Escorted visit to Aries Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 669

Thursday, 8th August 2013. The Worshipful Master of Aries Lodge, W.Bro. Derek Smart, welcomed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. John Fred Clough P.G.J.D. and his Escort of Provincial Officers of the year.  In all 59 Brethren attended the meeting, including 25 Provincial Officers in the escort team, an excellent turn out and a delight for Bro. Terence Cunningham, a Master Mason of Peace Craft Lodge No 3998, who was to be advanced into Aries Lodge.

After the usual opening formalities, the minutes of the previous meeting held on Thursday 13th June were read the Secretary, W.Bro. Andrew Johnson.  In time honoured tradition for Aries, they were slightly different to the norm as this extract indicates:

“The opening hymn was sung in at least 3 different tunes.  All the words were correct, but just in the wrong order!” and concluding with “The Lodge was closed at 8.17 pm, and the closing hymn was then sung.  Fortunately this time to the correct tune and with all the right words and in the right order!”

The ceremony that followed was a credit to W.Bro. Smart and his team and was thoroughly enjoyed the candidate, Bro. Cunningham, who had been proposed his son. Bro. Jason Cunningham Senior Overseer.

The previous escorted visit to Aries had been in 2006, on the 8th June.  At that meeting there were 12 members of Aries Lodge and 34 visitors. The Ruler visiting on that occasion was R. W.Bro. Brian Maurice Batty, Provincial Grand Master, and his D.C. was W.Bro. Richard Puttrell, who officiated again at this visit.

The minutes of the 2006 visit, penned that great wordsmith, W.Bro. Michael Holgate contain the following reference:

“There was a report and Bro. David Wright appeared bearing an ancient standard lamp to shed a little ray of light in the darkened recesses of the organist’s corner much to the amusement of the Brethren and the delighted, enlightened organist”.  Further on he says, referring to the escort entering the lodge, “They processed perfectly into the lodge with all the pomp and circumstance of a carefully rehearsed performance, a fitting tribute to the 35 minutes of practice they had indulged in prior to the ceremony”.

An excellent Festive Board followed the meeting, the tenor of which was very much in the usual friendly, relaxed style of Mark Masonry, the tone been set the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. John Fred Clough who gave food for thought in his response to the Toast to the Province but also a deal of humour.

I should note for the record that all three raffle prizes were won members of the escort team, one the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, who also drew out one of the others.  No further comments!


D. Smith P.G.S.D.  P.Prov.G.J.W.