Monday, 15 June and the Crew, together with some press ganged visitors, assembled at the Masonic Hall, Halifax Road , Dewsbury to witness a new draft installed. This was to see Worshipful Brother Martin Charlesworth relinquish his post as Skipper, a job he has undertaken with great credit for two years, to take up a desk job.
After the anchor had been raised and the lines cast off, W.Bro. Martin welcomed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Dr. Rod Taylor, to whom he offered the Sceptre. This was gracefully declined but W.Bro. Dr. Rod did comment that it was a pleasure, to see before him, a splendid crew of salty Sea Brethren. W.Bro. Martin then dutifully installed his successor, Worshipful Brother Andrew J. Brown in a sincere and caring fashion during which, to the amusement of all, he expressed great delight in remembering the Lodge number was 641. The address to the Worshipful Master was in the capable hands one of the longstanding midshipmen, Worshipful Brother Edwin Philip Radford Pugh, very professional and (his words) almost perfect. Worshipful Brother David Taylor also delivered the Presentation of the Key Stone Collaret in impressive fashion, to be followed by Worshipful Brother Chris Oldfield presenting the Past Masters Jewel to W.Bro. Martin together with the grateful thanks of all the crew for his efforts over the past two years in steering the ship through stormy waters.
After the remaining business had been expeditiously despatched, all adjourned to the Wardroom to see what the Galley had to offer. The victuals, excellent fare, consumed with a glass or two of Dewsbury Grog, attention turned to the Toasts. The Toast to the Province was in the capable hands of W.Bro. Chris Oldfield, responded to by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Dr. Rod Taylor. He noted the excellent turn out, some 37 present, and particularly the number of Brethren, this all bodes well for future voyages. Whilst praising the quality of the events and social life that we particularly enjoy in the Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Orders, he stressed the importance of our ceremonies. If we did not have the latter we would not survive and it is paramount that the experience for the candidate is foremost and that we do well to transmit, not just the words, but the meaning. There is also still work to be done to encourage those Mark Master Masons who are yet to enjoy the Royal Ark Mariner experience to join our fraternity, some 40% in the Province of West Yorkshire compared with some 60% elsewhere.
The response to the visitors Toast, eloquently proposed by Brother Brian Page, was in the hands of Worshipful Brother Derek Cope. He explained the need behind the haste in requiring W.Bro. Andrew Brown being parachuted into Dewsbury Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 641 and that he had with him an Application form, duly completed in respect of the Carl Whitehead Lodge No. 110, all that was required was for W.Bro. Andrew to append his signature which was applied, much to W.Bro. Derek’s relief. That was until a few moments later when, reference to the meeting of Carl Whitehead R.A.M. in October, W.Bro. Andrew hoped that ‘Mickey Mouse’ would accept the Office of Director of Ceremonies – Whoops! – quick check of signature confirmed that it was a joke.
I cannot finish the report without mentioning the excellent Almoners Report from Worshipful Brother Mark Kenyon, specifically his report upon Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield with his knee problems but surely most of us already knew this, W.Bro. Mark pointing out that W.Bro. Alan has told everyone he knows at least 3 times. This was followed by reference to Worshipful Brother Philip Oldfield and similar knee problems but he added that losing some weight might help. His final comment was, ‘if you think it, you should say it’, which he had to our amusement and that of W.Bro’s Alan and Philip.
Another Royal Ark mariner night for all to remember and we all steered a steady course home. Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.