John Harrop was proclaimed as the WM of Stretford with Trafford Lodge No 4379 for the seventh time at the installation meeting held at Swinton Masonic Hall.
The principal guest was Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phillip Gunning accompanied by grand officers, APrGM Dave Walmsley, Tony Edden and Alex Neilson. Also, Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Boyd and Patrick Walsh (Eccles Group Vice Chairman). Phillip was also supported by Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton and acting Provincial grand officers David Marlor and David Kenworthy.
Upon his arrival Phillip was greeted by Stuart Boyd who had the pleasant task of presenting a bag of traditional Eccles cakes to Phillip, Dave Walmsley and Mark Barton, which were gratefully received.
The formalities over, it was down to business. WM John Harrop opened the lodge and Phillip was received in the third degree and greeted by John. This being the second successive year in the chair for John, the ceremony was performed by proclamation and John retained the chair of King Solomon for the ensuing year.
The address to the WM was presented by Graham Wood and the address to the wardens and deacons by Graham McHugh.
On conclusion of the ceremony Phillip rose to extend the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and thanked John for occupying the chair once more. John then had the pleasant duty of presenting a cheque in the sum of £500 for Freemasons’ Grand Charity to which Phillip thanked the lodge for their generosity on behalf of the recipients.
Following the ceremony the brethren retired to join the distinguished guest at the festive board to partake in an enjoyable meal.
In his response to the toast to the grand officers, Phillip extended his personal congratulations to John on taking the chair for the seventh time adding that he has a healthy and busy year in his term of office. He added that John has been a great servant to Freemasonry and a good example to the junior brethren.
Phillip mentioned the forthcoming Grand Lodge meeting to be held at the Temple in Great Queen Street London and that if any of the brethren could attend, that it would be a wonderful experience.
He also made reference to recent publicity of the Data Protection Act and the issues around it. He reported that the Province is dealing with it and information will be sent out to secretaries and scribes in due course.
Phillip thanked Mark Barton for ensuring that his visit ran smoothly and the acting officers David Marlor and David Kenworthy for their support. He also extended his thanks for the support of Dave Walmsley, Stuart Boyd and Patrick Walsh for their company. He also thanked Tony Edden and his team for their contribution to the work carried out at Swinton Masonic Hall.
In conclusion, Phillip thanked all the brethren in attendance for making he feel welcome. WM John then had the pleasure of presenting Phillip with a fine bottle of whisky on behalf of the lodge in appreciation for his attendance.
The WM of Lodge of Hope No 2679 Tom Fredrickson responded to the toast to the visitors and presented John with the black spot and invited John to the circuit of masters. Tom referred to the work that John has contributed to and that he is a regular at other lodges and always willing to step in if needed.
Article and photographs by Tom Fredrickson.