Tony pays a visit to Southport

Southport Group were honoured to receive a visit from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, at the installation of Alan Proctor as master of Southport Emulation Lodge No 3675.

Outgoing WM Steve Cullen (left) welcomes Alan Proctor.

Outgoing WM Steve Cullen (left) welcomes Alan Proctor.

 Tony was accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright and the rest of Tony’s Provincial team they, along with a large number of visitors and brethren, were able to witness an excellent ceremony overseen by outgoing master, Steve Cullen.

 Once the lodge had initially been opened up to the third degree, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp was admitted and announced that the Provincial Grand Master was without and demanded admittance. This was done in good order and after the brethren were re-seated, Steve offered the gavel to Tony as was his right. Sportingly and with a slight hint of relief, Tony declined and Steve continued with proceedings.

The lodge was re-opened in the second degree by virtue and fellow crafts were re-admitted for the presentation of Alan by secretary John Deal. Steve then faultlessly addressed the observations to the brethren and then the necessary qualifications to Alan. This was followed by Alan’s assent to all the ancient charges and regulations. Finally, he took the obligation and his installation was ready to commence. After those below the rank of an installed master left the lodge, Steve installed Alan into the chair in a remarkable ceremony to finish his excellent year as master.

Pictured from left to right, are: Tony Harrison, Alan Proctor and Robert Wright.

Pictured from left to right, are: Tony Harrison, Alan Proctor and Robert Wright.

Master masons, fellow craft and entered apprentices were readmitted into the lodge at the appropriate junctures, to salute the new master and to present the working tools. These were done by Martin Bannister for the third, Darran Cross for the second and finally by Keith Aldis for the first. These were so well done that Tony felt need to specifically mention it at a later point in proceedings.

 After the installation of his officers, there followed the addresses to the charity steward, the WM, the wardens and the brethren of the lodge. These were given by Phil Stock, Sean Cronin, David Aspell and finally by Tony Harrison respectively. Tony then rose to give his personal greetings. This was warmly received by the assembled brethren and guests. However, before he could resume his seat, Alan presented him with some cheques for the charities.

The benefitting recipients were; the Southport Masonic Hall Foundation, Dementia UK, Masonic Charitable Foundation, Southport Offshore Lifeboat and Southport Kidney Fund. In total a massive £2,050, emphasising one of the cornerstones of Freemasonry, namely charity.

The Provincial team.

The Provincial team.

After the departure of the PrGM and his entourage, the lodge completed the usual lodge business and was closed.

It is worth pointing out that ceremonies of this calibre do not happen by accident. It is only by the dedication of the officers and particularly the excellent DC, Neil Pacey, that ensure such a smooth running and memorable evening.

While everyone was gathering in the bar prior to attending the festive board, Tony took the opportunity to meet and greet as many of the brethren as possible. For many of the brethren gathered there, it was the first time they had the opportunity to meet Tony and all were greeted warmly with a handshake and a friendly word.

Tony meets and greets

Tony meets and greets

During the festive board, the hall chef, Wayne Warhurst, once again came up trumps with a superb meal of pate, lamb rump with seasonal vegetables and raspberry cheesecake to finish. This was served in an exemplary manner by Wayne’s excellent serving staff.

Interspersed with the usual toasts, Robert Wright rose and gave a welcoming and amusing speech to Tony, during which he thanked him for his contribution to the evenings proceedings. Tony responded to this in his usual elegant and humorous way, bringing smiles and laughter from the assembled brethren.

Peter Allen responded to the Provincial toast and was well received. This was followed by John Deal’s heart-warming toast to the master, which reflected the high esteem Alan is held among the brethren of the lodge.

Finally, Alan Proctor responded to the master’s toast with a heartfelt and emotional speech. His thanks to the brethren of the lodge reflected the bond of friendship fostered by this welcoming lodge and capped what had been a memorable celebration with the PrGM in attendance.

An excellent festive board.

An excellent festive board.

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