Victoria Lodge No 1345 was honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Senior Warden John David Lee as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison. John was accompanied by Eccles Group Chairman, Dave Walmsley, group vice chairman, Stuart Boyd and grand officers, Tony Edden and Frank Wilkinson. John was also supported by acting officers Gordon Sandford PrGSwdB and Craig Sutton PrAGDC.
Master elect, Michael John Bolton was to be installed for the second year in succession. Following the opening of the lodge in the first degree by Michael, the DC Jeff Winstanley left the lodge and returned to announce that the Provincial Grand Senior Warden was without and requested admission, to which Michael responded by saying: “We will be pleased to admit him”. Michael opened the lodge in the second and third degrees and invited Brian Hart to occupy the chair as the installing master.
Michael was presented to the installing master by Jeff Winstanley and Brian requested that the following brethren assist him as installing officers, Jonathan Brownson as installing senior warden, David Partington as installing junior warden and Ron Gorton as installing inner guard.
The master elect Michael Bolton was installed into the chair of King Solomon with a wonderful ceremony performed with reverence and under the supervision of Jeff Winstanley.
The working tools of the third degree were presented by David Partington, the second by Jeff Winstanley and the first by Nick Wilkinson.
The address to the master was given by Jim Hulbert and the address to the wardens by John Lee. The address to the brethren was perfectly performed by David Partington.
John arose on his cue to convey the personal greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and wished Michael a happy and successful year ahead. John also extended warm congratulations to the installing master Brian Hart and his officers on an excellent ceremony.
Michael presented John with two cheques totalling the sum of £940 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival which he gratefully received on behalf of the recipients who will undoubtedly benefit from such a generous donation.
In his response to the toast to the Provincial officers, John offered his own congratulations to Michael and to the installing master Brian Hart. He wished the brethren of Victoria lodge an eventful year under the mastership of Michael. He thanked the brethren for the warmth and friendly atmosphere which had made him so welcome. He also thanked Dave Walmsley and congratulated him on the good work that he has carried out for the group. He also thanked the acting officers Gordon Sandford and Craig Sutton and the grand officers. He also paid compliment to the secretary Ron Gorton and DC, Jeff Winstanley, for their work in ensuring that the celebration ran smoothly.
John made reference to a great turn out of visitors especially those from the South Fylde group who had made the journey to help swell the numbers in support of the lodge.
John made reference to the preparation of the celebrations of 300 years of Freemasonry to be celebrated in this year which will be officially launched at the Provincial Grand Lodge on 10 May at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool and appealed to the brethren to attend and support the Provincial Grand Master on this occasion. He said that the celebration is a golden opportunity to involve friends, relatives and non-Masons and spread the word about the work that our organisation carries out.
He made reference to the work that the care system has been carrying out and how well it is working. He expressed how important it is that the care team should be made aware of any needs to ensure that no one is left wanting.
John concluded by thanking all present for their kind hospitality and wished the brethren of Victoria lodge an eventful year.
The Masters song was sung by the brethren accompanied by Bernard McDonald on the piano.
Before retiring, John was presented with a fine bottle of whisky in appreciation for his attendance.
Article and photographs by Tom Fredrickson.