Tony Chin has worked his way diligently through the ranks of Ashmole Lodge No 5128, and finally received his reward as he was installed as its master. Brethren from across a number of provinces welcomed him to the chair of King Solomon.
Principal guest for the evening was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton, accompanied by an abundance of grand officers: Dennis Rudd, Jack Forsyth, Gordon Amos, Chris Eyres, Andy Barton (Warrington Group Chairman), Tony Bone, Nolan Morrison; and Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies for the evening, Malcolm Bell.
In an exemplary ceremony, as one would expect from installing master Brian Wilson, the business of the evening progressed smoothly. Unfortunately, the first of that business was to pay respect for departed merit to Ashmole Lodge member Keith Wilson. A brief eulogy was superbly delivered by his good friend Mike Moore.
The installing senior warden was Chris Cullen, the installing junior warden was Rob Roberts and the installing inner guard was Robert Wilson. Tony was presented for installation by his proposer into Freemasonry, Mike Cunliffe, and his seconder, Mike Williams.
All of the working tools were delivered well; the third working tools were presented by Peter Richardson, the second working tools by Mark Keig and the first working tools were given by Sab Hussein. There was also that rarity in working tools, the installed master’s tools, delivered eloquently by a visitor Norman Corke, who also presented the same tools to the lodge for future ceremonies.
After a brief period of ill health, the senior member of Ashmole Lodge, Jack Forsyth, returned in wonderful style, delivering a strong address to the WM. It was enthusiastically applauded. The address to the wardens was made by John Tyrer; to the tyler by Bill Wainwright; to the deacons by Mike Caldwell and to the brethren of the lodge by Kevin Poynton.
An original Ashmole Lodge’s founder member’s past master’s jewel has been donated to the lodge, which has been refurbished and was presented to Brian as the immediate past master. This will be passed along with the post, as a tradition in the lodge.
Tony presented Kevin with an envelope for charitable donations for; Shrewsbury House of £400, Room at the Inn of £200, MCF of £400 and to the Hall Company of £200, making a total of £1,200. This joins £255 already donated to the Air Ambulance, £255 to Clare House, £420 to Dementia Research and £320 to Warrington Foodbank. £188 was raised in the festive board raffle. Kevin gave thanks to the lodge members for their generous donations.
Music in the lodge was ably produced by Steven Derringer, who afterwards accompanied Norman Pritchard’s excellent rendition of ‘The Master’s Song’.
After an excellent meal at the festive board, shared by 63 of the brethren, Kevin made a point of celebrating the return of Jack and the quality of his work performed in lodge. He went on to congratulate Brian for the excellence of the ceremony, the brethren presenting the working tools, Mike Moore, the acting DC, for his impeccable control and the acting officers Peter Barton, Chris Cullen, Malcolm Bell and Steven Derringer. On the subject of charity, Kevin revealed that UK Freemasons in 2018 gave £48,000,000 to charity and donated 5,000,000 hours of their time to charitable causes.
During his toast to the incoming master, Brian revealed that not only was Tony taking the chair of King Solomon that evening, but later that week would be taking his fourth dan in something more demanding, Karate. In many ways, he added, Tony will be a force for innovation and improvement at an important time in the lodge’s development.
In his reply, Tony likened becoming WM to attaining his black belt; in both, the work starts in earnest when the highest position is achieved.
Long serving (and some say long suffering) tyler Bill Wainwright made his final appearance in the role during this ceremony. No one spoken to about his service can remember Bill making even the slightest mistake in his duties, a record he would regard as his true legacy. Tony presented Bill with a token from the lodge, and the sadness for the end of his service was obvious in the lodge members. The evening ended with a presentation of gifts for Andy and Kevin.
Story and photographs by Eric Miller.