More than 115 Freemasons attended the installation meeting of Gwilym Buckley Jones as WM of the Lodge of Lights No 148 at the Warrington Masonic Hall. The installing master and WM George Range carried out a faultless ceremony under the direction of Eric Delamere. The principal guest was Tony Bent, Assistant Provincial Grand Master accompanied by other grand officers including fellow Assistant Provincial Grand Master, David Winder. The Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dennis Rudd and grand officers including Jack Forsyth, Brian Jackson, Robert Antrobus, Stanley Churm, Derek Hunt, Paul Hesketh, Barry Jameson, Neil MacSymonds, Colin Rowling, Chris Eyres and Andrew Whittle were present, also Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst and Chris Gleave (group vice chairman).
The lodge was opened by WM George and the normal administration duties undertaken. The principal guest and grand and acting Provincial grand officers were admitted in due ceremonial style.
George offered a very warm welcome to Tony, officers and visiting brethren to the meeting and hoped everyone would have an enjoyable evening. George, as a matter of procedure and as a mark of respect offered Tony the gavel, which on this occasion he was delighted to accept and then handed it back saying he felt confident that it was already in the best hands.
The master elect Gwilym, was then presented to the installing master as a candidate to receive at his hand the benefit of installation. The two presenting officers were David White and David Tabron. Gwilym was then installed into the chair of King Solomon according to ancient custom with all reverence and humility.
Tony congratulated Gwilym on being installed in the chair of such a fine and old lodge for the second time. He continued by saying that he was also delighted to bring the congratulations and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison. He then passed on his personal good wishes to Gwilym, his officers and all the brethren for a happy and successful year, thanking George for his work over the past 12 months.
Following the ceremony Gwilym informed everyone that the widows of the lodge had all been visited or contacted over the Christmas and New Year period, saying collectively that £750 had been dispersed between the lodge widows who were also all in good health.
Tony was then presented with cheques to be forwarded to various charities including: Non- Masonic Charities: Salvation Army £100, St Rocco’s Hospice £200, Macmillan Nurses £150, Francis House Children’s Hospice £150, Brookfield School £100, The Christie Hospital £100, Warrington Disabled Living Centre £100, Cromwell Athletic JFC (WM’s Charity) £50 and Seventh Warrington (Sankey Valley) Scout Troup £50. The total donated to non-Masonic charities was £1,000. Masonic Charities: West Lancashire 2021 MCF Festival £1,500, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £400, Warrington Masonic Hall £400 and Ecclesholme £200. The total donated to Masonic charities was £2,500 providing a grand total to charities supported of £3,500.
On behalf of the recipients, Tony thanked the brethren for their magnificent donations and the additional donation to the lodge widow’s, of £750. He commented on the tremendous amount of money being spread across so many important beneficiaries. In particular, he was delighted to see such generous amounts being allocated to support the Masonic hall and its workings. He went on to congratulate the brethren on their foresight in selecting the charities to support.
Tony commented on the quality of the installation and made specific mention of the work undertaken by the brethren in the presentations of the working tools, which were carried out by Peter Range, David Range and David Jones, Gwilym’s son. He also commended the excellent work of the director of ceremonies Eric Delamere and the installing master George.
Gwilym was born on the 9 July 1947 in North Wales and has seen much success in his schoolboy and adult life alike. Some of his attainments include solo competition winner at Llangollen International Eisteddfod and twice a winner at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. He played Rugby union at Grammar school, college, Bangor Rugby Club, Colwyn Bay and North Wales together with a Final Welsh Schoolboy Rugby trial in 1964/65.
He spent 40 years teaching school children in various locations in the North West, eventually achieving his head teacher status in 1986 and continued teaching until 2008. Extracurricular activities included working with deprived and socially disadvantaged girls from eight to 16 years, the organisation of Warrington Primary schools football team, plus being secretary for Warrington schools football and Chairperson of Warrington and district school sports. He is a communicant member and chorister of St Wilfred’s Church in Grappenhall.
Similar success can be noted in his Masonic career as he was initiated into the Lodge of Lights No 148 in 1971. He was the founding secretary of the joint lodge and ladie’s social committee from 1974 to1982, as well as assistant lodge secretary, secretary of the Lodge of Instruction and lodge secretary, until 1978.
Gwilym was installed as WM for the first time in 1983 and deputised for WM in 1984 due to illness of the WM, followed by ADC of the lodge for two years and then DC of the lodge for 20 years. Gwilym received the Provincial rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1989 and was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1997. He has acted as DC for the Group Annual Rededication Service since 1996 until the present.
Since 1970 he has sung the master’s song and ladies’ song for lodges throughout Lancashire and North Wales.
He was exalted into Travellers’ Chapter No 4679 and joined Elias Ashmole Chapter No148, was first principal in 2002 and DC since 2012 and DC of Chapter of Perseverance No 155 in Liverpool since 2011. He was appointed to the rank of PPrGStdB in 2010 and promoted to PPrDGSwdB in 2014.
The guests and members enjoyed an excellent five course festive board and the normal hospitality of the lodge. The master’s song was sung by Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst accompanied by Keith Dickinson. All the brethren toasted the master’s health and wished him a long, happy and continued Masonic career. During the festive board 32 ladies and friends attended a meal in an adjacent room.
Tony Bent and Chris Gleave were presented with bottles of spirit on behalf of the lodge. Tony thanked the WM and brethren for the bottle of gin and a most enjoyable evening, saying he hoped the lodge would have an enjoyable year. Chris also thanked the WM and brethren for his bottle.
Article written by John Starkey.