Brighouse Masonic Hall, Monday 11 January 2016, and a wonderful evening at Brighouse Lodge of Mark Master Masons, No. 753. This was despite the floods which had rendered the boilers in the basement unworkable, electric heaters had to suffice on what was a very cold evening. This did not permeate to the Lodge where the warmth of Mark Master Masonry abounded but it did affect the electric sockets which gave rise to ‘virtual’ candles.
The Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Andrew Beardsell, smoothly cruised through the opening and the Agenda up to, and including, item No. 6. The latter covered the declaration of Brother Noel Moroney as Master Elect, he was congratulated by all present, and the Installation is on Monday, 8 February, take my advice and go, you will have a very enjoyable evening. This was followed by the admission of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C., together with his escort of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, this being an Escorted Visit. In total there were 55 Brethren present of which 38 were visitors with 21 in the Escort, W. Bro. Beardsell was delighted to see the Lodge relatively full, and long may it continue.
Attention then focussed on the Advancement of Brother Richard Haigh, consternation initially as he could not be found, no worries the doors being secured, he was located and the ceremony commenced. W.Bro. Beardsell and his team are to be congratulated upon an inspiring, and beautifully choreographed, demonstration of the Advancement Ceremony which was undoubtedly appreciated by the Candidate. Occasional prompts were provided but there were no ritual books, cribs, notes of any kind evident, very unusual in present times and testament to the hard work and practice put in by the Brethren, it does not happen by chance but by a dint of hard work.
The evening appeared to be winding towards the inevitable conclusion when the Provincial Grand Master took the floor. What did this herald? The promotion to Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden of two stalwarts of the Lodge namely, Worshipful Brother Tony Etherington, Chaplain and Almoner and, Worshipful Brother Laurence Crabtree, Charity Steward. These were received with acclamation and pleasure at their reward for many years of service to Brighouse Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 753.
A most welcome, winter warming Festive Board then followed, particularly the Steak pie. In response to his Toast, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles confirmed that the previous Escorted visit to the Lodge had taken place some 8 years ago; with the number of Lodges in the Province this is about the general rule. He then announced that both the Wardens for the year 2016/2017 were present and announced Worshipful Brother Mark Kenyon, Fearnley Lodge No. 58 will be Provincial Grand Senior Warden and Worshipful Brother Michael Holmes Cleeves Lodge No. 618 to be Provincial Grand Junior Warden, hearty applause for both. R.W.Bro. Steggles then went on to explain some of the contribution details surrounding the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival 2023, particularly as relates to individual contributions, these should continue to be made to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, gift aid can then be claimed, payment would then be made to the Mark Benevolent Fund in respect of Charity Collaret’s which he ask that every Brother wears. Regrettably, as I know from my own experience with the Trust, this will not be many, as the Provincial Grand Master confirmed that only 28% of the Brethren contribute, virtually identical to what it was 5 years ago.
A night to remember, smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Master Masonry, whilst giving a thought to charitable contributions.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.