The installation ceremony of Stanley of Bickerstaffe Lodge No 3511, was very well attended with over 50 members and guests meeting to witness Peter Smith being installed as their new WM. With the meeting being held at the Ormskirk Masonic Hall, for the evening’s ceremony the lodge was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Anthony (Tony) Bent who was the lodge’s principal guest for the ceremony. Tony was accompanied on the evening by the Ormskirk and Bootle Group Chairman Frank Umbers, group vice chairman Graham Chambers, as well as grand officer Malcolm Alexander and acting Provincial grand officers.
Outgoing WM and installing master, Andrew Clarke, started the evening by warmly welcoming everyone to the installation before proceeding to open the lodge. Once the initial business was completed, Andrew proceeded to open the lodge to the second and third degrees, where the director of ceremonies, Peter Graham, entered the room and announced that Phillip Gunning and Tony Bent were without and demanded admission. They were duly admitted into the lodge in a procession, accompanied by grand officers Frank Umbers and Malcolm Alexander; together with acting Provincial grand officers, Michael Dutton, Fred Dickinson, Carl Mathews and Russell Skidmore.
Andrew formally welcomed Philip to the lodge, before offering him the gavel, which Philip graciously declined and once the salutations had been taken, Philip and Tony swapped seats where Tony was then formally welcomed to the lodge by Andrew as their principle guest. Andrew then asked William Follett to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Ray Tompsett to occupy the junior warden’s chair, William Griffiths to act as inner guard and Geoff Lever to act as tyler. The master elect, Peter Smith was then presented to the lodge by Geoff Lever and after Peter had taken his obligation, Andrew thanked the officers and the brethren of the lodge, for all their support and hard work during his year in office.
Next, Andrew installed Peter into the chair of King Solomon in a warm, sincere and faultless ceremony. The working tools for the third degree were presented by James Roberts, in the second degree by Edward Clarke and in the first degree by Ray Tompsett, all three degree tool where presented in an excellent and proficient manner.
Once Peter had invested his officers for the forthcoming year, the address to WM was given by Andrew followed by the address to the brethren of the lodge by Tony Bent, again all the addresses were delivered faultlessly and in a proficient manner.
The ceremony being completed, Tony stood up and brought the personal greetings and congratulations to Peter from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison on attaining the chair. Tony also congratulated all those that had taken part in the ceremony, in particular mentioning the excellent installation undertaken by Andrew assisted by outgoing DC Peter Graham, the new DC Malcolm Sandywell and the other officers involved in the ceremony that evening.
In response to Tony, Andrew on behalf of Peter and the lodge brethren had the privilege to present Tony with four cheques, £950 Freemasons’ Grand Charity, £400 for the West Lancashire Masonic Charity, £100 to the Huntington’s Disease Association and £250 to the Friends of Tithebarn. Tony on behalf of the recipients thanked the lodge members for their very generous and worthy donations.
After the meeting was closed the brethren retired to enjoy the festive board and during the evening’s speeches Andrew proposed the toast to the health of the new WM Peter, giving an insight into his career as a police officer and the time he has spent working in Hong Kong taking a secondment with the Hong Kong Police, (Anti-Corruption Unit), before returning home to the UK and joining the Fraud Squad at the Police Headquarters and spent some time with what is now called the Professional Standards Department. The evening now completed the brethren retired to go home after a memorable occasion.