The regular meeting of Monton Progress Lodge No 6361 held at Elm Bank Masonic Hall was far from regular as it was an evening of celebration and emotion for the brethren and visitors alike.
The business of the meeting was three-fold, that of a passing and two presentations, welcoming the new to remembering the past brethren. The lodge were honoured to welcome APrGMs David Winder and Dave Walmsley, Provincial Grand Charity Steward Phil Preston, Regional Charity Steward Denis Tierney, Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Boyd and group vice chairman Patrick Walsh.
The meeting was opened by WM Andy Lane who performed an excellent ceremony, assisted by his officers, in passing Christian Paul Clayton. Christian was presented and guided round the lodge by David Lent. The second degree tools were presented by Terry Morrison and the charge by Bob Allman to complete the ceremony of that of a fellow craft. Dave Walmsley congratulated the WM and his officers on a wonderful ceremony and praised Christian on the work he had done in preparation of his passing.
Andy had a pleasant duty to perform by presenting a cheque as a donation to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival in the sum of £10,000. The cheque was donated by David Walton PJGD who sadly passed away and was a member of Monton Progress Lodge.
Festival Vice President David Winder and Festival Chairman Phil Preston were delighted to receive this substantial donation to the MCF 2021 Festival. APrGM David Winder responded by thanking the lodge for this most generous donation in memory of David Walton and presented the WM with a certificate which makes the lodge Grand Patrons of the MCF. He also presented a certificate to the Eccles and District Group becoming Vice Patrons which Chairman Stuart Boyd accepted on behalf of the group.
At this juncture David approached the lectern to give a short presentation. He spoke about the history of David Walton and referred to his remarkable career in Masonry extending over 60 years and achieving the rank of PJGD. There are few who have served this Province as a Warden of the Province likewise very few have been Scribe Nehemiah of the Province as David Walton did. David said that he was a remarkable man in every way and a contributor to society as a whole and an ambassador to Freemasonry. He paid tribute to David’s wife, Suzanne, who had cared for David particularly during his later years and had been married for over 65 years.
David continued to summarise the importance of receiving such a substantial donation and what the money can achieve. He said that there is a Masonic festival every 11 years, normally for a minimum of five years to 10 years in duration. This time the festival is for a period of four years and was launched on 10 May 2017 at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in Blackpool, terminating in 2021. The Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 which brings together and overarches the four main Masonic charities of the Grand Charity, Samaritan Fund, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
He referred to statistics that are quite remarkable in respect of funds raised and donated. He said that there has been £1.000,000 donated to the Province of West Lancashire by MCF in each and every year since 2010 totalling £8,200,000 for our Masons, widows and dependants alone in that period. Last year £14,200,000 was donated to Mason’s widows and dependants in England and Wales. It was our turn while in festival to do our best to help replenish those coffers to enable continued support to our brethren and indeed our communities in need.
David said that this is the first time that any Province has been authorised to use their Provincial coat of arms as the focus of the Festival Jewel which took 12 months to get approval. He said that there are many Freemasons who have not yet purchased a jewel and that you can have one for as little as 25 pence per day. He invited all, if at all possible, become Stewards of the Festival and to wear their stewards jewel with pride in the knowledge that they would be helping to make that difference to those in need.
He said: It is the first time that a white relief chest envelope will be used for charity plate donations within lodges and chapters that is attributable to personal festival patronage. It is my wish that during festival the white envelope should be your first choice and priority for donations within lodge and chapter and that the WLFC are happy with that in that they have planned for the onset of festival. The white envelopes will attract 25% tax relief for the MCF if the donor is a tax payer.”
David concluded by thanking the brethren for their kind donations with particular homage to David Walton in the knowledge that it will be benefited by those who are in need. He asked that the precis eulogy and comments be appended to the minutes as a lasting memoriam to David Walton. He then thanked the brethren for their kind donations with particular homage to David Walton in the knowledge that it will be benefited by those who are in need.
The brethren then retired to enjoy a wonderful festive board and share memories of David.
Article and photographs by Tom Fredrickson.