In September 2015, the members of Hope Lodge No 4003 were delighted to witness Squadron Leader Martin Morris, dressed in his best mess uniform and sporting his service medals, presented and installed into the WM’s chair of this long-established and venerable lodge. Martin performed his role in lodge dutifully throughout the year, but was disappointed that military duty and travel meant that he was not able to take full advantage of his position, particularly in relation to visiting other lodges.
It was therefore a pleasant surprise when, owing to a hiccup in the lodges progression plan, he was approached to continue in the chair for another year. Accepting the challenge meant that DC Alan Crosby and ADC Keith Lomax, after consulting with Province, set about devising and executing a ceremony to proclaim Martin as WM again.
Not being put off with the prospect of a non-traditional installation, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent was delighted to be present, ably supported by fellow grand officers, Graeme Hughes and David Ogden (group vice chairman), acting Provincial grand officers Peter Ridehalgh (PrAGDC) and Alan Johnston (PrAGSwdB), together with John Selley (group secretary). All were treated to a fine, though shorter than usual ceremony. Alan Crosby started proceedings by declaring Martin as WM for the ensuing year and then the ceremony continued pretty much as normal, with all members of the lodge being somehow involved.
With the officers duly invested, it was Tony’s cue to rise to his feet and bring the congratulations and thanks, from the Provincial Grand Master for retaining the WM’s chair for a second year. A very creditable £900 of donations were made and gratefully accepted on behalf of the ultimate recipients by Tony; West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Prostrate Cancer, Alzheimer’s and the hall’s building and development funds all benefitting.
A fine and lively festive board followed, which including a delightful menu of roast duck leg, topside of beef in red wine with the usual accompaniments, crème brule and a fine selection of cheese and biscuits. Martin stated that he was really looking forward to the year, and his diary was filling up with proposed visits to share experiences with his fellow masters of lodges, including Harold Norton, Alan Green and Frank Laird who were present and supporting him on this occasion.
In private life, retiring after 30 something years as a soldier with the Royal Engineers, and achieving the very high rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Martin found the thought of a sedentary civilian existence something he couldn’t consider just yet so he joined the RAF. He was appointed Squadron Leader and become a part of their media and communications section, which has certainly kept him very busy. A second sortie as leader of Hope Lodge is just the ticket for this particular high flyer.