Steven Cropper, an IT manager, has been installed into the chair of King Solomon at the installation meeting of Starkie Lodge No 1070 held at Southport Masonic Hall. Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright, the WM of the lodge, opened the lodge and conducted the initial business, following which the DC Tony Johnson retired from the lodge for a short time and on his return announced that Bryan Henshaw representative of the Provincial Grand Master was outside and sought admission. Robert responded that the lodge would be very happy to receive him.
Bryan was then admitted accompanied by Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins and group vice chairman Phil Stock and acting Provincial grand officers Eddie Harrison Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, Ronnie Wright Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and John Karran Provincial Grand Steward.
To help with the ceremony Robert asked Mike Foster to occupy the position of inner guard, Ian Jolly to occupy the chair of senior warden and James Grant to occupy the chair of junior warden.
After formally greeting Bryan and the distinguished guests, Robert than asked all those below the degree of a fellow craft to retire for a short while and the lodge was opened in the second degree. The master elect Steven Cropper was then presented to Robert by Ian Jolly, his proposer and a good friend. Steven then reaffirmed his unqualified assent and support of the ancient charges and regulations and was then placed before the WM’s pedestal where he recited his obligation with respect to his duties as master of the lodge.
All brethren below the degree of a master Mason were then asked to retire and the lodge was opened in the third degree. Robert then requested all those under the rank of an installed master to withdraw for a short period and a board of installed masters was opened. Steven was then installed into the chair of King Solomon, in what everyone agreed was an excellent ceremony, well executed by Robert who was on this occasion very ably assisted by the officers of the lodge.
The brethren were then re-admitted by rank and Steven was proclaimed master of the lodge for the ensuing year. The third degree working tools were presented by David Parker, second degree working tools by David Ellis and the first degree working tools` by David Ginger, with the ancient charge being given by Jerry Stimpson and the address to the charity steward by Martin Lockyer.
Steven then appointed and invested his officers starting with Robert his immediate past master, John McGrady as his senior warden, Martin Bos junior warden and the naming of David Ginger as the banner bearer of the lodge.
Following the investiture of officers Robert delivered the address to the WM which was followed by Michael Foster addressing the wardens, John Karran addressing the stewards and finally the distinguished guest Bryan Henshaw giving a very clear and eloquent address to the brethren of lodge.
After the ceremony and before closing the lodge, Bryan Henshaw brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulating Steven on being installed in the master’s chair and hoped he would enjoy his year in office, Bryan complimented Robert and also congratulated the officers who took part in what was a very enjoyable ceremony.
Steven then presented Bryan with cheques totalling £2,000. The recipients receiving the following; £250 Southport Masonic Hall Foundation, £250 West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £500 Tercentenary Fund, £500 Derian House, £500 Southport Kidney Foundation.
After the ceremony, the festive board was attended by 50 brethren who were all in high spirits and enjoyed a very fine meal. There was an excellent turnout with visitors from other lodges in Southport being represented. Starkie Lodge is the current holder of the ‘Travelling Gavel’, a prize available to lodges that muster the most visitors to the lodge that currently holds the gavel. On this occasion Eric Morris claimed the prize on behalf of Fermor Lodge No 1313 which was presented by Steven and Alan Cornes.
To end the evening’s festivities Steven thanked everyone who had attended and took part in the ceremony and mentioned that the collection upstairs raised £138 for the charities.