A good attendance at the Masonic Hall, Swinton,to witness the Advancement of Brother Jeremy Paul Neal, a member of Gothic Craft lodge No.5238, he has not strayed far in his quest for Mark Masonry; his proposer being W.Bro.John Pease and seconder, W.Bro.Jim Stanley, who also acted as Senior Deacon.
The usual formalities dutifully despatched, culminating in a deep sigh by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Ralph Adey, he turned his attention to the candidate. This was a ceremony that will not only be remembered by Bro. Neal but also by all who were present. The ritual was generally superb, hardly surprising given the quality and experience of some of those who took part, W.Bro.Stanley and Worshipful Brother Corbridge as Senior and Junior Deacons, affectionately known as ‘Fred Flintstone’ and ‘Barney Rubble with contributions from other dinosaurs and the odd Fossil. With that in mind, the Signs and Secrets by Worshipful Brother Charles Lindsay, Tools by Worshipful Brother Jack Anderson, Address to the Badge by Brother Ian Wright and conclusion by Worshipful Brother Robert Davis, all superbly delivered. I must, however, single out the Overseers, Brothers Alan Bartrop, Sean Cronin and Ian Sunderland not only for the spoken word but for the examination of materials which qualifies them to be members of the Provincial Demonstration Team if they ever wish to be involved. It perhaps was not surprising; W.Bro.Charles is a member of the Team and latterly has taken the role of Master Overseer.
All the while, W.Bro,Ralph played his part, he may not be the best of ritualists which he acknowledges himself, but he evidences a serene authority and composure that communicates to all the Brethren, this ensures an atmosphere of unity and brotherly love . When he came to closing the Lodge he said how much he had enjoyed the evening and that he hoped that we had all found it as pleasurable as him, W.Bro.Ralph we had in spades. Last comment, when Bro. Neal was escorted to a seat in the Lodge, he was left with these parting words from the Senior Deacon, ‘you are on your own now lad’. Typical of the humour and thespian undertone I have always relished at Gothic.
A delicious Festive Board was heartily consumed, lashings of tender Roast beef. Brother Neil Park, the Senior Warden had the honour, for the last time, to propose the Toast to the Worshipful Master, you guessed it, the last time because at the next meeting he will be installed as W.M. for the ensuing year. Well merited, he is an experienced and highly regarded South Yorkshire Mason. He thanked W.Bro.Ralph for his leadership over the past year; the response unsurprisingly succinct,’ I look forward to working with you next year Bro. Neil’. W.Bro Brian Pease gave the toast to Bro.Jeremy who is a member of the Scouting fraternity of which there are many in our ranks. He commended him to the Lodge as a man who has all the attributes of a Freemason and will continue to demonstrate them in the Mark Degree. In return, Bro. Jeremy confirmed that he had enjoyed the ceremony but particularly the welcome that he had received from all present. Yes that is the Mark Degree of which we are all proud.
Delighted to see a visiting Master in the Chair, Worshipful Brother Rick Foster of Britannia Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.53. Perhaps we will see more Masters in the Chair on our travels, as 2018 progresses.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.