Nearly 70 brethren were present to witness the installation of John Thompson into the chair of Willows Lodge No 5343 which meets at Bryn Masonic Hall.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson was the principal guest, accompanied by group chairman Geoffrey Porter and grand officer Graeme Hughes, supported by acting Provincial grand officers Fred Dickinson, Trevor Jones and David Rigby, together with group secretary John Selley.
Once the initial business of the lodge was completed, installing master Barry Fisher was delighted to receive the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and warmly greeted him and offered the gavel. In response, Derek stated that he was really happy to be at Bryn but felt it proper on this occasion to return it.
Derek Parkinson and all assembled, were treated to a delightful ceremony of installation, and Derek was greatly impressed, lavishing praise on the installing master and all the officers who took part. Worthy of special mention was how pleasing it was to see the working tools delivered by three light blues, Craige Dean, Jeff Burns and Darryl Millman. It was a great team effort.
Master elect John was presented by DC Arthur Robinson, and John’s proposer Jim Browning, gave the address to John once installed. Graeme Hughes, lodge member and a previous acting warden in the Province of Cheshire, delivered the address to the wardens, and later followed with the presentation of the Hall Stone Jewel to John, a very special tradition in Willows Lodge.
The significance of the Hall Stone Jewel was explained to John, representing that four years of extreme sacrifice between 1914 and 1918, and the generosity of former members of the lodge. It was explained to him that it had since that time always been worn by masters of the lodge as part of their Masonic clothing, John himself having had the privilege four years ago.
Derek brought the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and congratulated John on taking the chair in such a fine ceremony. He was delighted to receive charitable donations totalling a magnificent £2,500, consisting of; £200 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £250 to the Masonic hall, £350 to the Wigan and Leigh Hospice, £200 to the Newton Community Hospital, £200 to the Newton-le-Willows branch of Age Concern, £400 to Parkinson’s UK and £900 to the MCF 2021 Festival. Derek was extremely impressed by this wonderful charitable effort, and all of Willows Lodge can feel proud of their achievement.
The latter donation prompted group chairman Geoffrey Porter to announce that it qualified the lodge as a Vice Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival and Derek was delighted to present the appropriate certificate.
John looked really comfortable in the chair and conducted the rest of the business efficiently and with dignity. John Thompson had served as master four years ago, and due to some unforeseen circumstances, a gap had appeared in the normal progression this year. John had volunteered to step in and fill the breach. John was well noted for the effort, enthusiasm and enjoyment that had been the signature of his year in office.
It was plain for all to see that John has lost nothing of that same enthusiasm and enjoyment, and the lodge remains in safe and keen hands.