The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

Centenary Meeting of the Halifax Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 706.

Wednesday 13th November 2019, at the Masonic Hall, Southwood, and an excellent attendance witnessed the Centenary meeting of the Lodge. It was opened by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Andrew Watts, the routine agenda items confirmed, a Ballot was taken for Joseph McNamee which proved positive, An advancement beckons in January, put it in your diary and not only support the Lodge but especially the candidate.

Upon a report, the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. John Vause entered and confirmed that the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. James Steggles  G.M.R.A.C. was without and demanded admission, No arguments or delay and he entered together with his Deputy, W.Bro. Alan Oldfield, his Assistant, W.Bro. Trevor Bolton and an escort of Provincial officers of the year.  The Gavel was offered and, on this occasion, taken; the Acting Provincial Officers then took post. 

W.Bro.Martin Longbottom read the minutes of the Consecration Meeting and attention turned to W.Bro. Graham Pearce who gave a brief history, here are some of the more important extracts; at the Installation of Worshipful W.Bro Herbert Turner at Fearnley Lodge of MM No58 on the 14th February 1919  the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Frederick Cleeves  intimated his desire to see a daughter Lodge formed from Fearnley No58, who at that time had eighty eight members, what we would give for that now, At another meeting on 17th September 1919  twenty eight names  were put forward as Founders of the new Lodge and by the 25th September the petition had been signed by all the Founders and everything had been submitted to Grand Lodge.

R.W.Bro. Cleeves then confirmed that the consecration would take place on 15 Oct 1919 assuming everything was in place. The then Provincial Grand Secretary would supply the Consecration Materials, the Crest has been agreed,  music and hymns agreed, Lodge books ordered and, most importantly, Menu determined. Unfortunately due to a strike by railwaymen this meeting had to be cancelled. Consecration and Installation rituals both confirmed, it was decided that it would be held on the 12th November 1919. Just one short year after the guns fell silent on the Western Front, the troops had been returning home, many of course would never come home, their bodies never discovered, their final resting place wherever they fell. So here we are at 4pm Wednesday 12th November 1919 to Celebrate the Consecration of the Halifax Lodge MMM No706 in the Province of West Yorkshire

The Consecration of Halifax Lodge No706 brought the number of Mark Lodges in the Province up to 24 and 15 RAM Lodges.  A reminder of some of the past Members, of which many of us will have fond memories; R.W.Bro. James Bramley Morley Joined 19 March 1958 Lodge Secretary in 1973 is Master in 1967. .V.W.Bro.Victor Frank David Smith Joined 12/09/1962 Master 1975/ 85/ 99 and W.Bro. Desmond Ross joined 09/01/1974 Master 1981 2001/2002l.

The Centenary Warrant was read out by the Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Fraser McPherson and presented to the W.M., W.Bro Andrew Watts by R.W.Bro. Jim. The Brethren of Halifax Mark Lodge No706 then assembled and the PGM presented them individually with their Centenary Jewels. At the Festive Board  W.Bro. Andrew presented a Centenary Jewel to R.W.Bro. Jim and R W Bro Brian Batty as a memento of the occasion. A Banner Dedication then took place before which,  R.W.Bro. Jim explained had been repaired by Marilyn Longbottom , who was the daughter of the late R.W.Bro James Bramley Morley and wife of Martin the Lodge Secretary,,  especially for this occasion.   The Acting.Prov.G.Chaplain, W Bro. Paul Leach thengave a prayer and the P.G.M. rededicated the Banner and  presented it to W.Bro .Andrew. 

The remaining business on the Summons was then smoothly undertaken and all adjourned to the Festive Board. The Toast to the Halifax Lodge was submitted by R.W.Bro. Jim who thanked all for attending and W.Bro’s. Martin Longbottom, Graham Pearce and Allan Fisher for all their hard work in preparation, undoubtedly R.W.Bro. Bram would have been very pleased and proud of all concerned, This is a strong Lodge, very proud of its heritage including one hundred and one Masters, yes it does tally, and many Candidates but, most importantly it has survived-and those who are its present custodians now look forward to the next 100 Years.

A celebration that all who witnessed will treasure for many years to come.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, PGSD.

Communications Manager.

A special night for Haywra Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 525, 5th November 2019

Well, not just for Brother Nigel Dyson, the Master Elect but also for the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, see later. The Lodge firstly received a Eulogy in respect of W.Bro.Gerald Bickerdike. given in very warm and sincere tones by Brother Tim Wilkinson and the brethren stood in respect of departed merit.

