The oldest Mark Lodge in the Province and, by definition, one of the oldest in the country, Installed a new Worshipful Master on Wednesday 20 May.
The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Garry Milnes and the opening formalities expeditiously despatched. Upon a report, the Past Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother James Stanley was then admitted together with Worshipful Brother F. Leslie Davy, Elected member of the Charity Committee, both for the last time in their respective roles.
W.Bro. Garry then invested his successor, Bro. Philip G. Howell, a recently retired Solicitor, in a professional and very sincere manner, particularly the occasional personal remark to assure that all was proceeding according to plan. This was until he attempted to endow W.Bro. Phillip with his apron, much tugging took place and we were assured that it had fitted perfectly 4 hours earlier, the thought occurred that many pies must have been consumed in the interim, shocking! The Ceremony was a credit to the Lodge and particularly the Brethren who rendered the Addresses, a superb example of ritual at its best, in fact as good as Old York T.I.
A sumptuous festive board followed, particularly the starter of Smoked Mackerel and beetroot salad. The toast to the Province was eloquently dealt with by W.Bro. Paul Smith, particularly when he said that the dedication of the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge had an underlying effect of encouraging visiting, support and fellowship. superb words, I think that he has booked his promotion.
In his response W.Bro. Jim Stanley, thanked all the Brethren who had supported the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, West Yorkshire Province. The changed format at the Festive Board had most certainly enhanced the atmosphere. He also congratulated those who had received Honours to find that W.Bro. Martin Ibberson, Provincial Grand Steward, was not able to be present, very sad; he had missed a cracking day. This theme recurred, when W.Bro. Jim then spoke about the Mark 250 Club which was drawn at the Provincial meeting, which if W.Bro. Ian had attended he would have been able to receive his cheque, had he been entitled to one. The surplus from the 250 Club is now being allocated to the 150 Anniversary Fund and thereafter will be available to the 2023 West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival. He then drew attention to the Provincial Year Book, a very useful reference tool, and to the fact that sponsorship to alleviate the costs is always welcome. This can be in the form of corporate, Lodge or individual bequests. Finally he reminded all, but particularly W.Bro. Martin that the Annual provincial Meeting in 2016 will take place at Bradford on 2 April and looked forward to seeing him there.
W.Bro. Les Davy responding to the toast to the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust emphasised that the trustees still have concern that Brethren in need and their relatives and dependants may yet be slipping thorough the net. Please be vigilant, most assuredly if a Brother either stops coming to Lodge or visits become infrequent. The Almoners Luncheons are a highlight of the year with the next set for Tapton Hall on 7 September. He also reminded Brethren that a most tax efficient method of supporting the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust is by Legacies and the Trustees have a suitable clause to be inserted in Wills if anyone was interested. He then bowed out after11 years as a Charity Representative – very many thanks for all your effort and dedication, W.Bro. Les. The following photo is not as you might think, James Bond, but W.Bro. Les in his vintage MG at a rally and apparently being saluted by the helicopter.
Finally, I have commented on numerous occasions about the lack of attendance by Masters in the Chair. A delight, therefore, to see V.W.Bro. Derek Cope, Eland No. 493, W.Bro. John Daniels, Truth No.137 and W.Bro. Keith Bradley, Fearnley No. 58, all setting an example I trust others will follow.
Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Master Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W.