The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

‘Christmas Cometh’ and it starts at Portal Lodge of MMM No,127, 19th December 2019.

Yes, for me the absolute truth and I have been visiting Portal for around about 33 years to start the festivities singing Carols with the Brethren. Not just Carols as we also sing the Holmfirth Anthem, ‘Abroad for Pleasure’, not heard it, go to Barnsley next December and be enlightened. Another delight is ‘While Shepherds watched’ to the tune of Ikley Moor Bahtat’, or as W.Bro. David Sunderaland informed me , Cranbrook, yes that was the hymn to which it was originally sung.  

An excellent attendance, the Lodge was opened in fine style by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Tim Westlake and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield,  now well on the road to recovery after his second bout of knee surgery, was welcomed and received appropriate salutations. At this juncture the Treasurer, Worshipful Brother Roger Harvey woke up and the Accounts for the year ended 31st August 2019 were received but later, he gave notice that he would propose an increase in subscriptions from fifty five pounds to sixty pounds, still relatively modes in the light of some being seen in the Province. 

Remaining agenda items swiftly despatched. Any other business and W. Bro. Alan intervened and asked that W.Bro. Ralph Thornton be escorted to the floor, a visibly surprised Ralph I may add, He was then presented with the West Yorkshire Royal Ark Mariner Distinguished Service Award. A very singular honour, list of recipients in the Year Book, and undoubtedly well merited. Unusual for an honour in the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners to be awarded at a Mark meeting but perfectly in order and appropriate, Ralph is a longstanding Past Master of Portal Mark.  Brethren of Portal , why not follow Ralph’s lead have a word with one of the members of Portal RAM at your next meeting, we would be delighted to welcome you to the Fraternity.  

The Lodge was then closed and all adjourned to a most welcome festive Board and to set the seal on a superb evening by singing a number of carols and the Holmfirth anthem previously referred to, I was now ready for Christmas. The Toasts were smoothly and professionally expedited by the Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Ian Schofield to facilitate time for the carols. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master , W.Bro. Alan circulated details of the Provincial Sesquicentenary Jewel, the celebrations to take place in August 2021. It is requested that all should wear the Jewel at the event and they will be available at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in April 2020, cost £25.00. To ensure that none are disappointed, perhaps it would be sensible for Lodges to take orders from their Brethren, those at the meeting receive them at the time, remainder to be distributed.  Finally arrangements have been made with Crest Regalia for them to supply West Yorkshire Brethren at a discount of 20% which will be passed on to the Festival, look no further, details on the web site under the heading ‘Store’. The remaining Toasts completed, the raffle was drawn with W.Bro. Ian Booth taking first prize and choosing a golf item but he does not play golf! no matter he had decided that it was a cheap way of giving someone a Xmas present, Good thinking Boothy.

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

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, PGSD.

Communications Manager.

Installation at Truth Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.137, The Mould is broken !

The Installation took place at Greenhead Masonic hall on Thursday, 21st November 2019 when the Senior warden, Brother Argthur Wainwright was placed in the Chair by W.Bro. Graham Daniel, the last two W.M’s being of the recycled variety.

W.Bro. Graham opened the Lodge in due from, the minutes were approved and, upon a report, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies was admitted and informed W.Bro Graham that the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. wished to join the party which was immediately granted. He entered accompanied by W.Bro. Chris Oldfield, Elected member of the Charity Committee and an appropriate escort.  The gavel was duly offered but whilst the P.G.M. was delighted to be present he was not sufficiently delighted to take the Ceremony.

Bro. Wainwright was presented by W.Bro Alan Jones,  the Installing Master then obligated his successor, explained the Signs and Secrets,  invested him with the Collar and Badge of his Office and placed him in the Chair of Adoniram.  W.Bro. Walter Pell explained and presented the Keystone Collarette followed by W.Bro. Tom Jenkins with the meaning of the Working Tools, in both cases not a ritual book in sight. At one point apparently a butterfly landed on W.Bro. Arthur which was captured by W.Bro. Steven Spooner who had the presence to show it the door, perhaps not such a good idea as it was quite warm in the building and close to freezing outside.; well poor butterfly what will be will be!

The appointment and Investiture of the Officers for the Ensuing year then took place, no surprises but? It should be noted that W.Bro. Graham having stepped into the breach a year ago gave the Lodge some scope to see Brethren on the ladder giving W.Bro. Arthur his opportunity after only three years as a Member. There surely will be repetition in 2020 as the Inner Guard, Bro. Steven Lester made the monumental leap to Senior Warden. I intend to be back at Truth in a years time, join me.  The Addresses then followed, that to the WM by W.Bro. Richard Brooke, Wardens,  W.Bro. Walter Pell Overseers,  W.Bro. Richard Brooke, you cannot keep good men down. and the Brethren by the PGM, all in superb fashion. A cheque  was handed over to W.Bro. Chris Oldfield  by the Charity Steward, W.Bro. Philip Dunn who proudly proclaimed that it ensured that Truth Lodge had now qualified as a Grand Patron Gold Award Lodge, well done. The Provincial qualification draws ever nearer. 

The remaining items on the Summons were dealt with including the Almoners Report. This was presented by W.Bro. George Foster who commented that the WM had earlier mentioned two words that very rarely go together, Foster and Brevity and then went on to prove the point On a serious note, George is one of the most capable and committed Almoners in the Province. It is a key role which truly reflects our Principles. 

The Festive Board eagerly devoured, W.Bro. Andrew Taylor submitted the Toast to the  PGM, a man who sets an example to all and who seems to get everywhere in the Province,. Thanking him for his kind words, R.W.Bro. Jim said that it was in 2016 when he was last at Truth and presented W.Bro. Arthur with his Grand Lodge Certificate! A reminder that the 4 R’s initiative is now launched covering the four areas of Recruitment, Renewal, Retrieval and Reinvigoration. Lodge Secretaries have all the detail and it is imperative that a Lodge Coordinator is appointed to manage the process. This is vital to the future success of our Order, ‘The Magic of the Mark’.He also reported that a number of MBF Grants have been made which affect our Province. This month a donation will be made to the Forget-me-not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield, a rapid response vehicle is planned for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a donation to Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield for 20 special syringe drivers together with a new mini bus for Martin House Hospice and the refurbishment of a canal barge for the Mirfield Charity Safe Anchor Trust. A total amount donated into our community by the MBF this year of over £180,000. We should all feel extremely proud to be Mark Master Masons. 

Appropriately this was followed by the Toast to the Charities, eloquently put by W.Bro. Philip emphasising that, in West Yorkshire, we are the envy of all with our dedicated Charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, the Jewel in our Crown. Responding, W.Bro. Chris confirmed all remains in order with the C & W, Almoners Luncheons confirmed for next year and the holiday at St Annes, June 14th to 20th2020. Both are very highly valued by Brethren and Dependants,. The major Fund raising initiative in 2020 will 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. Another date for your diary, the Sesquicentenary of the Province in 2021, The meeting will be held on Saturday the 7th of August, one not to miss.

Smile and be happy, you are Mark Master Masons

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

Communications Manager

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