The Masonic hall at Castleford was quite full on Friday the 3rd March to witness the Installation of the new Worshipful Master for the ensuing year. This was rather special, and in my experience, quite unique in that the Master Elect was Worshipful Brother Ron Lewis, previously Master in 1975, and the Installing Master, his son, Worshipful Brother Ian Lewis, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies; I have been at Installations when the father installed the son but never the reverse.
After W. Bro. Ian had dispensed the opening formalities, upon a report, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell was admitted with an appropriate escort. He was offered the gavel and, initially, moved to accept but a quick reassessment said that all the work had been prepared by W. Bro . Ian and he would leave matters in his capable hands. The short form ceremony was then delivered in a very professional manner with charm and dignity, hardly surprising given the stature of the central players. W.Bro. Harry Stogdale came forward to explain the working tools, prefacing the ritual with the comment, ’just in case you have forgotten’, an amusing touch. W.Bro. Ian then presented the Keystone collarette and if that was not enough did the address to the Overseers, that to the Worshipful Master by W. Bro. Noel Roberts, the Wardens by W.Bro. Fred Knowles and the Brethren by W. Bro. Richard Puttrell, all virtually word perfect and with no Ritual Book in sight other than that held by the Preceptor, what a nice change. In conclusion, W. Bro. Ian said, ‘That concludes the Ceremony of Installation, you will now rule and direct your lodge for all the Brethren’. The reply’ Well said Son’, said it all.
Off to the Festive Board and an absolute delight, Meat and potato Pie like my Mother used to make, I would go back to Legiolium for that alone, apparently this was the request of W. Bro. Ron, great choice. Responding to the Provincial Toast, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Richard, congratulated W. Bro. Ron on attaining the chair some 42 years after the first outing in 1975 and some 60 years after Advancement into the Mark Degree and this he celebrates in November, I think that I might be back at Legiolium then, are you going to join me? The Lodge also celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018, another reason for a good night out at Castleford.
Bro. Richard then drew attention to the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, West Yorkshire to take place at Bradford Grammar School on the 22nd April. This is an annual event to which all Mark Master Masons are welcome, It is incumbent upon the Worshipful Master of each Lodge, the face of the Lodge, to be present and it is hoped that he will encourage his Wardens to join him and, hopefully some Junior Brethren for a day they will not forget in a hurry, see you all there.
The Toast to the Charities was well proposed by Worshipful Brother Paul Windeatt who emphasised that Charity was not all about money. Many of our Brethren need something far more priceless and that is your time. Just a phone call to enquire about health or better still a visit and a cup of tea. These break the day up for many of our elderly Brethren and their families, it would be nice if every Brother just took time out once a week to contact a Brother in need, it would make a world of difference and just as important , ensure that we practiced what we preach.
Worshipful Brother Stephen Wood, Elected Member of the Charity Committee, in responding confirmed that an increase in standing order contributions had now taken the percentage to 38% of the total number of Brethren in the Province, excellent news as for many years it had stagnated at 28%; it does of course mean that some 900 do not!! During the Festival, which is a marathon not a sprint, there is a need for each Lodge to achieve Grand Patron Goal Award to ensure that the Province will also qualify, no doubt some Lodges will help others in need, I have no fear that we will succeed.
Finally the Toast to W. Bro Ron by his Son who reminded us that they had met some 58 years ago, he does not remember it too well. He was introduced to Freemasonry by Dad on the latter’s birthday, also noting that this is W. Bro. Ron’s 90th year, he does not look it. The Worshipful Master said that he was looking forward to his year with an excellent team behind him but stressed that there was a need for candidates. With that in mind his first meeting in charge will be a ceremony of Enactment. Dead right W. Bro. Ron get them working straight away.
The assembled company then dispersed having enjoyed a wonderful evening of Masonic fellowship; no doubt there will be many others at Legiolium in the next 12 months.
Smile, be happy, and enjoy your Mark Masonry.
Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.