The Lodge was then opened in due form by the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Andrew Darling, the Minutes were confirmed and the Accounts were received. A report then heralded the arrival of the Dep. Prov.G.D.C., W.Bro. Andrew Brown who advised that the Personal Representative of the PGM, Worshipful Brother John Vause, Prov.G.D.C., his Boss, together with Worshipful  Brother Mark Kenyon, Elected member of the Charity Committee was without and wished to be admitted.  This was agreed and W.Bro.John was warmly welcomed by the W.M. for his first visit to the Lodge in this capacity, he is a Member of Haywra Lodge of MMM, and it is only the third time that I can recall this happening. W.Bro. John acknowledged the welcome by saying that it was an undiluted pleasure to be present.

Bro.Nigel was then presented by W.Bro. Philip Ireland, the necessary questions posed and appropriate answers given following which all the Officers were thanked for their support in the past year at which point those below the rank of an Installed Master retired for a short time. An Installed Board was established and Andrew obligated his successor in immaculate form, followed by Signs and Secrets, and placed in the Chair, No ritual book in sight and only a rare prompt,  this continued when the Installed Board was closed and Brethren admitted when W.Bro. Nigel was Proclaimed the Worshipful Master of the Haywra Lodge of MMM. No. 525.

W.Bro. Ian Mackenzie explained the Working Tools,, polished and professional with Andrew then winding up proceedings with the transfer of the Warrant, Constitutions and regulations, Bye laws, Keystone Collarette and Grand Patron Charity Collarette.  An exemplary display by all. The officers for the ensuing year were then Appointed and Invested, the only surprise W.Bro. Anthony Smith retiring as Secretary, congratulations upon a job well done .

The Addresses were submitted as follows;

Worshipful Master ​​​W.Bro. Roy Schofield,

Wardens​​​​​ W.Bro. Ian Mackenzie,

Overseers​​​​ W.Bro. Bob Boyd and

Brethren​​​​​ W.Bro, John Vause

all as impressive as those who had gone before.

No rest for the wicked when W.Bro. John Vause rose again to present the Past Masters Jewel to W.Bro. Andrew, very well deserved for a successful year in Office, The remaining agenda items were then swiftly despatched and the Lodge duly closed. All adjourned for suitable sustenance where upon the Toasts were submitted. 

That to the Province eloquently put by W.Bro. Roy Schofield  thanking the Provincial Grand Officers for all the support that they provide and their advice and direction, particularly to young members, Suitably obsequious, it should stand him in good stead down the line. Replying W.Bro. John emphasised the wish of the PGM that we should all endeavour to learn the Ritual and dispense with the Book; as he said ‘put the work in and you will reap the rewards’ He also recommended visiting other Lodges not only do you learn a lot but you make Mark Masonic friends for life.  A reminder was then given regarding the major Charity event next year, that being the Mark Masonic Cycle Challenge 2020. Full details are on the web site. Perhaps give thought to supporting particular riders those, if any, from your own Lodge. A particular date for your diary, the Sesquicentenary of the Province in 2022, The meeting will be held on Saturday the 7th of August, one not to miss.

The Toast to the Charities was then in the hands of W.Bro. Bob Boyd who left the floor clear for W.Bro. Mark to bring the Lodge up to date.  He confirmed that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust was in good heart and continuing to fully discharge its obligations inherent in the Trust Deed, The Mark Benevolent Fund has made a number of major grants recently that have touched our Province. This is possible because of the Festivals, these are the major income stream for the MBF and enable it to support  investments such as that for Ambulances and support vehicles for St John Ambulance. Two cheques were presented, one from the Lodge for £525 ad another for £400 in memory of John’s Mother, Mrs Margaret Vause.

I usually comment upon visiting Masters, on this occasion there was one, unfortunately W.Bro. Charles Drury of Escafeld Lodge, who is also the Junior Warden at Haywra, not really a visiting Master. Hence a poor turn out by the remainder of the Leeds Association of Installed Masters. Maybe try harder next time?

Another night of Mark Masonry at its best, happy memories, well worth the journey.Smile and be happy.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager

Wharfedale Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1027, Escorted Visit

November 7th gathering together from across the Province, Mark Master Masons heading for Westbourne House, some quicker than others. The reason, one of the worst days on record for rainfall in the Sheffield/ Doncaster area.. Well I could say so what as I was travelling north from Wakefield away from all the devastation. But unfortunately, W.Bro. Andrew Simpson, Worshipful Master of the Wharfedale Lodge had been working in Sheffield and was stuck.  Then the news, fortunately, that he had extracted himself and, much to the delight of W.Bro. Ian Cotton who already had his book out, had arrived.

