The outside temperatures were at their lowest for several years and the lazy wind was very cutting, however, over 70 Freemasons attended the installation meeting of Stuart Ainsworth as WM of the Lodge of Charity No 2651 at the Warrington Masonic Hall.
With the brethren assembled in the lodge room, the WM Quentin Newhall welcomed everyone and opened the lodge. Before the normal administration duties were undertaken, Chris Eyres presented a very moving eulogy covering the extensive Masonic career and life of a departed brother, Charles Appleton. He was a well-respected and highly valued senior member of the lodge who had passed to the grand lodge above a month earlier. Chris reverently requested all to stand in silent respect to departed merit.
Quentin then opened the lodge to the third degree and the principal guest Kevin Poynton, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by various grand and Provincial grand officers both past and present were admitted. Accompanying Kevin were Andy Barton the Warrington Group Chairman, grand officers, Dennis Rudd, Jack Forsyth, David Redhead, Derek Hunt, Chris Eyres and Colin Rowling, along with acting Provincial grand officers, Robert Williams, Les Savage and Howard Savage.
After welcoming the distinguish guests Quentin offered Kevin the gavel of the lodge, which he accepted and quickly returned, thanking Quentin for his welcome and respect.
The installing officers then took to their respective chairs, namely Norman Pritchard SW; Charles Carr was already in the JW chair and Barry Corcoran to act as IG. Quentin then invited Derek Bird to occupy the chair for the next part of the ceremony, which he was pleased to accept.
Brian Hargreaves and Paul Bullock presented master elect Stuart Ainsworth to Derek, to receive at his hand the benefit of installation. Stuart was then expertly installed by Derek into the chair of King Solomon, according to ancient custom with all reverence and humility.
The presentation and explanation of the working tools were excellently carried out by Louis Warburton, third degree, Steven Evans, second degree and Mike Galbraith, first degree.
The address to the WM was delivered by Chris Eyres and the address to the wardens by Andy Barton. Kevin delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge in an exemplary manner which concluded the installation ceremony.
Kevin congratulated Stuart on being installed in the chair of such a wonderful lodge. He said he had witnessed an excellent ceremony. He then thanked Quentin for all the hard work he had done over the last 12 months. Kevin continued by saying he was also delighted to bring the congratulations and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Kevin passed on his personal good wishes to Stuart, his officers and all the brethren, for a happy and successful year. He congratulated Derek and Chris Gleave for their work undertaken during the ceremony. He also made special reference to how well the junior brethren had presented and explained the working tools of each degree.
Stuart then conducted his first duty and presented cheques to Kevin for the following charities; £1,000 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, £250 to the Friends of Ecclesholme, £250 to CANtreat, £250 to St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice and £250 to DKMS, a charity launched in the UK in 2013 to provide a register of blood stem cell donors who would be able to help with the treatment of blood cancer. In addition, donations of £488 have been made during the year: £38 towards the Masonic 2021 Festival (£1,038 to date), £250 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity relating to the Manchester Bomb Appeal and £200 to the Pineapple Fund (Help for Lucy Moroney). The total giving for the year was £2,488.
On behalf of the recipients Kevin thanked the brethren for their magnificent donations, commenting on the tremendous amount of money being spread across so many beneficiaries.
Over 70 guests and members enjoyed an excellent four course festive board and the normal hospitality of the Masonic hall. The gastronomic delights included liver pate, cod mornay, braised beef, seasonal vegetables and fresh fruit salad with cream. Red and white wine complemented the meal which was followed by tea or coffee.
The master’s song was sung by Peter Whalley, accompanied by Stephen Derringer.
Kevin responded to the toast to grand lodge saying that there was a plethora of grand officers present including Dennis Rudd, Jack Forsyth, Gordon Amos, David Redhead, Derek Hunt, Chris Eyres and Colin Rowling, accompanied by acting Provincial grand officers, Robert Williams, Les Savage and Howard Savage and thanked them all for supporting him this evening.
Chris Todd, group charity representative presented a festival certificate to Stuart, which would entitle the lodge to become a Vice Patron of the Festival.
During the master elect a raffle was conducted which produced a magnificent sum of £358 for charity, and to round off a lovely evening Kevin and Andy were presented with bouquets of flowers on behalf of the lodge. They both thanked the WM and brethren for the flowers and a most enjoyable evening, saying they hoped the lodge would have an enjoyable and productive year.
The lodge’s ladies and their friends also met in an adjacent room and enjoyed a meal together, which was followed by a very amusing after dinner speaker.
The most enjoyable evening was brought to a close by the tyler’s toast delivered by Malcolm Myers.
Story and pictures by John Starkey.