A day to remember for Bro. Andrew Close, the Master Elect, Thursday 5 March at the house of Ricketts, otherwise known as the Masonic Hall, Stonegate, Thorne. This was the day that Mark Master Masons gathered at 5 o’clock to witness his Installation as the Master of the Lodge.
The procedure at Thorne Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.1004 is that the Master and his Wardens are escorted into the Temple. This was undertaken to the dulcet tones of the Organist, W.Bro. Peter Haley, deliberately doing his Eric Morecambe impression, all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order, and then we were on our way. The Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother David Spencer despatched the opening formalities, including the report from the Almoner, W.Bro. Mick Ricketts, who thanked the Brethren for providing him with sufficient funds to provide Christmas presents to all 14 Lodge Widows – he does an excellent job.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell was then admitted, accompanied by Worshipful Brother John Wilberforce Ashcoft, Representative of the Charity Committee together with other dignitaries. These included our own Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Bennett Truswell and Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Bob Corfield. Additionally we welcomed the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Nottinghamshire, Right Worshipful Brother Peter Maxwell Ball, a long standing friend of the Master elect, together with his Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Brian Tindall. It is unusual for Rulers from other Provinces to attend ordinary Mark Lodge meetings and added much to the occasion.
Bro. Close was then installed by W.Bro. Spencer in a most professional and sincere fashion assisted by the Officers of the Lodge. This was an exemplary demonstration of the Installation Ceremony where all who took part can be justly proud of their performance, one of the best that I have witnessed for some time. Unusually, W.Bro. Spencer also presented the Keystone Collaret, virtually word perfect, a duty normally delegated. During the Appointment and Investiture of his Officers, W.Bro. Close appointed Bro. John Brandon as the Representative for the South Yorkshire Association of Installed Masters in the Degree of Mark Master Masons; Bro. John has been a member for some 13 months, well done Bro. John. The Past Masters Jewel was presented to W.Bro. David by W.Bro. Mick Ricketts who assured him that it was a very good second hand jewel, no more to say.
Under the any other business section, a surprise for the Lodge in that Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield, the Provincial Grand Secretary presented the Lodge with a Past Masters Jewel of the Lodge which had been first worn by W.Bro. Henry Higgins, no not of My fair Lady fame, but the Worshipful Master in 1952. He had seen it on E-Bay and obtained it for the Lodge, what a wonderful gesture W.Bro. Alan.
In his response to the Toast to the Province, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell welcomed R.W.Bro. Ball and V.W.Bro. Tindall commenting that he had been delegated to look after them but was still awating the cheque! He asked that all Brethren make a point of putting, Saturday 11 April in their diaries, the date of the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Mark lodge. This is, of course,our opportunity to visit the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro.james Steggles at his Lodge. The 2023 Festival committee is now in place with the Festival to be officially launched in 2016. He emphasised that we must, of course, continue to support and protect the Cleeves and Whitehead trust, a view I know we all share. A further reminder that if a Lodge, not having a candidate, is looking for something different , consider a visit by the Mark demonstartion Team. They are now in place, details with the Secretaries, and will not only provide food for thought but a goodly number of visitors.
W.Bro.John Wilberforce Ashcroft,Representative of the Charity Committee,responding to the Charity Toast, confirmied that the Charity was in good heart but there remained doubts that we are truly finding those in distress who need assistance. In this regard, we are all Almoners and must be vigilant to ensure those in need do not slip through the net. Defibrulators, 32 in total, have now been distributed throughout the Province. Brehren, if they save one life it will have been well worth it and is something of which we should all be immensely proud . Finally, remember your donation to Charity today is relief for another Brother tomorrow.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, the assembled company leaving for their respective abodes, smiling, happy and most certainly enjoying their Mark Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W.