Wednesday, 1 July and the end of a very successful voyage in the past year for the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Gerald R Wilde who had elevated five new Royal Ark Mariners whilst also seeing two Joining members come on board.
W.Bro. Gerald, after despatching the opening formalities, warmly welcomed the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C., to the bridge and offered the Sceptre. Unsurprisingly this was politely declined but R.W.Bro Jim did ask if any other Ruler or Past Ruler may be interested. This was then taken up by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell who responded that ‘if it is not good enough for the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master then it is not good enough for me’. That firmly put that to bed!
Attention then turned to the very important task of installing the new Worshipful Commander, Brother Edwin, ‘Ted’, Franckel. The Installation ceremony, in the very capable hands of W.Bro. Gerald was smoothly and seamlessly concluded with the new Worshipful Commander, W.Bro. Edwin Franckel placed in the chair. The Keystone Collaret was explained by Worshipful Brother Michael Minns in superb order, and in his own unique style, including an advert for the Royal Ark Mariner Degree. Could he sometime be the Marketing Manager? The Exposition was superbly presented by Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Brian Morris Batty, as far as I could see, word perfect, not a surprise, he has done this a few times in the past. The Working Tools were presented and explained by Worshipful Brother Terry Roebuck, again word perfect (and I should know as I was acting as his preceptor). Finally, the Address to the new Worshipful Commander was in the safe hands of Worshipful Brother Derick Townend, very well done and a fitting end to a splendid Installation Ceremony.
A unique moment occurred, during the presentation of Grand Lodge Certificates by the Provincial Grand Master to Brothers Norman Goddard, Michael Schofield and Paul Healey, in that Brother Norman kept quiet, a most unusual event! Under Propositions, the Treasurer, Worshipful Brother Marshall Swann gave notice of motion that at the next meeting he would propose an increase in subscriptions from £47 to £50. No real surprise there, except when he said it was to take effect from the 1 September 2016, obviously W. Bro. Marshall must have been a keen Scout, be prepared and all that.
The Past Masters Jewel was presented in eloquent fashion by Worshipful Brother Robert Fraser-Platt who, whilst praising W.Bro. Gerald on an excellent and successful year’s stewardship of the good ship Morley, told him that knowing him had been one of the nicest things in his life. He also quoted Sir Winston Churchill in reminding W.Bro. Gerald that, now that he is Past Commander, ‘this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning’, W.Bro. Bob does have a way with words, it is his theatrical background you know. This literary theme then continued at the Festive Board with the Toast to the Worshipful Commander by his predecessor. W.Bro. Gerald wishing him a most happy and healthy year and then quoting Robert Browning, ’God bless thy year, thy coming in, thy going out, thy travelling about, the rough the smooth, the bright the drear, God bless thy year. May your health be good and your Year a happy one’. I cannot wait for the next one to tread the literary path.
The Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. addressing the Ships company congratulated the Lodge and its sister daylight Lodge, Morley Lodge of Mark Master Masons in that, both having had their 6th birthday, have done rather well 8 new Mark Master Mason and 24 Royal Ark Mariners respectively. I doubt any Lodge in the Province can beat those but perhaps someone knows better. He advised that due to the restriction on Royal Ark mariner Grand Rank Appointments, 5 available to the Province each year, a new Royal Ark Mariner Long Service Award is being created, holders of which will be entitled to Salutations in their own right.
After splicing the main brace, more than once methinks, all adjourned to their respective Tenders and safe passage to their home Ports.
Smile be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.
W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W.