Edward Richards, known to his Masonic colleagues as Ted, has returned to the chair of Lodge of Good Fellowship No 5901 after a gap of 19 years. He was installed in a first-class ceremony led by David Radford as the outgoing and installing master.
The principal guest on this occasion was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder. They were supported by the Preston Group Chairman Stephen Bolton and acting Provincial grand officers; David Asbridge, David Kenworthy, Terry McGill and David Pallister.
David Radford, as master of the lodge welcomed all the visitors before opening the lodge in due form. After transacting the administrative business, the lodge was raised to the third degree before Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton, entered to announce the presence of Phil, who then entered the lodge to be formally welcomed by David Radford.
Following the formal salutations, the master elect Ted Richards, was presented for installation by David Caldecott. The visitors were then treated to a superlative ceremony at which David installed Ted, as the 76th master of the lodge, in a full and faultless ceremony.
The working tools of the third, second and first degrees were presented in an exemplary manner by Sean Doyle, fellow craft Daniel Modashia and Michael Fitchie respectively. The excellent presentation by Daniel concluded with a round of applause from all the brethren present. Ted was then addressed as master of the lodge by David Caldecott.
Ted then appointed the lodge officers, with Peter Donnelly and Ray Birkbeck being invested as senior and junior wardens respectively. On appointment, their duties were explained by Ted and when installed into their respective chairs, they were addressed by Alan Duffin. Following lodge custom, only those brethren who had not held their specific office on a previous occasion were addressed. Daniel Modashia was invested as the inner guard and addressed by Steve Nicholson. The final address, that to the brethren of the lodge, was given by the principal guest, Phil Gunning.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, Phil brought the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, in particular congratulating David Radford for a job well done as the installing master. His well-deserved congratulations were supported by resounding applause from the brethren. He thanked all those who had a part to play in what had been a wonderful ceremony and concluded by wishing Ted and all his officers an enjoyable and fruitful year in office.
Ted in turn, thanked Phil for his generous comments on behalf of the PrGM and presented two cheques to Phil as donations from the lodge brethren. The first, for £250, was in support of British Stammering Association and the second for the sum of £1,200 in support of the MCF 2021 Festival. Phil thanked the brethren on behalf of the recipients for their generosity.
The meeting continued with the presentation to David of a founder’s jewel, for him to wear during his year as the immediate past master of the lodge. The presentation was made by Ray Birkbeck in an emotional delivery that added to the occasion. In turn, David’s father, John Radford, had the pleasure of presenting him with his past master’s jewel for him to wear with pride as the retiring master. He congratulated him on a magnificent year in office. However, he did add that coming from Bacup in East Lancashire, it was only to be expected. This humorous comment attracted further applause from the brethren.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Phil added his own congratulations on what had been a wonderful feast of Masonic ritual presented in an excellent manner. He congratulated Ted on his second visit to the master’s chair wishing him well for his year in office.
On his own behalf, he congratulated David for doing an outstanding job in installing his successor. Having previously been in a similar situation, he empathised with David in his successful battle in overcoming a speech impediment that was so successfully demonstrated earlier. His congratulations extended to all the brethren that had earlier taken office, particularly mentioning fellow craft Daniel, wishing him well on his Masonic journey.
Moving on, Phil said what a pleasure it was to be in the company of David Winder, thanking him for all the work he is doing as the Vice President of the MCF 2021 Festival. Further mentioning the Festival, he thanked the lodge for the extremely generous donation made earlier in its support, informing them that their donations made so far qualified the lodge for Vice Patronage of the Festival. He added that within the Preston Group, overall donations so far total £30,200.
He added that he was also pleased to be in the company of the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton, congratulating him on his forthcoming promotion to grand rank. Phil concluded his congratulations by mentioning the names of the WM Ted Richards and Graham Timbrell, both of whom will be receiving promotions at the forthcoming meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. He continued by thanking the four acting Provincial grand officers for their support.
Turning to items in the news, Phil was pleased to see that in issuing the document ‘Enough is Enough’, Grand Lodge was responding to the repeated and unwarranted attacks on Freemasonry by the national press. He reminded everyone that they are all ambassadors to Freemasonry and to be open in their support of it. He closed by congratulating the lodge on its 75 years of history, saying what a magnificent achievement it was.
The occasion was further enhanced by an excellent rendition of the ‘master’s song’ delivered by lodge member, Graham Timbrell. During the festive board, a ‘Chorley’ raffle was held that raised a further £175 in support of the Masonic hall.
At the conclusion of the evening, Ted rose to thank Phil for his attendance saying that it was greatly appreciated and on behalf of the lodge members he presented him with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Ann. He hoped they would act as some form of recompense for being without Phil’s company for another evening.
Not to be outdone, Ted’s wife Susan, had organised a dinner in an adjacent room for the ladies of the lodge and their guests, an occasion that was enjoyed by all. As part of the dinner, a raffle was held that raised the sum of £135 that will ultimately be used for charitable purposes.