There were 51 members and guests assembled in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall to witness the initiation of Thomas John Brown and Francis Smith into St Paul’s Lodge No 5459.
Before the lodge was opened the WM Dave Berrington asked the brethren to stand in silence as a mark of respect for those killed or injured at the bomb attack carried out at the Manchester Arena.
The lodge was then opened in due form and the WM welcomed Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton and offered him the gavel of the lodge, which was accepted by right but it was hastily returned. Kevin was supported by grand officers David Redhead and Derek Williams and Provincial grand officers John Lee and Widnes Group Vice Chairman John Gibbon.
Dave then conducted the normal business of the lodge and with the business being conclude he announced the next item on the agenda was the initiation of both Thomas and Francis. Having been prepared for the ceremony they both entered the lodge and were received by Ian Grindley and Ian Locke the junior and senior deacons respectively.
Dave and the deacons conducted a fantastic initiation ceremony. It was evident that they and the officers had put a lot of thought and practice into it at their rehearsals. During the ceremony the senior and junior wardens, Les Williams and Neil Worthington, were ably assisted by Barry Collinson and Charlie Monk respectively.
Les invested both initiates with the distinguishing badge of an entered apprentice and Neil gave a perfect explanation of the working tools of the first degree. Thomas Brown and Francis Smith then retired from the lodge and on their return David Clews delivered the charge after initiation in his own consummate way after which Dave congratulated Thomas and Francis on taking their first steps into freemasonry. They were presented with the book of constitution and bye-laws of the lodge for their serious perusal. They were then invited to take their place in the lodge.
The collection for the almoners account raised £52.77. Before the lodge came to a close Kevin Poynton announce that the province of West Lancashire had donated a cheque for £10,000 to the province of East Lancashire to add to their allocation of finance to support the victims of the Manchester bombing.
On closing the lodge Dave thanked all those officers who had taken part in the ceremony. The brethren then retired to the Alan Locke Suite to partake of a welcome drink and a three course meal to follow.
The toast to the initiates was given by Chris Farley who welcomed both Thomas and Francis into Freemasonry and St Paul’s Lodge. Thomas responded on behalf of himself and Francis and thanked Chris for the toast to their health and said that they had both enjoyed the evening and were looking forward to many years in Freemasonry.
Dave Berrington announced that the raffle was to sponsor Neil Worthington, who suffers from a debilitating condition, who will be participating in the walk over Morecombe Bay in support of the MCF 2021 festival. The raffle raised a magnificent some of £210.