Nothing to do with the Wuthering Heights of Bronte fame but undeniably an evening to savour. The Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Enrico Vendettuoli, and it took some time to get my tongue around that, was ready, but not really looking forward to the Ceremony of Installing his successor, Brother David Russell, Master Elect. This was because he, in his own words, cannot do ritual; he did however lead his Lodge wonderfully in what was a Ceremony of which they all can be justly proud.
When the Lodge had been duly opened, the Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Worshipful Brother Michael Holmes was admitted together with Worshipful Brother Paul Leach, elected member of the Charity Committee. Attention then turned to Bro. David who was presented by his proposer Worshipful Brother Mike Tyson and the Team got to work with Worshipful Brother John Boocock obligating Bro. David, Worshipful Brother Steven Ayton who was the seconder for W. Bro. David,, the signs and Secrets, Worshipful Brother David Key, the working tools and Worshipful Brother Neil Davies the keystone collarette, all of them without a book in sight. This continued with the addresses, that to the Worshipful Master by W. Bro. John Boocock, the Wardens, Worshipful Brother John Keighley, the Overseers, Worshipful Brother Jim Acton and the Brethren in the safe hands of W. Bro. Holmes; not forgetting Worshipful Brother John Barnes, the hardworking Secretary and doubling as Organist. This was very much a Team event with the Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Clive Hawkins, always at hand to ensure a smooth passage.
Officers for the year Appointed and Invested, W. Bro. Enrico was presented with his Past Masters Jewel by, yes you guessed it, W. Bro. John Boocock, he was everywhere, a massive contribution. He reminded W. Bro. Enrico that he had advanced two candidates, had two functions but much more importantly, whilst every Master brings something to the Chair, W. Bro. Enrico had brought harmony, brotherly love and friendship. There can be no higher testament than that, in other words he practices the precepts of the order, not merely paying lip service; it was evident to me as a visitor that there was a great deal of love and affection for him, a true Mark Masons legacy.
The Festive Board was all any Mark Mason could want a delicious mushroom soup, Roast Beef and a sponge pudding and custard, though not the latter for me, watching the waist you see!!. The toast to the Province was capably dispatched by the Senior Warden, Brother John Harrison who applied about the right level of grovelling concluding that Lodges owe a great debt of gratitude to their Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, I think he will go far. W. Bro. Michael Holmes, having congratulated the Worshipful Master on his preferment added a reminder that all Mark Master Masons have a Mark, unique to them in their Lodge. This can be used after their signature in the Lodge register and it is the wish of our Provincial Grand Master that we all look to follow this custom For those who may not yet have made their mind up, the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons West Yorkshire will take place at Bradford Grammar School on Saturday 22nd April. Masters are expected to attend and it is appropriate for them to be accompanied by their Wardens, perhaps also by Junior Brethren for whom it would be an eye opener.
Worshipful Brother Tom ward proposed the Toast to the Charities, at the same time presenting a cheque for £1100 to the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival. This was warmly accepted by Worshipful Brother Paul leach who emphasised that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust was in good health and remained committed to its core objectives; to this end two Almoners luncheons will take place one in April, the, other in November and the Holiday will again take place in Llandudno in June, The funds from the Festival will accrue to the Mark Benevolent Fund which, whilst providing modest support to individual Brethren is responsible for the mobile Chemotherapy units being made available around the Country. We have also just been made aware of the commitment of over £3m to replace the fleet of St John Ambulance vehicles, a project very worthy of our involvement.
Once again it was a pleasure to see visiting Masters, Worshipful Brother David Anderson of Worth Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 727 who responded to the Toast to the visitors and Worshipful Brother Richard Todd, Worshipful master of Old York Lodge of Mark Master Masons T.I..
Another example of Mark Master Masonry at its best, we are lucky:
Keep smiling You are Mark Master Masons.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.