It was with a sense of anticipation for an enjoyable evening, that the brethren of Starkie Lodge No 1070 assembled for the installation of Alan Cornes into the chair of King Solomon.
In a packed Scarborough Temple in Southport Masonic Hall, the lodge was duly opened into the third degree which heralded the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, making his second visit to Southport, who demanded entrance. He was accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Frank Umbers and Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright who had made the trip from Scotland specifically to attend.
Along with Tony’s Provincial team, group chairman Colin Jenkins also honoured the lodge with his presence alongside other group officers and many representatives of the various lodges in the Southport Group.
Provincial Senior Grand Warden John Karren and Provincial Junior Grand Warden Barry Dickenson, occupied the senior and junior warden positions with Steve Cropper taking the role of inner guard. After the salutations, Tony was offered the gavel by outgoing master Martin Bos, which was politely refused. The assembled brethren then settled down to hear Robert Shaw present Alan for installation.
After he had completed his obligation, the lodge was opened up to a board of installed masters and there followed a superb ceremony of installation performed by Martin.
The brethren were readmitted in due form and at the proper junctures there followed faultless presentations of the working tools by Craig Clifford, David Ellis and Adam Bicknell in the respective three degrees. The officers were then duly installed, with the exception of Alan Taylor who was unable to attend and would be installed as senior warden at a later date.
Mike Foster then gave a superb and heartfelt address to the new master. This was followed by an excellent address to the wardens given by John Karren and finally Tony Harrison gave a heart-warming address to the brethren of Starkie Lodge which signified the completion of Alan’s installation.
Tony rose once more to give a speech of thanks for a wonderful ceremony and before he could retake his seat, he was presented with a marvellous charitable donation from the lodge of £5,350. This was divided between a number of different charities, with £1,070 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £1,070 to the Hall Window Fund (Pane), £1,070 to Southport Friends of Tithebarn, £1,070 to SSAFA, £250 to Childflight, £250 to Southport Sea Cadets, £250 to Southport Air Scouts and finally £350 to Galaways Club in honour of Jack Hudson who had sadly passed away some months before.
After the first rising, the Provincial contingent retired from the lodge which then completed the risings and was closed.
A superb attendance of 99 brethren enjoyed an unusual festive board, which started with Tony, Alan and the Provincial wardens being piped into the hall by Martin Bos’s son, Rowan, playing ‘Highland Cathedral’ on the bagpipes.
This set the tone of the remainder of the evening with the brethren in high spirits after an excellent evening which culminated in a speech from IPM Martin to Alan, to which Alan gave a warm and humorous response showing the respect and friendliness amongst the brethren of this welcoming lodge. He made special mention of the work put in by director of ceremonies Tony Johnson and also of organist Mel Smallwood who made a rare appearance, especially to give musical accompaniment to the event.