Thursday, 10 September at 5 p.m. and the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother John Donnelly opened the Sincerity Lodge of Mark Master Masons no. 943 at Tapton Masonic Hall, Sheffield. The purpose of the meeting was to install the Senior Warden, Brother Thomas McDougall as Worshipful Master for the forthcoming year. Bro. Tom has been a member for some time but delayed taking the Chair earlier due to other Masonic commitments which would have prevented him giving it the attention he felt it deserved, a decision I applaud and Sincerity Mark Lodge will be the beneficiaries.
After the opening formalities were concluded the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C was admitted accompanied Worshipful Brother John Wilberforce Ashcroft, Representative of the Charity Committee. W.Bro. Donnelly, in accordance with custom, offered the Gavel to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master in the faint hope that it would be accepted. No luck there, his hopes turned to despair and it was on with the Installation. This, W.Bro. Donnelly accomplished in a most sincere, warm manner; well received all present and particularly, Worshipful Brother Thomas McDougall, now the Worshipful Master of Sincerity Lodge of Mark Master Masons. There then followed the Appointment and Investiture of Officers and again it is a pleasure to record that almost all the progressive appointments were taken Brethren, positive succession in place. Matters then smoothly progressed to any other business and, we thought, a quick adjournment to the Bar.
Not so, for the Provincial Grand Master then requested that Worshipful Brother Brian Richardson P.Prov.G.J.W. be brought before him when, to W.Bro. Brian’s astonishment, he promoted him to Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden. An accomplished organist, serving many Lodges in Tapton Hall, he has been a Freemason in Sheffield since 1982, but in all the time that I have known him I have never seen him short for words. He was thunderstruck and happily told me afterwards that it had totally taken him surprise, a beautiful Mark moment.
Another surprise then followed when the Provincial Grand Master presented a Gold Award Grand Patron Collaret to the Lodge. R.W.Bro. James Steggles explained that all Lodges can apply, the details will be communicated the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival Committee but he does encourage, and hope that all Lodges will achieve this status which will then enable the Province of West Yorkshire to qualify.
At the Festive Board that followed, the Provincial Grand Master developed this further in that to achieve the award, Donations from Lodges will have to be directed to the Festival, not through the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust. On the other side, all personal donations must go via the Trust due to its charitable status wheregift Aid can be claimed adding a further 20% to the donation if the donor is a tax payer. He pointed out that it is becoming a bit of a habit, promoting Brethren on the floor at Sincerity Mark Lodge, at his previous visit no fewer than three recipients, Worshipful Brothers, Tim North, Dennis Goodison and P. ‘Bill’ Wright. The message is clear, want to be a Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden, join Sincerity Lodge of Mark Master Masons No, 943; they will welcome you with open arms.
Finally he asked that Brethren note the following events in their diaries;
- Provincial Ladies Sunday Lunch, Greenhead Masonic Hall 25 October.
- Xmas Fayre, also Greenhead Masonic Hall, 29 November.
- Annual Carol Service, Brighouse Central Methodist Church, Sunday 13 December.
In his response to the Toast to the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, W.Bro. John Ashcroft was pleased to receive two cheques, one the normal gift to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, but at the Festive Board a further £165 was given to the Festival from the raffle, excellent. He reported that all was well with the Trust, £36,000 having been provided to Brethren, their Relatives and Dependants in the past year together with the excellent Holiday in Llandudno and the Almoners luncheons, 200 guests at both events. This is truly our jewel in the crown, no other Province so clearly demonstrates its commitment to Charity.
This was another memorable Mark Masonic occasion, smile, be happy and continue to enjoy your Mark Masonry.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D