A huge gathering of 110 brethren packed the Scarborough Temple at Southport Masonic Hall, to welcome Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to Victoria Lodge No 2360 on the installation of Dave Weatherby as master.
After the lodge was opened in due form, outgoing master Les Gilston first had the pleasant duty of congratulating Terry Tasker, Jackson Heading and Jeremy Williams, on their promotions and preferments in Provincial Grand Lodge.
After the disposal of regular business, the lodge was opened in the third degree at which time it was announced that Tony Harrison demanded entrance and was duly admitted, accompanied by grand officers, acting Provincial grand officers and Provincial grand officers.
Les welcomed Tony and offered him the gavel of the lodge, which Tony accepted and speedily returned intimating that he intended to enjoy a relaxed evening. After the salutations the lodge was closed by virtue and resumed in the second degree. In preparation for the installation ceremony, John Karran occupied the senior wardens chair, Barry Dickinson the junior wardens chair and John Mawdsley took the position of inner guard.
Peter Wall and Roy Crawford had the honour of presenting Dave to the WM and upon completion of his obligation, the installation was carried out. After a faultless ceremony which saw Dave become the new WM, the rest of the brethren were admitted at the appropriate times and the assembled brethren were treated to the presentation of the tools by Mark Cunningham in the third degree, Gordon May in the second degree and finally Brian McCarthy in the first degree.
After the brethren had resumed their seats, Dave installed his officers. This was followed by the addresses given by Roy Crawford to the WM, Barry Dickinson to the wardens and finally by Tony Harrison to the brethren of the lodge.
Dave then presented seven cheques totalling £6,000 to Tony, to be passed on to their various destinations.
£500 respectively to the Southport Group (PANE) Building Fund, Queenscourt Hospice, NW Air Ambulance and Southport Offshore Rescue Trust, £750 to Spartac Gymnastics Club, £250 to NW Blood Bikes and £3,000 to the West Lancashire Freemason’s Grand Charity.
Tony then had the pleasure of presenting the brethren of Victoria Lodge with an MCF 2021 Grand Patron Certificate. After which Chris Lathom presented the lodge with a Window ‘PANE’ Certificate and finally Dave presented Les with a bound book which contained a record of the work he had undertaken during his year as master of the Lodge.
After the lodge was closed following general lodge business, the brethren retired to the bar where Tony, as is his usual practice, wanted to meet and greet as many brethren as possible. The brethren were then called to the festive board to enjoy a hearty meal of pate, followed by roast beef and finally strawberry cheesecake.
A large number of toasts and speeches followed during which the assembled diners enjoyed an excellent rendition of the master’s song by John Mawdsley, in fine voice as usual. The festivities concluded with the tyler’s toast given by John Vaughan in his own inimitable style after which a large gathering of brethren retired to the bar to reflect on a superb evening.
This was the first official visit by Tony Harrison to the Southport Group this season. He will pay a second visit to Starkie Lodge No 1070 early in 2019 at their installation ceremony, where it is hoped for an equally impressive turnout.