First time for Neil

In a packed lodge room in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall, 74 brethren attended the installation meeting of St Paul’s Lodge No 5459 to witness Neil Worthington being installed into the chair of King Solomon for the first time.

Kevin Poynton (left) congratulates Neil Worthington on becoming WM.

Kevin Poynton (left) congratulates Neil Worthington on becoming WM.

Members and visitors from, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Liverpool were duly welcomed to the meeting by the WM Les Williams who then opened the lodge in due form and with solemn prayer at 4pm.

Having dealt with the immediate matters of lodge business, George King was asked to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Ian Locke to remain in the junior warden’s chair and Ian Grindley to act as inner guard for the installation ceremony. There being no entered apprentices present the lodge was opened in the second degree. Fellow crafts then retired and the lodge opened in the third degree.

At this point Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies mark Barton announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton was outside the lodge and demanded addmission, Les replied that the lodge would be honoured to receive him.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton, grand officers, acting Provincial grand officers and Widnes Group Chairman Neil Pedder were admitted in a coulorful procession and in due form. After being formally greeted by the WM and being offered the gavel of the lodge, Kevin politly returned it and all were seated in their rightful places. The relevant salutations were then given to grand and Provincial grand officers.

Neil (centre) flanked by Kevin Poynton on his right and Neil Pedder on his left with grand and acting Provincial grand officers.

Neil (centre) flanked by Kevin Poynton on his right and Neil Pedder on his left with grand and acting Provincial grand officers.

Labour was resumed in the second degree and fellow crafts readmitted to lodge. Ian Grindley presented the master elect Neil Worthington ot the lodge for installation. The Ancient Charges and Regulations were read by the secretary and the master elect obligated.

Fellow crafts again retired and labour resumed in the third degree.  All below the rank of an installed master, with the exception of the master elect, were asked to retire and a duly constituted Board of Installed Masters was declared.

Neil Worthington was installed as master of the lodge in a first class ceremony and the Board of Installed Masters closed. Master Masons were readmitted and after salutations the working tools of the degree were explained by Jim Ledward.  The lodge was closed in the third degree and labour resumed in the second degree. Fellow crafts were readmitted and after salutations the working tools of the degree were explained by Adam Berrington. The Lodge was closed in the second degree and labour resumed in the first degree.  Entered apprentices were readmitted and after salutations the working tools of the degree were explained by Chris Farley. All explanations were done in an excellent manner.

Neil (centre) surrounded by some members of his lodge.

Neil (centre) surrounded by some members of his lodge.

The warrant of the lodge, Book of Constitutions, lodge by-laws and the lodge banner were all delivered into the keeping of the new Master, who then appointed and invested his officers in a confident manner.

Norman Pritchard (left) gives the toast to Neil during the master’s song.

Norman Pritchard (left) gives the toast to Neil during the master’s song.

Dave Rigby, Lodge of Hospitality 5074, who was visiting, kindly delivered the address to the stewards.  Joe Stanners, director of ceremonies, delivered the address to the wardens, Ian Grindley delivered the address to the WM, and Kevin Poynton delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge. All the addresses were delivered in fine style.

At the end of the ceremony, Kevin Poynton stood to bring the greetings and best wishes from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to Neil, wishing him health and hopong that he has a really enjoyable year in the chair.

Neil thanked Kevin for his kind words and asked the immediate past master, now lodge secretary, Les Williams, to present 8 cheques to Kevin as charity donations. Kevin thanked Les for the donations and then read out the donations as follows; to West Lancashire MCF 2021 Festival £250, to Widnes Masonic Hall £250, to RNLI £250, to Victoria Park, Widnes, Butterfly House £250, to Halton Haven Hospice £250, to Widnes, Moonmeadow Scouts HQ, Roof Appeal £250, to Ataxia Support Group £250, to Alzheimers Society £250. Les then went on to expalin that additional moneys given to non Masonic charities during the year were as follows; £250 to the above Butterfly House, £1000 to the Moonmeadow Scouts Roof Appeal (the result of social events), £450 to the Brain Research (part lodge funds and part sponsorship by the new WM), £750 toward the funeral of a 12 year old boy (part lodge funds and part private donation by Chris Farley and Mike Lea). In all it was a grand total of  £4,450. Kevin again thanked the lodge brethren on behalf of the recipients for their magnificent generousity.

A collection was then taken for the almoners account achieving £118.

Neil (left) happily responds to the toast to his health under the watchful eyes of Mark Barton.

Neil (left) happily responds to the toast to his health under the watchful eyes of Mark Barton.

After the first rising the APrGM, grand officers and the group chairman retired. The remaining items of communication were concluded and the lodge was closed at 6:30pm in peace and perfect harmony and all retired to partake in pre-dinner drinks.

At the small gathering of grand and Provincial grand officers, the new WM Neil and the installing master Les, Kevin Poynton gave positive feedback on the way the ceremony had been conducted. Everyone then made their way to the Alan Locke Suite to enjoy a fine festive board in good company and joyous mood.

During the toasts following the meal the sentiments made earlier were very kindly repeated. A raffle held at the festive board raised £623. This figure being enhanced by St Paul’s Lodge members buying additional raffle numbers during the year, which were included within the raffle on the night. There were many prizes donated, which encouraged ticket purchases.

The master’s song was sung by Norman Pritchard in his own indivdual style, accompanied by by Ray Illingworth on the piano. A wonderfull and delightful ceremony and evening was rounded off by Dave Berrington giving the tyler’s toast.

Brethren enjoying the festive board.

Brethren enjoying the festive board.

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