Monday, the 14th February and Brethren having been granted the night out despite it being Valentines day, an excellent attendance were present, due in large part to many from t’other side ot’hill in East Lancashire. This was to witness Worshipful Brother Steven Spooner, the Master Elect, be Installed for the ensuing year which will contain the Centenary celebration of the Lodge. A quiet and retiring man!, he is highly regarded for his enthusiasm, energy and dedication to Mark Masonry. Visitors all received a very warm welcome on the evening, a distinct flavour of the sublime precepts at work.
The Lodge was opened in due form Very Worshipful Brother Dr. Rod Taylor who dealt efficiently with the opening agenda items including a comprehensive Almoners report delivered Worshipful Brother Tony Etherington. Reference was made to Worshipful Brother Robert Andrew who it is hoped they all will welcome to the Lodge again although it was good to hear that he was still enjoying a glass of Malt.
Attention turned to the main business and, upon a report, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Andrew Brown was admitted to announce that Worshipful Brother Andrew Johnson, Provincial Grand Senior Warden, together with Worshipful Brother Chris Oldfieid, Representative of the Charity Committee were without; they were promptly admitted, saluted with appropriate honours and took their seats. At this juncture the Lodge Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Martin Scott came into his own and orchestrated the rest of the evening in a professional, flowing and relaxed style beginning with Right Worshipful Brother Brian Batty, Past Provincial Grand Master presenting the Master Elect. W.Bro. Steven. Already a Past Master he then recited his obligation, was invested with the Collar and Jewel of his Office and placed in the Chair. One of the highlights then followed with the explanation of the Keystone Collarette in the hands of Worshipful Brother Bev Heywood, superb, with meaning , emotion and emphasis, a joy to hear,
The Addresses, all in fine style, were despatched as follows;
To the Worshipful Master R.W.Bro. Brian Batty.
Wardens, W.Bro. Andrew Beardsell
Overseers W.Bro. David Kenyon and
Brethren W.Bro. Andrew Johnson.
Officers for the year were then Appointed and Invested with V.W.Bro. Dr. Rod reverting to Senior Warden and R.W.Bro. Brian to Master Overseer. Well worth a visit in the coming year and do not forget the Centenary celebrations. The remaining business of the evening was covered and the Lodge closed in due form.
The Festive Board did not disappoint on a cold wet evening, Soup, braised steak and sides followed Treacle sponge and custard, cheese and Biscuits. The Toast List followed apace with Worshipful Brother Marios Adamou. proposing the Toast to the Province and saying all the right things for which he will be suitably rewarded in due course, well done. In response W.Bro. Andy acknowledged the very kind comments which were of course well deserved. Attention was then directed to up and coming events of note, Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on April 23rd, Bradford grammar School, all welcome to the P.G.M.’s Lodge, he will be delighted to see as many of you as possible. Saturday 25th June, Provincial Hoe down, full details in due course, get it in your diary now and a final reminder for the Provincial Bike ride in respect of the Festival, four hundred miles in five days, if you have not donated, do it now, Finally with all the Mark Lodges now Grand Patron Diamond Award status, the Provincial Grand Master would be pleased if you could allocate future endeavours to assist Royal Ark Mariner Lodges to achieve Grand Patron Award.
The toast to the Mark Benevolent Fund/ Cleeves and Whitehead Trust was delivered W.Bro. Tony Etherington emphasising the excellent work done both but stressing the speed of response of the C & W, bear that in mind Brethren if need arises. In response W.Bro. Chris Oldfield also focussed on the C & W and the events it promotes to involve Brethren and their Dependants. In the next year there will be three Almoners Luncheons, the first at Cedar Court in April, followed in November at Tapton Hall and lastly, date to be confirmed but at Elland Road, you do not have to be football fan to go, particularly as most Leeds fans are not!! keep in mind I am a Huddersfield Town fanatic, yes we all have crosses to bear. Lastly the Annual holiday to Lytham St Annes and details will be available shortly. Finally a word in respect of the collaboration between the C & W and Choices, the support organisation of the West Riding Craft, we are indebted to them.
V.W.Bro. Dr. Rod eloquently toasted the newly Installed W.M. drawing attention to all the work he has done for the Mark Degree, most of you will, have seen him on car park duty for the Annual Provincial Meeting and who can forget his climbing escapades in Everest. In response W.Bro. Steven was at pains to thank all who had assisted in the preparations for the Installation and confirmed he was looking forward to an exciting year , one candidate already in place.
Finally the toast to the visitors, the graveyard shift, but not in this case the safe hands of the new bright and shining Junior Warden, Bro. John Pearson. He thanked all present . a magnificent twenty six visitors who he hoped to see again regularly during the year, all will be welcomed. In response was one of the Brethren from tother side ot’hill, a most talented wordsmith, W.Bro. Martin Roach. Extremely amusing, gales of laughter, but that ensured that I did not write down much of what he offered, you will have to go to Brighouse when he attends again.
Last, and significant, was the proceeds of the Sponsorship form for the Bike Ride’ later in the year. This yielded ono hundred and thirty eight pounds, grateful thanks to all who contributed, but importantly it was donated in the name of Hipperholme RAM No. 715, hope that we see more of this during the year.
A wonderful evening, enjoyed all , is it not good to be back.
Smile. Be happy and remember you are all Mark Master Masons.