We have all heard of the story of the swan swimming serenely on the surface but paddling like mad underneath! Well, that’s what it felt like as the brethren of City Lodge No 2514 assembled for their installation meeting. News came in that there was major traffic disruption in the region, the master Andrew Prowse had just ‘phoned to say he was delayed in traffic and lodge officers were absent due to a ‘bug’ that was doing the rounds. The best laid plans of mice and Masons……!
Just as the lodge was about to be opened by the immediate past master, the master arrived somewhat flustered but raring to go. Andrew opened the lodge assisted by his officers, despatched quickly the usual business and opened to the second and third degrees. Shortly, the lodge director of ceremonies, who is affectionately known as ‘Bluey’ announced that the representative of the Provincial Grand Master was outside. The brethren stood as Frank Umbers accompanied by Woolton Group Chairman Andy Whittle, grand officer David Withey and acting Provincial grand officers Tom Arnold Provincial Deputy Grand Standard Bearer and Gordon Sandford Provincial Grand Sword Bearer processed into the lodge where the worshipful master warmly welcomed Frank.
The lodge was adjourned to the third degree so that salutations could be given to Frank and the other grand officers; David Newland took the salutations on behalf of the Provincial grand officers. The WM then adjourned the lodge to the second degree so that the master elect, Ian Laurence Barton could be presented by his proposer into Masonry Stephen James Riley for installation.
In what can only be described as a flawless, exemplary ceremony Ian was duly installed into the chair of King Solomon by Andrew. The address to the master was given by Stephen James Riley; the address to the wardens by Geoffrey Johnston and the working tools in the third degree were presented by Alan Owens; in the second degree by George Powell and in the first degree by Philip Summers. Frank Umbers gave the address to the brethren.
The officers of the lodge having been invested Frank rose to convey the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master and on his behalf, he also congratulated the installing master and other brethren for a very fine ceremony. The newly installed master presented a cheque to Frank in the sum of £250 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and this was warmly received. Frank thanked the lodge on behalf of the ultimately unknown recipients for its generosity.
The main business of the evening being ended the grand officers retired followed shortly by the rest of the brethren. Everyone the adjourned to the dining room for some well-earned refreshment. At the festive board, in response to the toast to his health Frank thanked the acting officers for attending and said it was an honour for him to attend the meeting as this was his first time at Woolton. He said that the ceremony he had witnessed was second to none and warmly congratulated the installing master and brethren. Frank informed the brethren that the lodge director of ceremonies, was to receive the high rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works at the next meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. The brethren received this with great acclaim. During his response, Frank reminded the brethren of the forthcoming tercentenary celebrations of Grand Lodge, the 2021 MCF Festival and the ongoing evolution of the magnificent care system that operates within our Province.
During the meal, a raffle was held which raised the sum of £133 for lodge widows. David Woods sang the Master’s song and the brethren heartily joined in the choruses and so a great evening was had by all.
Story and photographs by Colin Roberts