Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough takes the Chair but Patrick steals the show

The Installation meeting of the Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 525. Held at WetherMasonic hall on Wednesday, 30th November; a wonderful occasion, memorable in many ways but with one big surprise. We began, sadly however, with two eulogies, the first for W. Bro David Black, a highly respected and well liked member who had been devastated the death of his wife Margaret and never recovered. Secondly, a Past Commander, W. Bro. Derick Townend, a generous caring man who made a lasting impression on all with whom he came into contact. One of our abiding memories of W. Bro. Derick was that is first words were always ‘and how are you/ your wife/ your daughter?’ never talking about himself, a true friend sadly missed.

No surprises at the outset when the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother George Wise offered the gavel to the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Dr. Rod Taylor who then strongly resisted the temptation to accept in the knowledge that it was his predecessor, Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough who was to be Installed. Congratulations to all involved with one of the finest, short form, Installation ceremonies that I have witnessed in the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity; particular mention to the lovely touch of having the Commander Elect presented the newest member of the Lodge, Brother David Preston. The lead was given the sincere, professional manner displayed the Installing Commander, W. Bro. George Wise, an excellent address W. Bro. Ian Mackenzie, the presentation of the key stone collaret in the hands of our Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C., he gets better every time I see him!!, he could be really good one day. Finally a superb presentation of the Past Commanders Jewel W. Bro. George Robert Fraser- Platt, this in true thespian fashion. He may not be feeling all that well at the moment but he does know how to perform the ritual with an added bonus of a little bit of himself, keep it up my friend we all love you.

The remaining business including Ballots for an Honorary Member and a joining member were dealt with. A proposition for a new member was then entered but the Director of Ceremonies asked that the Worshipful Commander to bear with him, read what I have said and inwardly digest. He retired, returning with Brother Patrick, a rather large Teddy which had been a prize in the draw at the Xmas Fayre. To the astonishment of W. Bro. John Fred he was informed that he had won the prize and that the Bear was now an Honorary Member. I have to report that he does not say much, does not eat much, does not drink much but, as you can see the attached photographs, has taken over.

The Festive board was everything we have come to expect from W. Bro. Bob Sowden, particularly the braised steak where some of us had seconds. In his response to the Toast to the Province, professionally proposed Worshipful Brother Alan Crusher, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Dr. Rod Taylor focused on the new pamphlets now available to be given to potential Candidates for both the Mark and the Royal Ark Mariners. These are a very good advertisement for the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity to assist in the sale of the product for which there are two key elements, firstly find out what they want, secondly tell them that you have it and we have. All that is now required is to convince them that they want it, and that is where the pamphlet will help, bearing in mind only when the time is right for them.

Finally, a delight to see 3 Worshipful Commanders in the Chair present, W. Bro. Charles Lindsay, Portal No. 127, W. Bro. Gilbert Stone, Elmete No.111 and W. Bro. Kevin Lloyd, Abbey No.768.

This was another of those Mark/ Royal Ark Mariner meetings when I wish that we could bottle the atmosphere, the fellowship and Brotherly love that envelops us, we could make a fortune.