At the installation meeting of the Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755, Peter Nicholson vacated his position as the lodge treasurer to be installed as the master of the lodge. The principal guest on this occasion was APrGM Robert Wright accompanied by a galaxy of grand officers, the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and six acting Provincial grand officers.
After welcoming the visitors, the master of the lodge David Williams, opened the lodge in the usual manner to carry out the administrative business of the lodge. Following a successful ballot, David had the pleasure of welcoming David Forrest as a joining member and inviting him to take his place in the lodge.
The director of ceremonies Jon Selcoe, then requested permission to retire from the lodge for a short time. He returned to announce the presence of the principal guest of the evening, Robert Wright, who was admitted in due form accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers. David Williams welcomed Robert and as of right, offered him the gavel of the lodge. Robert responded in kind, thanking him for the warm welcome before returning the gavel, feeling assured that the lodge was in good hands.
Prior to the start of the installation ceremony, David’s last act as master of the lodge was to thank all his officers for their support during his year in office. Turning to the brethren who were retiring from office, on behalf of the lodge, he thanked Peter Nicholson for his time as lodge treasurer, Ray Birkbeck for his time as the lodge chaplain and John Whittall for the 10 years he had graced the lodge with fine music in the role of the guest organist of the lodge.
There then followed an excellent installation ceremony as David, assisted by the lodge DC, installed Peter Nicholson in an exemplary manner that was greatly appreciated by all the visitors present.
Peter was presented as the master elect by Ian Greenwood, who also had the privilege of addressing Peter as the newly installed master towards the end of the installation ceremony.
The address to the wardens was delivered in an excellent manner by Jon Selcoe with the working tools of the third degree, second degree and the first degree being presented in an equally excellent manner by Tom Hughes, Peter Hadfield and Trevor Phillips respectively. The address to the brethren was given by the principal guest, Robert Wright.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Robert brought the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, wishing Peter good health for an excellent year in office. On behalf of Tony, he congratulated the installing master David Williams for all the hard work he had obviously put in to ensure his successor was placed in the chair in an exemplary manner. He continued by congratulating all those that had taken office, wishing them well for a successful year and concluded by complimenting all the membership for supporting such a fine lodge.
In response, Peter’s first duty as master, was to present Robert with a cheque for £225 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. In turn, and on behalf of the ultimate recipients, Robert thanked the lodge for the donation saying it was indeed a very generous donation; particularly as the lodge only meets three times per year and all the members already make charitable donations through their other Craft lodges.
Later in the evening Robert, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, said it was a delight to be in the company of so many grand officers and to have the support of the group chairman Steve Bolton. In mentioning Steve, he asked the brethren not to forget the work of the other members of the group executive who do so much behind the scenes.
He was also pleased to have the support of so many acting Provincial grand officers wishing them well for their special year in that role and reminded them that the year goes so very quickly.
Having brought the congratulations of Tony Harrison in the lodge, he now, on his own behalf and on behalf of the grand officers congratulated Peter on attaining the chair of Setantia, wishing him well during his time as master of the lodge. He extended his good wishes to all the brethren who had taken office earlier saying, the lodge has a great heritage, and long may it continue.
He went on to congratulate the lodge on the excellence of the ceremony, in particular mentioning the work of David Williams as the installing master and those that had played such an excellent part in the ceremony. He continued by thanking the director of ceremonies Jon Selcoe for his excellent work in running the ceremony and Phil Cragg, for his work in preparing for the occasion and the contribution he has made over the years as the lodge secretary. He offered his congratulations to all those who were to receive first appointments and promotion at the forthcoming May meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge.
Moving on to charitable giving, Robert thanked the lodge for the donation of £225 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity made earlier and for previous donations made through the year. He encouraged the brethren to be proud of the work the Masonic charities perform. However, it was not all about giving money, but giving time by visiting and helping others was just as important.
He continued by stressing the importance of supporting the MCF 2021 Festival, reminding the brethren that the Province receives more in return from the Grand Charities than it donates.
Turning to Freemasonry in general, Robert referred to the recent Sky TV programmes on Freemasonry that had created a lot of interest from the public. This coupled with the Ambassador Scheme which is directed at publicising Freemasonry was bearing fruit. As a result, he stressed the importance of finding the correct lodge for any applicants, be it a daytime, weekend or specific meeting day lodge. He was pleased to say, many who had joined in recent times wished they had joined earlier. He encouraged brethren to speak openly about their Freemasonry and in that way, help to dispel the misinformation circulating in the public domain.
As well as increasing in numbers by recruiting new members, Robert turned to existing members saying he was pleased to report that the retention programme was achieving results as resignations from the Craft have reduced. Robert concluded his response by thanking the lodge for the hospitality and warmth of his reception and to everyone for their attendance and the camaraderie it instils.
As part of the celebrations, the brethren were treated to a delightful rendition of the master’s song by Ray Beech accompanied by Howard Linaker on the piano.
David then had the pleasure of proposing the toast to the health of Peter as the new master. Much to the embarrassment of Peter, David had researched his subject well and gave almost a ‘This is your life’ presentation that was enjoyed by all present.
Peter responded by thanking the lodge for the honour of taking the master’s chair. He thanked all who had a part to play in the ceremony and making what had been an important day for him so enjoyable. In doing so, he thanked all the participants and concluded with by thanking his guests and the brethren for their attendance and Ray and John for their contribution of the master’s song.
At that point in the proceedings, protocol dictated that Robert, as the principal guest of the evening, would take his leave of the occasion. In thanking him for his attendance and contribution to the evenings event, Peter had the pleasure of presenting Robert with a bouquet of flowers as a gift for his wife Tina. This was by way of a thank you from the lodge that would, hopefully, provide some compensation for being without his company on yet another occasion.
The evening closed with Preston master, Keith Astbury, presenting David with his ‘Preston Masters’ badge” and welcomed him to that fine band of brothers known as the ‘Preston Masters 2017 – 2018’. He informed Peter that the badge identifies him as a current master in the Preston Group and is a badge he can wear with pride. However, Keith went on to add, that should another Preston master find David within the portals of Preston Masonic Hall not wearing his badge, it would result in an instant fine of £2. The said fine would be used to further swell the ‘Preston Masters’ charity fund for distribution later in the year.