Appropriately attired, he took the Chair and the Lodge was duly opened, minutes confirmed and, upon a report, the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro.John Vause was admitted. He advised that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton, was without and demanded admission; Andrew was delighted to confirm. W.Bro. Trevor then entered the Lodge with an escort of eighteen Officers of the year and took his seat. 

The task for the evening was to Demonstrate the Ceremony of Advancement, Brother Carl Woodier, a willing volunteer. Duly admitted he was placed under the care of the Senior Deacon, W.Bro. Andrew Wright who escorted him around the Lodge. Eventually, after the proper steps had been negotiated he was obligated by the WM and sent out to do some work.

Upon his return, he negotiated the Overseers, all performing in fine form, not a book in sight when, after satisfying the WM of his merit was introduced to the Signs and Secrets of the Degree by W.Bro. Andrew Wright. The Badge and Jewel were presented by W.Bro. John Colwell and the explanation by W.Bro. Stuart Prince; the working tools by W.Bro. David Hymas whence W.Bro John Colwell then returned to deal with the Warrant, Constitutions, Regulations  and Bye laws culminating in the Conclusion, one of the most meaningful pieces of Ritual that I have encountered. This reminds us of our Principles, that we must not only adopt but must practice in our daily lives and actions. Deeds Not Words  that is what makes us different All the aforementioned Brethren had dealt with their allotted tasks in exemplary fashion, a delight to behold. Remaining Agenda items concluded, the Lodge was closed.

A delightful festive board followed with yours truly being greedy and having two Mackerel Pate starters, ah but no desert, what a good boy. The Toast to the Province was in the hands of W.Bro. John Colwell, apparently for the fourth time which prompted him to conclude that he must find  an escape route otherwise he could find himself Proposing the toast for evermore. He concluded by saying that the Provincial Officers impressed with their commitment and willingness to support when called upon. In response W.Bro. Trevor  acknowledged W.Bro. John’s and hoped that he would be successful but did not offer any advice as to how it could be achieved. He thanked all the Brethren for the warmth of their welcome for what had been a wonderful ceremony. A special mention for W.Bro. Stuart Prince, D.C> of the Lodge but also President of the Bradford and District I.M.A. where he has been most conscientious in representing the I.M.A. around the Province, a lesson to others. The Almoners Lunch took place at Tapton Hall on Monday 4th November when one hundred and seventy eight Brethren, relatives and dependents attended. Very much enjoyed and confirmation that the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust continues to meet it’s objectives.

He then drew attention to the following:

Masquerade ball at the Mercure Hotel, Bingley on Saturday, 30th November,  now canceled , problems at venue

Annual Carol Service that will again be held at Brighouse Methodist Church on Sunday, 8h December.

Smile, be happy, you are a Mark Master Mason.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager

A Memorable celebration of ‘Sixties Music’ in the company of John Whitworth

As part of his Charitable Fundraising activities, W. Bro. John assisted by his hard- working wife Carol, held two concerts at Pontefract Masonic Hall. These were on the 26th October, when forty-nine attended and the 2nd November when the Hall was virtually full with seventy-eight eager to have a sing along. They included Mark Master Masons and their Ladies but also members of a Choir where John is a member. As usual it began at 7 o’clock ending at 10.40 approx with a break for supper, a delicious Meat Pie, mushy peas and mash – just the right mix for a cold wet evening.

The opening number was “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – give yourself a pat on the back for remembering John Denver, “By Bye Love”, “Calendar Girls” and “Batchelor Boy” followed, Cliff fans giving full voice there. A real classic “California Dreaming” brought back memories of Mamma Cass, whilst the 1962 hit for John Leyton had most of us singing “Johnny Remember Me”, – yes I will always remember that one, couldn’t help myself, finishing with Donovan and “Jennifer Juniper”.

All the activity gave rise to an alcoholic taster and supper before John was hard at work again with part two and the “Streets of London” made famous by Ralph McTell. “Raindrops keep falling on my head” was next, made famous by Sacha Distel but it was written by Burt Bacharach for the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid. We then had a Eurovision Song Contest winner, can you remember when we used to have success near the top? “Puppet on a String” by Petula Clark. “Mr Tambourine Man” followed with “Sweet Caroline” – no need to tell you Neil Diamond, brought the evening to a close.

