Hardly a warm night at Bottoms in a metrological sense, snow flurries having been a possibility in the Pennines, but that most certainly was not the case in the Lodge, the good ship Caldene having weathered the turbulent storms prevalent on the border of Lancashire and back in the haven of rest, Yorkshire.. Warmth of welcome and fellowship abounded, none more so than that from the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother David Kelly. As many of us are aware, W.Bro.David has had serious health issues this year and , therefore, it was not just a delight to see him present on the quarter deck but doing his part in the ceremony.
This was primarily in the hands of one of the Past Skippers Worshipful Brother David Leach, assisted the Acting Bosun, D.C., Worshipful Brother Steven Littlewood, actually the Scribe, it is truly all hands to the pumps in this boat. The first duty was to welcome Worshipful Brother Edward Patnick, the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, the Admiral of the Fleet, Very Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C.; the focus was then on the promotion of the 1st Lieutenant, Brother Tom Pickard to Worshipful Commander. W.Bro.David Kelly then dealt with the most important part of the ceremony, that of inculcating the key signs and secrets which distinguish the Skipper from the ratings, very emotional point of the ceremony. W.Bro .Leach, a very competent ritualist then took over the helm and dealt with the Key stone collaret and the Address to the new Commander, in between W.Bro. Steven gave the Exhortation, all in exemplary fashion.
I had now slipped into thinking about the Festive Board to be told of a surprise item, that of the presentation of a Grand Lodge Certificate to Brother John Fitzpatrick W.Bro. Edward, he has done this before and it showed. Incidentally, Bro.John is an entertainer, singer/comedian and I understand that he will be doing a ‘gig’, yes I am aware of the terminology, in aid of the Festival next Spring, look out for the notice on the web site, well worth coming along.
All then adjourned to the Wardroom and a splendid meal in excellent company, whereupon the Toast to the Province was in the hands of W.Bro Leach which, very sensibly in view of the plethora of Holders of Grand and Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand rank, he amended to the Provincial Team, particularly the new Rulers, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield, Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Worshipful Brother Trevor, Assistant Provincial Grand Master. The response was in the safe hands of W.Bro.Edward who began congratulating W.Bro.Tom on attaining the chair and wishing him a happy and healthy year ahead. In an era where technology rules, he reminded all that the information we all need is on the web site, in the Year Book and now in Quarterly News Letters; at this point he slipped in the idea that it might be a good idea to have monthly News Letters, quickly slapped down yours truly, it would be a nightmare!. He then gave a reminder that we must all work with our Craft Lodges to facilitate new members, this is our life blood. In this regard, he minded W.Bro.Tom to wear his R.A.M Collaret with pride. It will engender interest.
What a wonderful evening , in very pleasant company, but they all were Royal Ark Mariners, no surprise there then.
Smile, be happy, and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.