People come and people go, and there were a few significant changes at the Installation of the new Worshipful Master of Rother Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 651 held Wellgate Masonic Hall on 17 March 2016. Principally, this was the departure of the outgoing Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Pilley to install his successor, Brother Christopher, ‘Chris’, Allen. This took place in the presence of the Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Michael Nowell and he was accompanied by Worshipful Brother Paul Leach, Representative of the Charity executive.
The opening of the Lodge had progressed very smoothly and this continued to the Secretary’s report for the year. This is a tradition at Rother Lodge and one I have never seen elsewhere in that the Secretary collates a record of all the significant events during the past year and presents it at the Installation. For the last time, Worshipful Brother Terry Roebuck presented his report. In summary they had enjoyed an excellent year which was unlikely to be repeated with one Candidate, one joining member and numerous promotions in both Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge. This was particularly so in that Worshipful Brother John Morgan was promoted to Past Grand Junior Overseer and therefore became a Very Worshipful Brother, well deserved. The year ended with 45 Members, having lost 5 and gained 2. The Lodge now looks forward to another successful period under the guidance of W.Bro. Chris.
The pattern having been set, the Installation of Worshipful Brother Chris Allen was impeccable by all concerned, not a book in sight and very few prompts. That in itself is not important, what mattered was the effort that had been put in by all, particularly the Installing Master, W. Bro. Geoff Pilley. This change then was followed by W.Bro. John Beaven replacing W.Bro. Terry as Secretary and W.Bro. Ian Truswell departing as Director of Ceremonies to be replaced by W.Bro. Stephen Fletcher. Both these Brethren were long serving in their Roles and will be missed, but will be around to step in if required, I have no doubt that they will be kept busy.
There was a very touching moment at the Festive Board when Right Worshipful Brother James Bennett Truswell, Past Provincial Grand Master presented W.Bro. Terry with a bottle of Gin (envious glances from Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch, it is his favourite medicine) for all his commitment in 12 years as Secretary of the Lodge. W.Bro. Terry, not unsurprisingly, was somewhat taken aback by this gesture but eventually muttered an appropriate response. Well done W. Bro. Terry.
The Toast to the Province was graciously despatched by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Chris. The Provincial Grand Junior Warden, W.Bro. Nowell in his response reminded Brethren of the Provincial Sunday Lunch to take place at the Consort Suite on 15 May and hoped that there would be a significant turn out. He also drew attention to the two Mark Demonstration Teams that function in the Province. Both are now up and running and are there, not only to provide a most useful interlude when no candidate is present, but also bring at least 6 visitors to the Meeting. I can assure Lodges that during visits in the current year, every Lodge has acknowledged that they have learned something to benefit their proceedings, it is worth a try, and we do not charge!
Worshipful Brother Paul Leach in responding to the Toast to the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust emphasised that we are all Almoners and that we should make every effort to ensure that none of our Brethren are overlooked.
Another excellent, well attended Mark Master Masons meeting. It is a delight to write these reports.
Smile, be happy.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.S.G.D