The warmth of an early Indian summer evening was matched only by the warm welcome of the brethren and officers at the installation meeting of Ashmole Lodge No 5128, which was held at Warrington Masonic Hall. It was attended by over 55 Masons to see Derek Houghton installed into the chair of King Solomon by his predecessor George Heyes, the installing master.
The lodge was opened by George, who conducted the usual administrative duties. The lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees. Upon an alarm being raised, Barrie Crossley announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton was without and demanded admission. Kevin, the principal guest, was then admitted in due ceremonial style and was accompanied by grand and acting Provincial grand officers including Dennis Rudd, Jack Forsyth, Gordon Amos, Stan Churm, Andy Whittle, Andy Barton (group chairman), Barrie Crossley, Paul Rigby and Robert Main.
George extended a warm welcome to all present saying he was delighted to receive such distinguished guests and hoped an enjoyable evening would ensue. He then offered Kevin the gavel, which he immediately returned saying he would like the work that George had put into the proceedings not to go to waste.
George then requested Andrew Wilson to act as SW, Paul Brown as JW and Norman Pritchard as IG. All were delighted to assist by occupying their respective offices.
Derek was presented for installation by Jack Forsyth and Mike Cunliffe, Derek’s proposer into the lodge. Derek was then installed by George according to ancient custom, which he did with dignity and sensitivity. The working tools of the third degree were explained by Tony Chin, the second degree tools by Peter Richardson, and the first degree tools by Peter Lau, all of whom are junior brethren.
Derek was delighted to attain the chair of King Solomon, this being the first time he had been elected to that office.
The address to the WM was delivered by Mike Williams, the address to the wardens by Andy Barton and the address to the brethren was delivered by Kevin.
Immediately following the installation, Kevin, on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and on his own behalf, congratulated Derek on being installed into the chair of such a warm and friendly lodge, commenting that the ceremony was a pleasure to witness. Kevin also congratulated George on the ceremony and said that Derek could have no doubt that he had been truly installed into the chair of King Solomon. Kevin extended his good wishes to all present and hoped Derek and all his officers would have a productive year, wishing everyone the best of health to enjoy it to the full.
The first task Derek had to perform as WM was a very pleasant one of presenting two donations to Kevin, firstly, £960 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and a further £960 to the Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Hospital. Kevin received the cheques with gratitude pointing out that both donations were of such large amounts and he was extremely pleased to see the split between Masonic and non-Masonic charities were equal. He continued by extending his thanks to the brethren for such generous amounts saying it would give him a great amount of pleasure to pass on the donations and again thanked the brethren on behalf of the recipients, who he said may never know the people who had raised such magnificent amounts.
An excellent festive board followed with a five 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 £165 which will go to support lodge widows.
Kevin 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 Derek presented Kevin and Andy Barton with bouquets of flowers thanking them for their attendance. Kevin and Andy thanked the brethren saying they were delighted to receive such gifts and felt sure their wives would be similarly pleased.