sung by Norman Pritchard who was accompanied by Brian Wilson.
At the close of the evening, John presented Chris Eyres and Andy Barton with bouquets of flowers, thanking them for their attendance. Chris and Andy thanked the brethren saying they were delighted to receive such gifts and felt sure their wives would be similarly pleased.