Members of Andrew Lodge No 3328 were pleased to welcome PAGDC Dave Thomas to their installation meeting held at Elm Bank Masonic Hall. Dave was accompanied by Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Boyd, grand officers Brian Heyes and Derek Easton and acting Provincial grand officer David Marlor PrGStwd. Dave, known for not smiling, was presented with the traditional Eccles cakes by Stuart which brought a smile to his face.
The meeting proved to be a double celebration of the installation of master elect Chris Knowles and also the presentation of a certificate for the Vice Patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival.
On opening the lodge, installing master Chris Hansford welcomed the Dave Thomas and his officers as they took their rightful seats in the lodge
The master elect, Chris, was presented to the WM by Jon Wright for the benefit of installation. Chris Hansford performed a sincere ceremony installing Chris Knowles into the chair of King Solomon ably assisted by his installing officers and DC Jonathan Platt.
The third degree tools were given by Paul Rostron, Stephen Dyson the second degree tools and Phil Curtis presented the first degree tools.
The address to the master was given by John Wright, that to the wardens by Jeremy Dootson and that to the deacons by Andy Heslop. Group charity steward Bill Walker gave an address to the lodge charity steward Jeremy Dootson.
On completion of the ceremony, Dave brought the greetings and good wishes for a happy and healthy year from the Provincial Grand Master tony Harrison to Chris and the brethren. Dave went on to present Chris with a certificate to mark the Vice Patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival awarded to Andrew Lodge which they can proudly print on their summons. Chris accepted the certificate with pride on behalf of the brethren of the lodge.
Chris then presented John with a number of cheques which were made out in favour towards various charitable donations of £1,500 to the West Lancashire MCF 2021 Festival, £200 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £100 to Friends of Ecclesholme, £100 to the British Heart Foundation and £50 towards the Forget Me Not Trust. A total of £2,050, to which Dave responded that this was a magnificent amount donated by the lodge for worthy causes and thanked the brethren on behalf of those who will eventually benefit from the very kind generosity of the lodge.
A most enjoyable festive board continued the evening. Dave responded to the toast to the grand officers and thanked both the grand officers Brian and Derek for their support. He also thanked Stuart Boyd for his invitation and also acting Provincial grand officer David Marlor.
Dave made reference to the year 1908 when the lodge was consecrated. On January 24 1908, the Boy Scouts movement began in England with the publication of the first installment of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. This is significant to Andrew Lodge as they have recruited a high volume of brethren through scouting links due to the impetus of Steve Hayes who is sadly deceased and sorely missed by all that knew him.
It was back in 2002 when the lodge had only 14 brethren that Steve introduced a link with his contacts in scouting and the lodge has now reaped the benefits and increased its membership to 35, with over half of them being light blues and proposals of new initiates in the coming months. This bodes well for the lodge and will keep the newly installed master and his officers busy.
Dave said said that it was good to see Chris occupy the chair of King Solomon some 12 years since he had been installed for the first time. He said that we should strive to encourage the junior brethren to progress through the offices and keep them occupied and busy which will bode well for the future.as was demonstrated this evening when we witnessed excellent presentations of the working tools delivered by the junior brethren. He also paid tribute to the generosity of the lodge and congratulated them on the Vice Patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival.
Dave’s message from the Provincial Grand Master was that we should be happy and continue to enjoy our Freemasonry. He expressed the importance of the work that the group officers carry out and made mention to the work that the publicity officers do in promoting Freemasonry on the websites.
To conclude the evening, the master’s song was sung by John Hindle, who along with Chris Knowles, are both members of the Provincial Choir. Protocol called for Dave and his officers to retire and they thanked the brethren for their hospitality and an enjoyable evening.
Dougie Crompton, WM of Ellesmere Lodge No 3068 responded on behalf of the visitors and presented Chris with the black spot and invited him to join the circuit masters of other lodges.
Article and pictures by Tom Fredrickson.