Starkie Lodge No 1070 once again held a first degree ceremony, remarkably for the second month in succession, on this occasion to welcome Adam Bicknell into the lodge. Senior deacon Alan Taylor took the role of junior deacon, to assist Adam faultlessly through his initiation.
WM John McGrady, presiding over his last ceremony before the installation of the new master in February, showed how good a ritualist he really is, with an almost word-perfect ceremony throughout, an excellent footnote to his memorable year in the chair.
Starkie Lodge once again showed that regular practices, overseen by perfectionist and hard-working DC Tony Johnson, pays dividends, with all officers knowing their roles intimately. This was especially prevalent in the way that Adam followed Alan’s instructions perfectly, allowing the brethren and 10 guests to enjoy a textbook demonstration of an initiation ceremony.
Martin Maynard’s excellent presentation of the north east corner further added to the solemnity of the ceremony, with Adam professing later that he thought Martin was a professional actor! Martin followed this up with an explanation of the working tools of the degree, again given with style and panache.
After Adam’s dismissal and return to the lodge, Bob Shaw did his famous, (at least within the lodge), presentation of the charge. He carried this out with such care and attention to detail, that even after many years of repetition, he has lost none of the enthusiasm from the first time he did it.
At a suitable juncture, lodge mentor Peter Stones welcomed Adam and presented him with the usual welcome pack and his introduction to the ‘Three Degrees Club,’ of which every new initiate automatically becomes a member.
After the completion of the regular lodge business, the meeting was closed and the brethren retired to the festive board, where once again hall chef Wayne Warhurst and his staff served a delicious main course of home-made steak pie and chips, showing what an asset he is to the Southport Group.
The usual toasts followed during which John McGrady welcomed Adam into the fold. When Adam had the opportunity to respond, he enthused about how excited he was to join Freemasonry and particularly being part of, in his opinion, ‘the best lodge in Southport.’ He went on to say how he was looking forward to taking an active role. This came sooner than expected as he was asked if he would like to take part in proceedings the following night, during Starkie Lodge’s Christmas Social, which he did admirably. Thrown in at the deep end for sure.
The junior warden, Alan Cornes gave the toast to the visitors with a most hilarious speech. This was responded to by Rick Gillett, WM of Ainsdale Samaritan Lodge No 4342, who thanked all the brethren of Starkie Lodge for a most enjoyable ceremony and a welcoming festive board.
The festivities finished off with Gordon Kay’s usual tyler’s toast. Special mention should also go to Ken Jones who once again regaled the brethren with his musical skills, both in the lodge and during the festive board.
As is traditional in Starkie Lodge, a large number of brethren and guests retired to the bar, along with the newest member, to enable Adam to get to know his new brothers on a more informal basis. It was evident that he will definitely be an asset to the lodge and securing a rosy future for Starkie Lodge for decades to come.