Members of Victoria Lodge No 1345 were honoured by the presence of APrGM Dave Walmsley accompanied by Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Boyd, group vice chairman Patrick Walsh and grand officers, John Hutton, Brian Everall and Tony Edden. Acting Provincial grand officers David Marlor and Fred Dickinson were also on duty.
Dave and Stuart were pleased to welcome a visitor from down under, Alan Taylor who is a grand officer of Western Australia and Grand Pursuivant and Grand Warden of Regalia and a member of Lodge of Faith Hope and Charity No 195.
The WM Michael Bolton welcomed Dave and the officers into the lodge and offered him the gavel, to which Dave thanked him and kindly returned it. Michael invited the following members to assist in the ceremony, installing senior warden Jonathan Brownson, installing junior warden David Partington and installing inner guard Robert Gorton.
Master elect Lawrence Harries was presented by his proposer Nick Wilkinson and was duly installed for the second time. The working tools of the third degree were presented by David Partington, the second degree working tools by Jeff Winstanley and the first degree working tools by Nick Wilkinson.
The address to the master was given by John Hulbert, the address to the wardens by Brian Everall and the address to the brethren by Brian Hart. At the conclusion of the ceremony Dave brought the personal greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison wishing the WM a happy and successful year ahead and extended warm congratulations to the installing master Michael Bolton and his officers on an excellent ceremony.
Lawrence then had the pleasure of presenting Dave with a cheque for £875 in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and other cheques totalling £1,400.75 to which he expressed his gratitude on behalf of the ultimate beneficiaries on a most generous donation from such a small lodge.
At the festive board, Dave offered his own congratulations to the WM on occupying the chair for the second time. He mentioned the generous donations by the lodge. He also spoke of the early history of the lodge and that the lodge will be celebrating 150 years in three years’ time.
He spoke about the MCF 2021 Festival and that many of the brethren were wearing the Festival Jewel. Dave said that the WLFC has presented £36,000 to the Blood Bikes to transport blood and other emergency services throughout Lancashire.
He encouraged all Masons who are not members of the Royal Arch, of which 55% of Masons in the Province are not members, to join as a progression of their Masonic knowledge.
Dave referred to the recent press coverage and the allegations about Freemasonry and that we are fighting back by being more open to the public and utilising our Ambassador Scheme to encourage lodges to have open days for the public.
He concluded by thanking secretary Ron Gorton for his invitation, the acting officers and the group chairman and vice chairman Stuart Boyd and Patrick Walsh.
Before retiring, Lawrence presented Dave with a bottle of fine whisky and thanked him for his attendance, to which Dave responded saying that he would enjoy it whilst eating his Eccles cakes which had been presented to him by Stuart Boyd.
Article by Tom Fredrickson and photographs by John Harrop.