A celebration of Mark Bonhommie at Dartmouth lodge of M.M.M. No. 545.

I never fail to experience a warm glow when I enter the Masonic Hall at Slaithwaite, it is not related to alcohol but to the greeting all visitors receive in this delightful outpost of the Colne Valley. Yes I am undoubtedly biased having become both a Craft and a Mark Mason in the village and thoroughly enjoyed 4 years working there.

This meeting on Wednesday, 5th October was no exception but it was a bit special as the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Knott was about to release the ties that bound him and Install Brother Trevor Kinvig as Worshipful Master. The Lodge being properly opened and the usual formalities despatched, but not until some gnashing of teeth and wailing at the accounts paid, which the Treasurer had requested be confirmed. They were approved but they do not like spending money in ‘Slawit’

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Before events could proceed, the Provincial Grand Senior Warden, Worshipful Brother Mark Kenyon, Representative of the Provincial Grand Master was admitted, he was accompanied by Worshipful Brother Stephen Wood, elected Member of the Charity Committee. After the Master Elect had been duly obligated, the Signs and secrets were delivered by Worshipful Brother Alan Morson in a most sincere fashion which also applied to his presentation of a Past Masters jewel later in the proceedings to W.Bro. Alan Knott, then Immediate Past Master. The working tools were beautifully dealt with by the Acting Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Lawrie Sutcliffe, no surprise, he has done it before, he has been around as long as me, thank God heh!

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The explanation of the Key Stone Collarette was down to Worshipful Brother John Madigan which was faultless. He is a bit of Star at Dartmouth as he is the Director of Ceremonies, the Purveyor, the Representative of the Huddersfield, Halifax & Districts Installed Masters Association and the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund festival co-ordinator, I cannot believe he has time for anything else, but I know that he has Holidays!!

Finally I have to report that I have seldom heard the Addresses performed to such a high standard, congratulations to W. Bro. Richard Brooke, W.Bro. Alan Ball, oh must make a note he is a Huddersfield Town supporter, runaway leaders of the Championship, sorry could not stop myself. W. Bro. John Madigan, yes his name does keep cropping up and W. Bro Mark Kenyon, an engagingly quiet, soft delivery. The Worshipful Master then appointed and Invested his Officers, a number of times for W. Bro. John. The remaining agenda items completed, all adjourned to the Festive Board.

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Unsurprisingly, a delicious meal, particularly the roast beef, saw us all replete and ready to be entertained. This was the debut for the Provincial Grand Senior Warden but W, Bro. Mark is no stranger to these meetings having been an Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. Accordingly he responded to the Toast to the Province in confident fashion firstly by drawing attention to the Annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Province of West Yorkshire which will be held at Bradford Grammar School on Saturday, 22nd April 2017. This is our opportunity to visit the Provincial Grand Masters Lodge but he only has one meeting, Ergo please put a note in your diaries and, Worshipful Masters endeavour to take with you your Wardens and Brethren, the latter being particularly welcome. He further reminded all of the value of the Web site, news of past events and details of future meetings etc. In respect of the latter if Lodges are arranging fund raising events, please advise the Communications Manager, Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, who will ensure it is placed on the web site but just as important will then include it in the Newsletter which will be forthcoming. Finally he urged all to consider the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners just as delightfully friendly as the Mark Degree, and a very interesting story of which you will hear more if you join.

dartmouth-oct-16-9-of-9The Charity steward, Worshipful Brother Bob Shaw presented the toast to the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust culminating in placing a cheque for £1,000 in the hands of W. Bro. Stephen Wood who was, for a moment quite taken aback. He soon recovered to thank the Lodge Brethren for their generosity. He stressed that despite the significant reduction in Income the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust is committed to maintaining its programme and the Annual Holiday will again take place in Llandudno in 2017 and the Almoners Luncheons will continue to be held in Spring and Autumn, the next on Monday, 7th November. A plea was again expressed that Brethren consider their Donations to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust by standing order. As I am sure many of you are now aware only 28% of Brethren in the Province of West Yorkshire have given that commitment at present, no different than 7 years ago, please give it another thought.

Finally a magnificent moment to savour, there were three Worshipful Masters in the Chair present at the same Installation. They were W. Bro. Tom Jenkins, Truth Lodge No. 137. W. Bro. Howard Seed, Eland Lodge No. 493 and W.Bro. Richard Walker, Prince Edward Lodge No. 14. That could be record for Huddersfield, Halifax and Districts I.M.A., unless someone tells me different, by the way I sincerely hope more than 3 has been seen somewhere, I cannot be at every Installation.

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What a wonderful Mark Masonic occasion, I cannot wait to go back, that by the way is how I feel after all our meetings. We are lucky, Smile, be happy, you are Mark Master Masons.

W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.