Yes, the revolving door is well and truly at work in Copley Lodge. Worshipful Brother David Wadeley, the Worshipful Master was about to vacate the seat he had occupied for the past two years. This was to be occupied by Worshipful Brother Keith Derry, Immediate Past Master, and Master in 2014-15, also the Master elect.
In attendance was the Provincial Grand Senior Warden, Worshipful Brother Mark Kenyon who was accompanied by Worshipful Brother John Maxwell, Elected Member of the Charity committee. When they had been duly ensconced ad salutations despatched, proceedings commenced. This was by nature a short ceremony but nonetheless it was most sincerely and professionally handled by W. Bro. David who also dealt with the presentation and explanation of the Keystone Collaret, usually delegated, well done. W. Bro. David. It should be noted that he did receive some help, Worshipful Brother Bob Winterflood flawlessly explaining the Working Tools, please note W. Bro. Bob has been Worshipful Master of 3 different Mark Lodges so he should know what he is doing. The Addresses were equally comprehensively delivered by Worshipful Brother John Hendry to the Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton to the Wardens, Worshipful Brother John Mitchell to the Overseers and the Brethren by W. Bro. Mark Kenyon, congratulations to all.
Bro. Keith then appointed and invested his Officers, no surprises and good to see a clear succession being established and Brother Lance Johnson, a Mason of some two years, placed as Master Overseer and continuing as Treasurer. This he first received in 2016 and I did ask if he had got to grips with the task, he is a Chartered Accountant, no issues he now has the system that he requires. This had obviously thrown up a need and he gave notice of motion that he would be asking the Brethren to approve an increase in subscriptions at the next meeting, could they be having second thoughts!! Additionally W. Bro. Hendry presented a Grand Lodge Certificate to Brother William Manders and there was a proposal for a Joining Member; this was a Worshipful Brother Stuart Burrows who bore more than a passing resemblance to a Past Master of Integrity Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.110, not surprising in that W. Bro. Stuart was the Master in 2001. Now returning to the Mark fold, good to see him.
The Festive Board was well received by all and the Toast to the Province competently given by the Senior Warden, Brother Richard Hirst. W. Bro. Mark, responding, reminded the Brethren of the up and coming Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, West Yorkshire on Saturday 22nd April. He emphasised that this is our opportunity to join our Provincial Grand Master at his Lodge, if you have not already done so, book in you will not be disappointed. He also reminded all that it is the wish of our Provincial Grand Master that, when signing the Lodge Register we append our mark after our signature which we were exhorted to do at our advancement, a nice touch. Finally he urged all Junior Brethren to dream as one day they could be in the same position as he, a poor soul from Manchester, that we would all agree with, and become the Provincial Grand Senior Warden of the Province. Undoubtedly correct but for all his modest demeanour, W. Bro. Mark is a most capable, sincere, caring individual with a wicked sense of humour as members of Fearnley Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 58 will testify.
Worshipful Brother Trevor Dickinson, proposed the toast to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and the Mark Benevolent Fund concluding by handing a cheque amounting to £500 to W. Bro. Maxwell. In acknowledging the generous gesture W. Bro. John confirmed that it will go to the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival, all Lodge donations are to be directed to the Festival, individual giving via the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust to ensure recovery of Gift Aid tax for those who are standard rate tax payers. He confirmed that the Trust continues the work demanded by its Merger Scheme and that two Almoners Luncheons will take place this year together with a holiday to Llandudno. The Province is also taking part in the M. B. F. Charity Walk which follows the route of the ‘Princess of Wales, covering seven miles through four of the Royal Parks of London. It is suggested that donations are made electronically through the online giving portal at westyorks.mbfwalk.org.uk, as I write £27344 has been donated, what an achievement. The Funds for the Festival will, ultimately, be given to the M.B. F. who have recently announced a major grant to the St John’s Ambulance service to replace the 52 vehicles supplied by the M.B.F in 2000, this for a sum of £3m, money well spent I think you will agree.
A very happy and contented group were ready to depart when a slip of the tongue by W. Bro Keith who said ’we will all meet again’, prompted a rendering of ‘We’ll meet again’, sadly not of Vera Lynn quality, but it did round off a most pleasant evening.
Be Happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.