A most enjoyable evening at Castle Grove to witness the Installation of Brother Gilbert Stone, Senior Warden, as Worshipful Master the Immediate Past Master, Worshipful Brother Denis Parfitt, this being due to the indisposition of the W.M., Worshipful Brother Derrik Allen . A strong team with Worshipful BrotherPaul Leach acting as I.P.M. and augmented Worshipful Brother Gerald Anthony Granville Barker as Junior Warden, the latter being very promptly elected Treasurer.
Upon a report, Prov.A.G.D.C. Worshipful Brother Ian Lewis was admitted and shortly afterwards the Provincial Senior Warden, Worshipful Brother John Marrison was admitted together with Worshipful Brother Alan Corbridge, Elected member of the Charity Executive. Ready to go, well almost but on a further report the Master Overseer, Worshipful Brother Abdul Thomas was admitted, apologised for his late arrival, traffic problems?, No , Mrs Thomas had gone out with both sets of car keys!!, never heard that one before., Cognisant of the fact that W.Bro.Denis had only 2 weeks notice, he discharged his duties in superb fashion, measured and sincere. A highlight was Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Wilson, in his nineties, delivering the Working Tools only a few week after hip surgery. No surprise to me, W,Bro. Geoffrey was a bomber pilot in the last war, this was easy peasy. Worshipful Brother Richard Brown then explained and presented the Keystone Collaret, impressive and meaningful. The addresses were in the hands of, to the Master, Worshipful Brother Roger Quick, Wardens, Worshipful Brother Graham Ramsden, Overseers, Worshipful Brother Howard Bott and Brethren, W.Bro.John Marrison. All were to an appropriately high standard but that to the W.M. stood out, particularly as it was W.Bro.Rogers own version, I have to confess that in some respects it was better than the original. The remaining agenda items despatched, all adjourned for well earned sustenance at the Festive Board, Chicken breast and Bread and butter pudding with custard, goodbye diet!
The Toast to the Province was suitably submitted W.Bro.Gerald and warmly acknowledged W.Bro.John who began congratulating W.Bro.Gilbert on the honour now conferred upon him and wishing him a very happy year in office. Much is happening in the Province, particularly surrounding the Festival. W.Bro.John drew attention to all the information now available, the front page of the News Letter contains much detail, items on the web site and the Year Book, the latter a mine of information Major events coming up are the Second Northern Masonic Variety Show at Bradford Grammar School, Saturday 14th April and the Barge Pull commencing 2nd May from Barnoldswick, completing 10th May in Leeds. There are numerous other items to tickle your entertainment buds, notably a Pig race at Slaithwaite Masonic Hall, Saturday 24th March, well worth a look. W.Bro.John concluded thanking the Lodge for a most enjoyable evening, generosity of welcome and hospitality.
W.Bro. Richard Brown, Charity Steward proposed the Toast to the Charities, presented a cheque and very quickly returned to his seat awaiting the response from W.Bro. Alan Corbridge which would include the detail he wanted to hear. W. Bro. Alan stressed that despite income constraints occasioned the Festival, the Cleeves and Whitehaed Trust is in good heart and meeting its obligations. He reminded the Brethren that the Mark Benevolent Fund is 150 years old, stressing that its funding essentially comes from Festivals such as our own. This enables it to support such worthy causes as the ‘Hope for Tomorrow’ Charity providing mobile chemotherapy units to out lying areas and the replacement of ambulances and support vehicles for St John Ambulance. The remainingToasts suitably despatched including the Masters Song sung Worshipful Brother Barrie Fothergill, all wended their way home having enjoyed another excellent Mark masons meeting.
Smile, be happy and continue to enjoy this wonderful Order,
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.