Memories at Halifax Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 706

A wonderful evening at Southwood on Wednesday 9 September, particularly Worshipful Brother Ashley Horsfall who took the Chair of this fine Lodge for the second time. The atmosphere was, however, somewhat subdued for all present in the respect that Right Worshipful Brother James Bramley Morley was no longer present.

After the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Graham Mallinson had despatched the opening formalities, the Provincial Senior Warden, Worshipful Brother Dr. Andrew Wright, accompanied Worshipful Brother Stephen ‘Sam’ Cariss, was admitted. Worshipful Brother Martin Longbottom, Director of Ceremonies, but also one of R.W.Bro. Bram’s Son-in-Laws, then gave a very moving and knowledgeable eulogy about the man.  He was an example to all and reminds us that it is not sufficient merely to profess the precepts of our Order but, as he did, to practise them in our lives and actions and thereset an example to Society at large. Someone for whom we had great affection, he will be greatly missed; a gentleman and a gentle man.

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The Worshipful Master then installed his successor with manifest sincerity and professionalism. The Officers were then appointed and invested and it is a pleasure to record that almost all the progressive role were given to Brethren, that bodes well for the future.

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A ballot was then taken for a joining member, not your normal run-of-the-mill Brother from just down the road, but Right Worshipful Brother John Douglas Arthur Platts of Semper Fidelis Lodge of Craft Masons No. 5052, the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Bristol.  Why I hear you ask! R.W.Bro. Platts was born in Halifax where his father was a Freemason, a Past Master of Beacon Craft Lodge and also a member of Halifax Mark Lodge No. 706. Apparently he had asked his Father if it would be possible for him to become a Freemason but, sadly, this was not possible, he only being 14 at the time. No matter he has now put that somewhat to rights joining Halifax Mark Lodge No. 706.

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Responding to the Toast to the Province at the Festive Board, W.Bro. Dr. Andrew Wright, spoke about the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival 2023 which will be launched in 2016.  A bank account is now opened and funds are already accruing. Whilst he acknowledged that it is vital that the Festival does not detract from the work of the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust (he is the present Chairman of Trustees), he stressed that they are working closely with the Province to ensure success on both fronts. This will enable the Mark Benevolent Fund to continue it’s support for the big ticket items such as ‘Hope for Tomorrow’ and treatment of Osteoporosis

He encouraged those Mark Brethren not yet Royal Ark Mariner Masons to give that some thought, approximately 40% in the Province of West Yorkshire are members but other Provinces are at 60%, food for thought Brethren. Finally, with Candidates harder to find these days, should you have a spare Lodge night, consider a lecture or the Demonstration Teams, please see the Provincial Web site.

Dates for your diaries

  • Provincial Grand Assembly of Royal Ark Mariners held under the banner of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 110, Tapton Hall, 3 October.
  • Provincial Ladies Sunday Lunch, Greenhead Masonic Hall, 25 October.
  • Annual Carol Service, Brighouse Central Methodist Church, Sunday 13 December.

In responding to the toast for the Charity, W.Bro. ‘Sam’ Carriss confirmed that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust is in good heart and over the past year has provided £36,000 pounds to needy Brethren and their relatives/dependants. The Trustees remain convinced that some are being missed and encourage all Brethren, not just Lodge Almoners, to be vigilant. Surprisingly the number of Brethren contributing standing order to the Charity has remained unchanged at 38% and I recall as a Trustee and Chairman, in total 7 years, that it was around that number all my time. Brethren, bearing in mind the Festival and the continued support required the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, search your hearts and then your bank accounts. Speak to your Charity Steward now and give what you can afford.


Finally, there was a very good attendance but given the nature of the Meeting it was very disappointing to witness, again, a dearth of Masters in the Chair. Congratulations to Very Worshipful Brother Derek Cope, Eland Mark No. 493 and Worshipful Brother Keith Bradley, Fearnley Mark No. 58 for undertaking one of the key responsibilities, prime obligations, that to represent your Lodge around the Installed  Masters Association and, if possible in the wider Province. Can I encourage you all to do the same!

Enjoy your Mark Masonry and keep smiling.

W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D