Each year the Woolton Group hold a celebration of achievement for those brethren and companions who have been honoured by the province, either for the first time or receive a further promotion. This year was no exception.
Ken Baxter, who was unable to organise the event last year due to ill health, arranged a superb night for the recipients. The Woolton Group had been fortunate to have 23 members receive first appointments or promotions and they and their wives and friends came together at Woolton Golf Club.
In attendance at the event were Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson. On welcoming everyone to the event Woolton Group Chairman Andy Whittle thanked everyone for attending and asked the chaplain to say grace.
The diners then tucked into an excellent meal after which the usual raffle was held which raised the sum of £315 for the Friends of Tithebarn, a project the Woolton Group are partnering with the Province of Cheshire.
Andy Whittle proposed the toast to the celebrants and in so doing said that grand ranks are few in number and a promotion requires a brother to have done a great deal of work for the Province. Provincial Grand Ranks are not awarded lightly either! They are given only after great study, research and deliberation by the Province and are a gift for the incumbent Provincial Grand Master on the recommendation of the ranks committee.
Andy informed the group that he had been privileged to have been asked to ‘observe’ the workings of the ranks committee together with another group chairman and he was really surprised as to how much time and effort went into proposing a brother for a first appointment or promotion.
Sometimes a brother who has not been through the chair but has given long and distinguished service to his lodge or chapter. The criteria necessary to achieve Provincial grand rank is certainly more onerous that it was in the past and Andy congratulated all the members of the Woolton Group on their preferment and he wished them well for their future years in Masonry.
He made special mention of two brothers who had been awarded Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, a rank that is scarce with only a couple in the province, and awarded by the Provincial Grand Master. Brethren and guests were asked to stand and drink a hearty toast to the recently appointed and promoted brethren and companions of the Woolton Group.
Andy used the opportunity to advise brethren of the forthcoming Black Tie dinner which would be held at the Village Hotel, Whiston on Saturday 13 May 2017. An opportunity for smaller lodges who cannot hold a ladies’ night to get together with other lodges and chapters in the group.
Finally, Andy thanked the catering staff for all their endeavours as chef Dave Aitkin was unwell so his wife Ita and son Rendi, who was on leave from his own job in London, had cooked the evening meal. After a thoroughly enjoyable evening the brethren and guests departed for home.