The Lodge was opened, in due form, at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday, 6 February 2013 by the acting Worshipful Master, Very Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield, Deputy Provincial Grand Master. After the usual opening formalities, and on a report, the Assistant Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Andrew Brown was admitted and announced that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough requested admission. This was agreed and he entered with his escort of 21 Provincial Grand Lodge Officers.
He was welcomed by V.W.Bro. Bob, a most unique moment when one Ruler acting as Worshipful Master welcomes another to his Lodge (W.Bro. Clough declined the Gavel saying that he knew that V.W.Bro.Bob had been practising for some weeks!). This influx gave rise to virtually full house of 94 including the Escort and other visitors, 11 of whom came from St. Swithins Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 445 in the Province of Lincolnshire.
The advancement of Bro. John Doyle Brandon then took place with an exemplary display of the ritual by the acting W.M. and the whole team. Particular comment has to be made of the Brethren who assisted in the ceremony: Senior Deacon Bro. David Carter, Junior Warden Bro. Andrew Close, Bro. Jason Figgott who addressed the Badge, Bro. Matt Denton the working tools and last, but by no means least, W.Bro. John H. Fathers P.A.G.D.C. who delivered the conclusion with great sincerity and style, excellent by all. A night that Bro.Brandon will never forget and it was a delight, for all present, to witness the involvement of the Junior Brethren to this extent, well done Thorne.
At this moment we were expecting the remainder of the business to be concluded when to our surprise, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. John Fred Clough, asked for permission to take the floor. He then successively promoted both W.Bro. Barry Edge and W.Bro. Eric Allsop to Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden in recognition of their long and valued service to the Province and to Thorne Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 1004. After appropriate acclamation, W.Bro. Barry thanked W.Bro. John but to our amazement was short of words, a rare moment to savour. During the giving of greetings another delightful moment when R.W.Bro. George Henry Philip Birch Past Provincial Grand Master gave his congratulations, saying that he had not expected the Ceremony, obviously alluding to the acting W.M., to be as good as it was!
The Festive Board was another triumph for W.Bro. Mickael (Mick) Reuben Cawkwell Ricketts who, not only has a very long name, but is also the Lodge Secretary and Almoner, Chairman of the Provincial Social Committee and Head Chef and Bottle Washer. A very satisfying menu was topped off with an excellent course of Haggis with Neaps and tatties. The toast to the Province was ably despatched by W.Bro. Barry Edge P.Prov.G.S.W. and responded to by W.Bro. John Fred in his own amusing and inimitable fashion. The toast to the candidate Bro. Brandon was in the hands of his proposer, W.Bro. Mick Ricketts who, in presenting him with a Mark tie, said that it was custom in the Thorne Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.1004 for the W.M. to pay for the tie. Being that the current incumbent was only in an acting capacity, perhaps W.Bro. John Fred would oblige in this instance. Cheeky, but it worked and £10 was passed over.
The evening was long, ending at 11.45, but there were no complaints. As the Acting W.M. V.W.Bro. Bob said it was one of the best nights he had enjoyed in 36 years, we all concur, a cracker.
W. Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.