Brethren of Goodwill Lodge No 3896, along with guests, met in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall for their installation and were honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton.
WM Ben Smith welcomed everyone and after the usual lodge business was completed he opened the lodge up to the third degree. The director of ceremonies Bob Williams entered the lodge to announce that John Hutton stood without and demanded admission. Ben replied that they would be pleased to receive him. John was admitted into the lodge accompanied by grand officer Chris Eyres and Widnes Group Chairman Derek Williams. The procession was headed by acting Provincial grand deacons Brian Tilly and Ian Smith. Also attending were group vice chairman Neil Pedder and group secretary John Gibbon.
John was warmly welcomed by Ben who offered him the gavel and asked if he would like to keep it, but it was swiftly returned by John stating that he thought Ben would make better job of it. Salutations were given to John, grand officers and Provincial grand officers.
Ben asked Lewis Redhead and Stephen Nixon to act as senior and junior wardens respectively. Barry Horabin acted as Inner Guard. The lodge was then resumed in the second degree and DC Bob Williams presented Paul Smith (Ben’s father) as master elect. The lodge was opened into the third degree and then declared a Board of Installed Masters. Ben installed his father Paul into the chair of King Solomon in a faultless and emotional manner. The third degree working tools were given by Ben Smith, the second degree working tools by Paul Smythe and the first degree working tools by David Lace.
The newly installed master then received the traditional address to the master by Bob Williams. David Merrill gave the address to the wardens and the address to the brethren was given by John Hutton. Paul then invested his officers for the ensuing year.
The ceremony of installation being completed John rose to convey the best wishes from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison who hoped Paul would have a happy and eventful Masonic year. John continued by saying that if Tony had been present he would have congratulated the installing master for an excellent ceremony. John went on to thank the DC Bob Williams, for ensuring the ceremony ran faultlessly throughout. After communications from Grand Lodge the director of ceremonies formed the procession for grand officers to retire after which the lodge was duly closed.
Approximately 60 brethren retired to the Alan Locke Suite to partake of a menu of prawns and smoked salmon, chicken in red wine with creamed potatoes and seasonal vegetables and banana split. Followed by tea or coffee with dinner mints. At this point in the proceedings the DC announced that it happened to be the birthday of the group chairman Derek Williams. The brethren stood and sang happy birthday despite him not revealing his age. (66).
In response to the toast to the health of the grand officers, John rose to personally wish Paul a happy and successful year and to congratulate the installing master Ben, on the excellent way he conducted the ceremony and also complimenting the DC and all the brethren who took part for the way they conducted themselves during the ceremony. He then went on to briefly mention the 2017 Festival for the 300th anniversary of Freemasonry, the importance of the charities and the work they do and also the importance of the almoner who works tirelessly caring for widows and those in need. He also emphasised the message from the PGM that the brethren should enjoy their masonry.
The toast to the master was given by his son Ben who made comment of the advice only a father could give during his year in office. The master’s song was performed by Norman Pritchard and was accompanied on the piano by Ray Illingworth.
The now immediate past master, Ben Smith, made special mention of Lewis Redhead, Ben’s IPM, who had assisted him during what was at times a difficult year for him. He then presented him with a gift in appreciation.
Paul Smith responded by thanking all the brethren for their attendance and helping to make the evening such a success. He also thanked them for their generosity saying that £1,400 would be distributed to Masonic and non-Masonic charities in the near future. The alms plate raised £91.90 and the raffle £141.50. Paul presented a bouquet of flowers to John for his wife for allowing him to attend. The Tyler’s toast brought an end to what was a very excellent and enjoyable evening.