The Installation Meeting of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 110 took place at Westbourne House, Otley on Saturday 9 May at 11.00 a.m. As ever the attendance was phenomenal as befits the largest Royal Ark Mariner Lodge in the Province and one of the largest in the Country.
It was opened by the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Keith Robinson and the usual formalities competently despatched. A ballot was then taken and four joining members were confirmed of which two, W.Bro. Ian Tillett and W.Bro. John Maxwell were presented and dutifully admitted. The Worshipful Commander congratulated them on now being Members of the premier Royal Ark Mariner Lodge in the Province of West Yorkshire but that Old York T.I. would be considered second; along with 19 others!
The Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother, James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. was then admitted accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Dr. Rod Taylor together with past rulers and other distinguished guests. W.Bro. Keith offered the Sceptre to R.W.Bro. James Steggles because, if it were to be accepted, his blood pressure might then return to normal; sadly for the Worshipful Commander, it was returned with thanks.
The installation of the new Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother James S. Gray was then undertaken by W.Bro. Keith in as smooth and effortless fashion as you are ever likely to see. The Keystone Collaret was presented by W.Bro. Keith but the explanation was entrusted to Past Commander, Worshipful Brother Bev Heywood. This was done in a very passionate, individual and committed style with which all present were impressed. The address to the Worshipful Commander was then superbly delivered by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell. Not to be outdone, Worshipful Brother Richard Brown then stepped to the plate and rendered the Exposition. I have seen some very special Brethren deliver this ritual and W. Bro. Richard can most certainly count himself amongst the best, well done.
During the appointment and investiture of the Officers where only two, being the Senior and Junior Wardens are progressive, the Stewards were anointed with Worshipful Brother Tom Wise saying he had only accepted as long as he did not have to serve Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough, W.Bro. John Fred being totally content with that caveat the collar was endowed. This relates to the connections that both have to India and which has given rise to V.W.Bro. John Fred giving W.Bro. Tom a tip, a 10 Rupee note, viz. 10p! This cameo is totally consistent with the superb rapport that exists between Brethren and our Rulers in both the Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Orders, are we not fortunate?
The Toast to the Provincial Grand Master was eloquently delivered by the Worshipful Commander saying that Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. was a man of real quality. A man who cared for us and we cared for him, hear, hear. In his response the Provincial Grand Master thanked W.Bro. Keith for all his efforts over the past year and the leadership he had displayed. He encouraged all present to continue their endeavours in converting Mark Master Masons to the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity. At the present moment of time some 40% of Mark Master Masons in the Province are Royal Ark Mariners which does not compare favourably with some Provinces who boast 60%. Finally he emphasised that at all times we must bear in mind that brotherly love, relief and truth come first and long may it continue. In proposing the Toast to the Worshipful Commander, W.Bro. Keith transferred the Port decanter expressing the wish that W.Bro. Gray would have wisdom to guide him, strength to support him and beauty to adorn his travels. Port does possess phenomenal powers!
Finally I must record that during the appointment and investiture of Officers, the Worshipful Commander said that, he wished but could not appoint, Brother Andrew Brown as Director of Ceremonies. The more perceptive of you are already there, yes Brother, not only has he not yet gone through the Chair but by definition he is also not a member of the Lodge. It is convention that the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies is also the D.C. of the Carl Whitehead Lodge No. 110. No worries, W.Bro. Derek Cope had it all in hand, Bro. Andrew is to be Installed at Dewsbury Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner on the 15 June, will then be proposed and seconded by letter, balloted for in October and immediately take up his duties, very impressive.
Another delightful Masonic occasion, smile, be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W.