The numbers had been interspersed with some stand-up comedy that was well received and some anecdotes concerning members of the audience. At one stage John urged W.Bro. Ian Lewis, Prov. G.S.W not to say anything about something that had happened in the past, RED RAG; what he was referring to was a Lodge Ladies Night at Castleford that he attended dressed in a Kilt to perform the Ladies song. Unfortunately, as he stood on the table during the singing of the last verse Ian’s wife Mel. looking up. was given quite a shock but after composing herself said “No problem – I do not have a magnifying glass with me!”.

A cheque was presented to the Festival Fund in the sum of £1330, John has now raised over £150,000 for charities in general and £35,000 for Mark Charities. His personal contribution in fundraising for the 2023 MBF festival now stands at £17,000.

What a Star! Now for next year….

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager

Installation, James Bramley Morley Lodge of M.M.M. No. 1905

The culmination of a year that the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. John Edward Ryder Davies can be proud of as Brethren gathered at Blenheim House on the 6thNovember. This was to witness him passing the reins to the Senior Warden, Bro. Martin Wallace in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. who, after the opening procedures was, upon a report, admitted accompanied by W.Bro. Sam Carris, Elected member of the Charity Executive.

The main event followed with Bro. Martin presented by W.Bro. Gerald Wilde, the appropriate questions answered.  W.Bro. John then thanked his Officers for all their support, also the visitors who had stepped in the breach when necessary, a nice thoughtful touch . Brethren then withdrew and W.Bro Martin was obligated in his own inimitable style by John. Signs and Secrets communicated, Badge and Collar endowed whereupon he was placed in the Chair of the Lodge and saluted appropriately. 

Brethren then returned and W..Bro. Martin was proclaimed WPM. of the James Brimley Lodge No. 1905 for the ensuing year W. Bro Stephen Wood then provided an explanation of the Working Tools, excellent delivery.  W. Bro. John then completed his task by, entrusting the Warrant of the Lodge to Martin’s safe keeping  and delivered the Constitutions and Regulations together with the Bye laws. The Key Stone Jewel was then explained by W. Bro. Michael Minna, a delight to hear,  and, finally, the R.P.M. passed the Grand Patron Collateral to his successor.

Addresses were then delivered, all in impressive style as follows;

Worshipful Master,​W.Bro. Stepehen Wood,

Wardens,​​​W.Bro. John Davis,​​​

Overseers, ​​​W.Bro. Paul Cooke and

Brethren, ​​​R.W.Bro. James Steggles.

W.Bro. Michael Taylor then  had the pleasure of presenting the Past Masters Jewel to W.Bro. John stressing that John had done himself and the Lodge proud by taking on the duty at eighty eight years of age, and was an example to all.. The remaining agenda items dealt with , the Lodge was closed.

After a most welcome Lunch, the Toast to the PGM was submitted by W.Bro. Martin who expressed pleasure that R.W.Bro Jim  had found the time , in a very bust diary, to be with them. He recalled that the last time was the dedication of the Lodge Banner. Responding R.W.Bro. Jim remembered the Consecration of the Lodge, the first W.M. being R.W.Bro. Philip Birch. It had ben anticipated that members would come from existing Loges but the majority are new members to the Mark Degree We are now moving forward with the 4 R’s initiative and it is vital that all Brethren seize this opportunity to ensure the future prosperity of the Order. The following reminders were then given, please note;

Masquerade ball at the Mercure Hotel, Bingley on Saturday, 30th November, now cancelled, due to a problem at the venue   

Annual Carol Service that will again be held at Brighouse Methodist Church on Sunday, 8h December.

The Toast to the Charities was then provided by W. Bro . John Davis who emphasised that we are fortunate to have our own Charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, unique throughout the country. Responding, W,Bro. Sam confirmed that the Trust is meeting its obligations one hundred and eighty Brethren and dependants at the last almoners Lunch. Additionally, during the last year a total of fifty four thousand pounds has been spent on Brethren and worthy causes. It is also important to note that all our Lodges must pull together and help each other to attain Grand Patron Gold Award which will ensure that the Province qualifies, keep up the good work.

Finally a word of thanks to two Masters in the Chair who took notice of the entreaties of the Provincial Grand Master and met their responsibilities of visiting other Lodges and representing their own Lodge in the process. W.Bro. John Pringle. Legioleum Lodge and W.Bro. John Fitzpatrick, Caldene Lodge, thank you to both., others take note

Smile, be happy, you are a Mark Master Mason

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager