Over 50 brethren witnessed Steve Cox, a self-employed roofer, installed into the chair of King Solomon at the installation meeting of Duke of Connaught Lodge No 2919 held at Southport Masonic Hall.
After the opening of the lodge by the WM Lee Martin and the usual business being completed, the DC Mike Fearnley retired from the lodge and on his return he was accompanied by Rob Garner and Pete Martin who had received Provincial rank; that of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and Provincial Grand Steward respectively. Lee congratulated Rob and Pete on their promotions both of whom thanked the lodge for their support in attaining the promotions and added it was an honour both for themselves and the lodge. The brethren also joined in the congratulations.
Once seated, there was another report and the DC announced that Christopher Hamilton, the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, was outside the lodge seeking admission. Lee responded that the lodge would be very happy to receive him. Chris was then admitted accompanied by Trevor Rimmer, Colin Jenkins, Mark Barton, Liam Mawdsley, Paul Hardman and Pete Martin.
Lee than asked if David Bradbury would occupy the position of senior warden, Robert Thornton-Davidson to occupy the position of junior warden and Don Cox the position of inner guard for the installation ceremony, which they all agreed to do. All those below the degree of a fellow craft were asked by Lee to retire and the lodge was opened in the second degree. The master elect Steve Cox was then presented to Lee by Dennis Cox, Steve’s grandfather. Steve then affirmed his unqualified assent and support of the essential 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.
Brethren below the degree of a master Mason were then asked to retire and the lodge was opened in the third degree. Lee then requested all those under the rank of an installed master with the exception of Steve to withdraw for a short period and a Board of Installed Masters was opened. Steve was then installed into the chair of King Solomon in what everyone agreed was an excellent ceremony, well executed by Lee who was very ably assisted by the officers of the lodge.
The brethren were then admitted by rank and Steve was proclaimed master of the Duke of Connaught Lodge for the ensuing year. The third degree working tools were presented by Adrian Hughes, the long version of the second degree delivered by Adam Day and the first by Thomas Dalton-McBain.
The ceremony of appointing and investing officers being completed was the cue for Pete Martin to deliver the address to the stewards. Jeff Cox, Steve’s father, had the privilege of delivering the address to him as the WM which was followed by David Bradbury addressing the wardens and finally the distinguished guest Chris Hamilton giving a very clear and eloquent address to brethren of the lodge.
After the ceremony, Chris brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulating Steve on being installed in the master’s chair for the first time and hoped he would enjoy his year in office. Chris also complimented Lee, saying that if Tony had been here he would have said that the ceremony was ‘bob-on’. Chris then also congratulated the officers who took part and made special mention of the junior brethren that presented the working tools in what was a very enjoyable and competent ceremony.
Steve then rose and thanked Chris for his kind words and presented him with cheques totalling £1,000. These included £250 to Southport Masonic Hall Foundation, £250 to Cancer Research UK and £500 to British Heart Foundation.
Following the ceremony, the festive board was held in high spirits as is the norm at the Duke of Connaught Lodge and everyone enjoyed a fine meal and each other’s company. To end the evening’s festivities Steve thanked everyone who had attended and took part in the ceremony and mentioned that the collection upstairs raised £95 and the raffle a further £220 for the charities.