A lot of Masons were expected to attend this installation ceremony of Anfield Lodge No 2215 and so it was with over 80 attending.
As the brethren walked into the temple there was a happy buzz with Masons greeting one another and the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies rehearsing the troops. There were several acting Provincial grand officers present and several grand officers expected also, so this was going to be a great night. This story nearly got titled, ‘The Little and Large show’, and when you see the pictures of the installing master and the master elect you will understand why.
Masons, Sean Whelan of Football Lodge No 9921, accompanied by his secretary Bill Starkey, had travelled up from Southampton during the day and were to return after the festive board; such was the support and affection for the master elect and the close ties that Anfield Lodge have with Football Lodge.
The DC Gary Devlin called the brethren to order so that the WM and his wardens could process into the room to the melodic strains of Z Cars and take their seats. The WM Doug Holgate opened the lodge in the first degree so that the usual opening business could be despatched quickly to allow the ceremony of installation to continue. Doug then opened the lodge to the second degree and requested that all fellow craft Freemasons retire so he could then open the lodge to the third degree.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton entered the lodge to inform the WM that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton stood without and demanded admission. The WM said he would be extremely pleased to receive him; these two have a great affinity with each other.
The procession of acting Provincial grand officers along with grand officers Fred Hunter, Barry Elman, Sam Robinson and Howard Griffiths entered the lodge in due form. Doug warmly welcomed Kevin saying that it was a pleasure to receive him and he offered Kevin the gavel of the lodge.
Kevin responded by saying that it was delightful to see so many people in the capacity filled temple and that he was looking forward to an enjoyable evening and as the WM had been hard at work for some time he would return the gavel to his capable hands. Kevin was then saluted in due form; Howard Griffiths and the other grand officers were saluted and Vic Albin took the salutations on behalf of the Provincial grand officers.
Doug then adjourned the lodge to the second degree and the fellow craft Freemasons returned. He then requested past masters to assist him by requesting Fred Hunter to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Ken Croft to occupy the junior warden’s chair and Stan Dawkins to remain as inner guard. The officers duly took their seats and the master elect Andrew (Andy) Whittle was presented by Gary Devlin, who had proposed him into the lodge and Eric Carroll.
Andy readily affirmed his agreement of the ancient charges and regulations and then proceeded to reaffirm his obligation with confidence. Fellow craft Freemasons were then requested to retire so that Doug could adjourn the lodge back to the third degree.
The officers of Anfield Lodge were asked to line up in the north so that Doug could thank them for all the support they had given him and the lodge during his year in office saying that they had made him so proud. All below the rank of an installed master were requested to retire and then Doug sincerely and confidently installed his successor according to ancient custom.
Master Masons were readmitted, saluted the newly installed master and George Christie provided an explanation of the working tools. Andy Whittle then closed the lodge to the second degree to allow the fellow craft Freemasons to be readmitted. They entered the lodge, saluted Andy Whittle and Steve Lyons gave them the longer explanation of the second degree tools. The lodge was then closed to the first degree and entered apprentice Freemasons were readmitted, saluted the newly installed master and Alan Ledge, a master Mason and SW elect, provided the explanation of the working tools.
The worshipful master was then asked to appoint and invest his officers. The deacons’ address was provided by Keith Williams; the address to the WM was given by Sean Whelan of Football Lodge and the wardens address was given by Mike Cunliffe Vice Chairman of the Woolton Group. As is custom, the principal guest Kevin Poynton gave the address to the brethren of the lodge.
The installing master Doug Holgate was then pleased to inform Andy that the ceremony of installation was concluded which was the cue for Kevin Poynton to quickly rise to his feet and convey the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison who wished Andy every happiness and good health for the ensuing year. Kevin went on to say that had Tony been present he would immediately proceed to the installing master and congratulate him for an excellent ceremony, as Doug had obviously put in a lot of hard work to make the evening so successful, finishing with the words: “Well done lad.” Finally, Kevin thanked all the brethren who taken part in the ceremony.
The WM rose to present Kevin with a cheque for £500 for the MCF 2021 festival. Kevin thanked the lodge brethren for their very generous donation and said that they had made someone’s life much easier, but he had a surprise in store for the lodge and presented Andy Whittle with a certificate for Vice Patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival. Doug Holgate was asked to present the next cheque, the money having been raised during his Ladies Night, for £350 for the Salvation Army.
Alms were collected after which communications from Grand Lodge were taken. Mark Barton then formed the procession so that the principal guest and the other grand officers could retire, again to the tune from Z Cars. Andy Whittle then closed the lodge in due form so that the brethren could make their way downstairs for the festive board and on this occasion the chef, David Aitkin master of his own lodge was present to enjoy an evening off.
As you can imagine, this was to be no regular festive board with so many people present and an excellent menu of fresh prawns and roast Welsh lamb and dessert provided by the catering staff. There were two footballs, one from each of the Merseyside teams duly signed by the players, along with two shirts which had been signed too. The raffle for these raised £400. A Chorley raffle was also held for a selection of liquid refreshment and raised £355. Sean Whelan had donated two tickets to watch Everton versus Wolverhampton from the director’s box, along with refreshments and the auction for this raised a further £200 bringing the total to a magnificent sum of £955.
In response to the toast to his health, Kevin reminded brethren of the MCF 2021 Festival, saying that the Province was in full swing and that every penny donated was given freely by Freemasons reminding us that half of the monies collected for charity were donated to non-Masonic causes. He said that in his area of the Province there were to be two recipients, namely Marie Curie and Zoe’s Place, who would receive their cheques in the very near future.
Kevin went to thank all the acting Provincial grand officers who had attended the ceremony saying that the five of them came to support the lodge. Steve Lyons and Colin Roberts were thanked for the work they did in providing publicity for the Province and the group.
Dave Woods sang the Master’s song with the brethren joining in for the chorus. Mike Cunliffe as vice chairman of the group presented a card on behalf of the group and the usual celebratory cake. Sean Whelan presented Andy Whittle with a pennant from Football Lodge and in return Andy presented him with a Liverpool plaque much to the delight of Bill Sharkey secretary of Football Lodge.
The evening was coming to a close, but not before Andy had a few more presentations to make, firstly to Kevin with some flowers for his wife Sue, a bottle of liquid refreshment for himself and a set of cufflinks and pin badge struck for the 125-year celebration of Anfield Lodge. Andy also presented Mark Barton with a bottle of liquid refreshment thanking him for providing a smooth flow to the evening’s festivities.
The final presentation of the evening was one which gave Andy much pleasure as he presented to an emotional Doug Holgate with his past master’s jewel. As at all Masonic events, the evening came to a close with Brian Jones, the lodge’s tyler, providing the last toast and the very happy brethren then made their way home in the full knowledge that Andy had been expertly installed into the chair of King Solomon and an evening that he would forever remember.
Article and photographs by Colin Roberts.