The WM of St Paul’s Lodge No 5459 welcomed 60 members and guests to Widnes Masonic Hall to witness the installation of Dave Berrington into the chair of King Solomon in the presence of Phillip Gunning, Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
After the lodge was opened by WM Alan Locke and the usual business being completed, the lodge was then raised to the third degree. Alan invited Joe Stanners to act as director of ceremonies Barry Collinson to occupy the senior warden’s chair and David Clews to occupy the junior warden’s chair for the next part of the ceremony.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton entered the lodge to announce that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phillip Gunning stood without and demanded admission. Alan replied saying that they would very happy to receive him.
Philip entered the lodge accompanied by other distinguished brethren, including Kevin Poynton APrGM along with grand officers Dennis Rudd, Alan Haslam, David Redhead, Chris Eyres, Derek Williams and Provincial grand officer Neil Pedder (Widnes Group Chairman). The provincial deacons were John Gibbon and Ian Grindley.
Alan welcomed Philip and all the dignitaries and visitors trusting that everyone would have an enjoyable evening and then offered the gavel to Philip who thanked him but swiftly returned it. Salutations were then given under the direction of Mark Barton, after which Alan presented cheques to Philip for £250 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £250 to Widnes Masonic Hall Development Fund, £250 to Halton Haven, £250 to Kings Cross Appeal and £200 to RNLI. A magnificent sum of £1,200.
Alan then invited his son Ian Locke to occupy the master’s chair to act as installing master. Ian then adjourned the lodge and resumed work in the second degree. The master elect Davie Berrington was presented to the installing master by Charlie Monk. The lodge was raised to the third degree and then declared a board of installed masters. Ian then installed Dave into the chair of King Solomon in a dignified manner in what was an excellent ceremony. The board of installed masters was then closed.
The brethren were then admitted by rank and Dave was proclaimed WM of St Paul’s Lodge for the ensuing year by Ian Locke. The third degree working tools were presented by Charlie Monk, the second degree working tools by Les Williams and the first degree working tools by Tommy Glynn, all of whom did a sterling job.
After Dave had appointed and invested his officers, David Clews delivered the address to the WM with a perfect and heartfelt rendition. Joe Stanners gave the address to the senior and junior wardens. The principal guest Philip Gunning delivered the address to the brethren of St Paul’s Lodge.
After the ceremony and before the closing of the lodge, Philip took to the floor and brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulating Dave Berrington on being installed into the master’s chair and also complimented the installing master Ian Locke and all the officers who took part in a very enjoyable ceremony, and hoped Dave and all the officers and brethren have a healthy and enjoyable year.
Dave closed the lodge and the brethren retired to the Alan Locke Suite for the festive board. The catering staff served a meal of cream of vegetable soup, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, roast and boiled potatoes with seasonal vegetables and apple pie and custard followed by tea and coffee.
At the festive board, Philip responded to the toast to the grand officers by thanking them for their support and a special mention of Derek Williams, who had retired as Widnes Group Chairman, due to ongoing health issues. He thanked Derek for all his work and support for Widnes Group and Masonry in general over the years. He wished him a speedy recovery. He went on to congratulate Neil Pedder for taking on the group chairman responsibilities
Philip mentioned that the tercentenary church service at Liverpool Cathedral had been cancelled and instead two services will take place at Warrington and Lancaster on 5 March 2017. He reminded the brethren that the Provincial Lodge will be held at the Opera House in Blackpool on 10 May 2017 when the 2021 Festival will be launched.
The IPM Alan proposed the toast to the master. He remarked that they have been blessed to have Dave as a member. He has worked tirelessly for the lodge giving endless support and introducing several new members. An old tradition at Widnes is for the IPM to pass on the infamous ‘owl’ lapel badge. The owl must be worn at all meetings as without it a fine of £5 will be levied for charity purposes. At the close of the evening Philip was presented with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Anne.