The installation meeting of Preston Guild Lodge No 4408 saw David Parker Jnr return to the master’s chair in an excellent ceremony conducted by Malcolm Berry as the installing master. The principal guest on this occasion was Ormskirk and Bootle Group Chairman Frank Umbers, accompanied by grand officers Ian Greenwood, Stan Rigby and the Preston Group Vice Chairman Geoff Saul. They were supported by acting Provincial grand officer John Rimmer.
Those attending the meeting witnessed an excellent performance by all the participants as David was duly installed as the 95th master of the lodge.
The ceremony commenced with David Jnr being presented for installation by his father, David Parker Snr, who later in the ceremony had the pleasure of giving the address to the master.
The working tools of the third degree were presented by master Mason, Gary Karmanski; those of the second degree were presented by Eddie Taylor and those of the first degree by fellow craft, Matthew Spencer, all of whom gave first class presentations.
Malcolm concluded the installation section of the ceremony by reminding David of the significance of the lodge’s Hall Stone Jewel before investing him with the jewel attached to a collarette.
Following the presentation of the lodge warrant and the book of constitutions, the address to the master was delivered in an excellent manner by David Parker Snr.
The officers of the lodge were then appointed and invested. Those who were taking the particular office for the first time were addressed as to the duties of that office. The explanation of the junior warden’s duties and the address to the wardens was given by Eddie Taylor. Cliff Jones was re-appointed as the lodge charity steward and addressed by the group charity steward Vic Parker. Gary Karmanski, as the inner guard, was addressed by Gordon Sudell. The final address, that to the brethren of the lodge, was given by the principal guest Frank Umbers.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Frank rose to bring the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, on what had been a first-class ceremony. He congratulated David on attaining the chair of the lodge for the second time, wishing him well for his year in office. He commended the installing master Malcolm Berry on his work, including his excellent delivery of the presentation of the Hall Stone Jewel. He congratulated the working tools team on their contribution to the ceremony and closed by congratulating and thanking all those members of the lodge who had a part to play in the ceremony.
In response, on behalf of the lodge members, David had the pleasure of presenting Frank with four cheques totalling £4,000 payable as follows: £2,500 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £500 to Parkinson’s UK and £500 to the Order of St John. In accepting the cheques, on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, Frank thanked the lodge for their very generous charitable donations.
Later in the evening, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, Frank thanked David for the toast to the grand officers feeling it was a privilege to come along on such an important occasion. He thanked the grand officers for their support and congratulated Geoff Saul on his impending promotion to Grand Rank in the Royal Arch.
He mentioned the tercentenary celebrations that are taking place throughout the Province noting that the recent Grand Lodge celebration held at the Royal Albert Hall is now available to view via the United Grand Lodge website. Having viewed the celebrations, Frank said it gave him a feeling of pride to be a member of the Craft. He encouraged all those present to log on to the website and see for themselves.
Turning to the Ambassadors Scheme, he indicated that progress was being made with teams being set up to go out and explain Freemasonry to the public. However, prompting the brethren that they should not forget that they are all ambassadors for Freemasonry, he also included the role of brethren acting as membership officers.
He reminded the brethren that the Royal Arch is an integral part of Freemasonry and those brethren who are yet to make that step should be encouraged to do so. He was pleased to note that the recent meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter was supported by 700 Masons with 430 attending the following banquet.
He thanked the lodge for the tremendous charitable donations made earlier, remarking that it was an exceptional amount and that the lodge was well on the way to achieving patronage status of the MCF 2021 Festival. Frank mentioned that, whilst the previous West Lancashire 2010 Festival raised £5,000,000, in the intervening years, the Province had in return, received over £7,000,000 from the Grand Charities. Turning to the current Festival he informed the brethren that following its launch in May, over £1,000,000 has already been pledged in support of the Festival.
He was pleased to see that, despite the financial demands of the Festival, the lodge continued to support the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. He asked the members to continue to support the Masonic hall by using it as the venue for their social events.
Returning to the events of the evening, Frank congratulated David as the new master noting that he had a busy year ahead with two third degrees in the programme. He congratulated Malcolm as the installing master for, not only his work in the lodge earlier but also what he had done during his year in office.
He concluded his response by thanking the members of the lodge for the warm welcome he had received and the hospitality and kindness during his visit.
It was noted that, during the evening, Frank had the luck to win the bottle of whisky in the lodge raffle. However, he also had the generosity to return the prize to the lodge for use on a future occasion.
Malcolm, as the past master of the lodge, forewent his privilege of proposing the toast to the WM, and deferred to the master’s father, David Snr.
The proceedings were further enhanced by a delightful rendition of the master’s song given by Ray Beech, accompanied by Howard Linaker on the piano.
The evening closed with David presenting Frank with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Cathy, as a thank you for her letting him out and having to spend another evening without his company.