A packed agenda of nineteen items welcomed Brethren and visitors to Castleford Masonic Hall. Firstly there was the Investiture of Worshipful Brother Paul Brunner, the Master Elect, and then the presentation of 50th Certificates of membership of the Mark Degree to Worshipful Brother John Pringle, the Installing Master. The latter opened the Lodge in due form a ballot was taken for Bro. Christopher Jackson, two candidates awaiting advancement after two in the current year, Legiolium is on the UP.
A report then brought forward the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Vause who declared that the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles was outside and eager to join the celebrations. He entered accompanied by Worshipful Brother Chris Oldfield, Elected member of the Charity Executive and an appropriate escort. The stage was set and W.Bro. Paul was presented by W. Bro. Ron Lewis, a delight to see him present. Brethren below the Rank of a Past Master excused for a short period, the Master elect was obligated, invested with the Collar and Jewel of his Office, and placed in the Chair by W,Bro. John. The Brethren were then re-admitted whereupon W.Bro. Paul was then proclaimed as Master for the ensuing year. Worshipful Brother Harry Stogdale then explained the Working Tools in good order after which attention turned to the Appointment and Investiture of the Officers of the Lodge for the next year. Suffice to say that members are somewhat thin on the ground and two dispensations were read out for those occupying two Senior Offices, this did not include W.Bro. Ian Lewis who had three during the evening, multi tasking is necessary at this Lodge
The Addresses were the presented as follows:
Worshipful Master by W.Bro. Noel Roberts now the Lodge D.C.
Wardens by W.Bro. Harry Stogdale,
Overseers by W.Bro. John Pringle and the
Brethren by the P.G.M., R.W.Bro. Jim,
All the above can be justly proud of their efforts and R.W.Bro. Jim is improving with practice!!.
The time had now arrived for the presentation of the Certificates of 50 years continued membership of the Mark Degree and R.W.Bro. Jim called W.Bro. John to the floor. He firstly explained that due to circumstances it could not be done nearer the anniversary in October 2019, John having been advanced in 1969. He then held the Chair in 1976, Installed by W.Bro. Ron Lewis , taking It for the second time in 2019, again Installed by W. Bro, Ron Lewis. Entirely appropriate therefore, that Ron presented the Grand lodge Certificate followed by R.W.Bro. Jim with the Provincial Certificate. Remaining business duly processed, the Lodge was closed and the Festive Board beckoned and was eagerly despatched.
W.Bro. Paul commenced the Toast list eventually reaching that point where it was his duty to submit the Toast to the PGM. He recalled happy times when he was the Secretary at St Hiev Lodge, requiring guidance from the Secretariat, one in particular, yes R.W.Bro. Jim, who was most helpful and approachable. In response, Jim also remembered the conversations which were often lengthy and detailed. He reminded all of the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons , West Yorkshire on Saturday, 18th April. It is our opportunity to attend his Lodge, reciprocating the visits he makes to us. Touching on the 4 R’s initiative, he confirmed the need to have a Co-ordinator to bring the various threads together. Whilst membership has been falling only at circa 2% per annum, were that to continue for the next fifteen years we would see Lodges closing and lose the Office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master. All must embrace the way forward doing whatever they can to achieve success, preserving ‘The Magic of the Mark’
Turning to the M.B.F., a reminder was appropriate that, in the past year, the Charity has made numerous donations to Charitable causes in the Province of West Yorkshire. These have totalled in excess of two hundred thousand pounds to date including a Support Vehicle for St. John Ambulance, a rapid response vehicle for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and, in April, a refurbished Barge for the Safe Anchor Trust, as he then said, ‘be proud of what we do.’ W.Bro. Ian Lewis, yes they worked him right to the very end, proposed the toast to the Charities reminding us that the Cleeves and Whitehead still provides a rapid response to those in need in a caring, understanding and supportive manner. The responder was W.Bro. Chris Oldfield, who confirmed that the C & W continues to meet all its obligations and two Almoners Luncheons will take place this year in addition to the holiday at St Annes, last year forty six Brethren and dependants benefiting. The C & W is unique, no other Province has it’s own dedicated Charity, all down to you Brethren. In respect of the Festival fundraising, keep in mind that it is not necessary to have big events, small and happy will suffice. Also do not forget the Masonic Cycle Challenge, details on the web site.
Finally, delighted to see tha some Worshipful Masters have heeded the request by the PGM to meet the obligations of their Office and visit. Worshipful Brother Stuart Highfield from Pontefract Lodge of M.M.M. No. 878 was in attendance together with the Senior and Junior Vice Presidents of the Leeds & District I.M.A., W.Bro. David Lees and W.Bro. David Todd.
Another wonderful evening of the ‘Magic of the Mark’.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.