Royal Ark Mariners convened at Pontefract Masonic Hall on Friday 10 October 2014, to witness the Installation of the Commander Elect, Brother Eric Gosnay. In itself, not a momentous occasion until you realise that Bro. Eric is 93 years of age, is this a Guinness Book of Records event?, anyone know different?
The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Glen Gary Parker began welcoming the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield and proffered the Sceptre. This was acknowledged the Deputy Provincial Grand Master who politely declined, but pointed out that this was the penultimate occasion at a Royal Ark Mariner meeting that he would be in his present position.
The Commander Elect was then installed W.Bro. Gary Parker with warmth and sincerity, a very competent performance him, and all the Brethren who assisted. Worshipful Brother Eric Gosnay, the Worshipful Commander then appointed and invested his Officers. This gave rise to a few surprises to we regular visitors. W.Bro Ian Wolstencroft after 25 years as Treasurer took a well earned retirement, handing the reins to W.Bro. Brian Smart. W.Bro. John Whitworth, the Director of Ceremonies for 7 years, also stepped down in favour of W.Bro. Martin Millward. Their excellent, long serving Almoner, Bro. John Ruddy continued however, he thinks he has been in the role for some 13 years, but he agrees that it is most rewarding.
After a delightful Festive Board, main course sumptuous braised steak, the Toast List was despatched with the Toast to Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Lodge in the hands of the Senior Warden, Bro. Rodney Williams. He thanked all the Holders of Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank for their unstinting efforts and particularly W.Bro. Robert Corfield Deputy Provincial Grand Master and W.Bro. John Fred Clough, Assistant Provincial Grand Master. In his response, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master said that he had thoroughly enjoyed his period of stewardship and wished to thank all the brethren for their good wishes. He further commented that the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Mark Lodge under the new format had gone well and reminded all that it was the Provincial Assembly of Royal Ark Mariners in Sheffield the following day. The Mark 250 Club continues to prosper, the funds now being utilised to refurbish Provincial furniture, the Sword having been dealt with, efforts have now turned to the Banner.
Another message for all was to keep looking at the Web site, that is where you will learn what is coming up and, such as this item, what you may have missed. Events for your diaries: Provincial Sunday Lunch, Greenhead Masonic Hall, Huddersfield, 26 October, Annual Carol Service at Brighouse on 14 December and the Annual Assembly of Royal Ark Mariners on 9 December at Great Queen Street.
The Toast to the newly Installed Worshipful Commander was given his good friend, W.Bro. David Cordell. Apparently W.Bro. Eric did not commence his Masonic career until he retired at the age of 60. He was initiated into Unanimity Craft Lodge and now is a member of Chapter, Mark, Royal Ark Mariners, Royal and Select and the Allied Masonic degrees. He had to live this long to fit them all in and go through all the Chairs, no doubt he will find others to maintain his longevity. All power to your hands Worshipful Commander, you are an example to us all, particularly with your dedication to learning the ritual. In his response, W.Bro. Eric put some more flesh on the bones of his career but the highlight was when we were told that his wife, Doreen, does all the chores around the house and when asked if he felt embarrassed watching, his answer was that he then went to another room!
Another excellent evening, be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner and Mark Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D, P.Prov.G.J.W.