It was a delight to join the Brethren and fellow Visitors at Aries Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 669 to witness the Installation of Brother Algis J Vasis as Worshipful Master. This was undertaken in superb fashion by Worshipful Brother Derek Smart and without the aid of any ritual book, first class W.Bro. Derek.
The Lodge had been opened in due form on Thursday, the 13th of March by W.Bro. Derek at 6.15 p.m. The usual formalities were then observed, surprisingly to most present, the minutes of the previous meeting not containing any amusing anecdotes! This was soon put right as, having dealt with one report regarding visitors with ‘Whom have you there’, immediately the next report followed, to be welcomed by the Tyler saying, ‘What do you want now!!’ Upon this report, W.Bro. Gary Crawford, Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, together with, W.Bro. Stephen Newton Wood, elected Representative of the Charity Committee, was admitted. I have already commended W.Bro. Derek upon his excellent Installation of his successor and he was ably supported by his Officers, including W.Bro. Michael Holgate P.A.G.D.C who presented the Keystone Collarette. It was presented in 1946 to the then Worshipful Master Joseph Martin Sim by Very Worshipful Brother Captain Ralph Gibbs, the then Provincial Grand Secretary. Subsequently, V.W.Bro. Gibbs became a very much loved and respected Provincial Grand Master of this Province. Apparently, some years earlier he had written a booklet detailing, ‘Useful hints on Etiquette and Procedure in Mark Masonry’ and whilst it is now out of print, W.Bro. Holgate had come across a copy which he had reproduced and presented to the Worshipful Master at the Festive Board.
The Festive Board was well received as were the Toasts. W.Bro.Crawford, in his response to the Toast to the Province, reminded us all of the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge to be held at Bradford on the 26th of April and emphasised that there were still places available for Lunch (editor: but unfortunately no longer). Additionally he commented upon the 250 Club which had been instrumental in assisting the Province achieving the 150th Anniversary Keystone Button and was now continuing to successfully raise funds to defray the costs of the Annual Provincial Meeting.
W. Bro. Wood on behalf of the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust thanked the Brethren for their continuing generosity in supporting the Trust which continues to provide relief to past and present Mark Master Masons, their relatives and dependants. He was at pains to reinforce the message that we must be particularly aware of Brethren who no longer come to Lodge. It is not sufficient merely to telephone, a visit is necessary and this may bring other issues to light where the Trust can be of assistance. A wonderful evening was rounded off by a most appropriate response to the visitors toast by W.Bro. Howard Shoesmith, the Worshipful Master of Old York (Time immemorial).