What a night at the Masonic Hall, Zetland street, Wakefield, Thursday, 29th September, for the Installation of Worshipful Brother Frank Milner as Worshipful Master of Integrity lodge of Mark Master Masons no. 110. W, Bro. Frank is, in fact, one of the longest serving members of the Lodge but lived abroad for a number of years, part of it sailing around the Mediterrean.
Why ‘Superman’, because over his years he has endured many trials and tribulations culminating in cancer last year for the second time. He is, however very tough and stubborn and was able to tell us, to his relief and our delight, that he has now received the all clear. We now look forward to an excellent year under his guidance.
The Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother John Simpson, began welcoming all 77 Brethren present, what a sight to behold, and trusted that they would enjoy the proceedings. The usual opening formalities despatched and upon a Report, the Past Pro Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Benjamin Addy was admitted. He was then followed the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C., the Provincial Grand Master of Derbyshire, Right Worshipful Brother Colin Cantrell, our own Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell and Worshipful Brother Sam Carris, Elected Representative of the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust plus an escort of many of the great and good of the Province, what a night for the ‘glitterati. All were given appropriate salutations.
Now we arrived at the whole point of the exercise, W.Bro. Frank being Installed in the chair of the Lodge his predecessor and good friend, the Worshipful Master. This went like clockwork, due partly to the practice that both had undertaken in the previous weeks, they literally live around the corner from one another. The working tools were in the safe hands of Worshipful Brother Gary Baines and the Key Stone Collaret very ably presented Worshipful Brother John Clark. Congratulations also to all who dealt with the Addresses, particularly Worshipful Brother Tony Stanier for the address to the Overseers. The Officers of the Year were then appointed and invested the W. Bro. Frank with only one appointee missing.
Worshipful Brother Alan Corbridge then presented the Past Masters Jewel, richly deserved, to W. Bro. John. He reminded us all the good work that W. Bro. John had done over the past year, particularly the Integrity Golf day which this year had generated Donations of £3400 to the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund festival, something of which the Lodge is very proud of but which is almost entirely down to the efforts of W. Bro. John. He is a true Freemason at heart, very caring, committed and charitable, a man who practices the Precepts of the order in his daily life, not merely paying lip service; truly I do wish we had many more like him.
The remaining agenda items were dealt with but upon ‘other business’, surprise for the Lodge as the Provincial Grand Master took to the floor. He asked for Worshipful Brother Derek Walsh to be brought before him and presented him with the Grand Patron Gold award. He did not stop there but then requested that a shocked and confused Worshipful Brother Nigel Scott, long time Senior Steward, be brought before him. R. W. Bro. Steggles thanked him for all his efforts over many years, particularly as Senior Steward, emphasising that he was a mainstay of this successful Mark Master Masons Lodge. Finally he promoted him to Past Provincial Senior Warden on the floor of the Lodge to much acclamation and a stunned silence from W.Bro. Nigel. He was still amazed on our way home saying that this did not happen to Mark Masons like him who rarely visit, oh yes it does W. Bro. Nigel and you thoroughly deserved the recognition.
All adjourned to the Festive Board which was in true Integrity tradition, 4 courses plus coffee for £12. The Provincial Grand Master responded briefly to his own Toast congratulating W. Bro. Frank upon attaining the Chair of the Lodge, W.Bro. Nigel with his preferment and W. Bro. Derek for his charitable contributions. There are now two Grand Patron Gold Award Lodges, Integrity being one, and he is hopeful that ultimately all Lodges will qualify which will then automatically qualify the Province of West Yorkshire. A reminder was also given for the Annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons which will take place again at Bradford Grammar School on Saturday 22nd April 2017. The Xmas Fayre is on Sunday, 27th November and there is a Ladies Sunday Lunch on Sunday 30th October, both of these events at Greenhead Masonic hall, Huddersfield. The annual Church service will once again be held at Brighouse on the 11th December.
Bro. Sam Carris responded to the toast to the Charities with a timely reminder that only 28% of Mark Master Masons contribute standing order. Interestingly this compares with only 30 % who are members of the 250 Club. Maybe a coincidence but I doubt it; the majority of contributors to both will be the same people. Can I remind Brethren that despite the exhortations of many over the years the numbers contributing to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, your Charity, standing order has hardly changed, it was the same when I was the Chairman of Trustees 5 years ago. Cognisant that one of the corner stones of Mark Masonry is Charity, hardly numbers of which we can be proud?, then set about changing it NOW!!
Smile and be happy we are fortunate to be Mark Master Masons.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D