Lee Martin has been installed into the chair of King Solomon at the installation meeting of the Duke of Connaught Lodge No 2919 held at Southport Masonic Hall.
After the opening of the lodge by WM John Martin, and the general business being completed, which included the admission into the lodge of DC Michael Fearnley to celebrate his preferment to Provincial Grand Lodge and being awarded the rank of PPrJGD, there was a report and the Provincial DC Malcolm Bell was admitted. Malcolm informed the brethren that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Robert Wright was outside the lodge and demanded admission.
John responded that the lodge would be very happy and delighted to receive him. Robert was then admitted, accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers: Paul Renton, Mark Barton, Ronnie Wright, John Karran, Dennis Cox, Andy Davis and the Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins.
Once admitted John formally greeted Robert and offered him the gavel of the lodge. Robert accepted the gavel but quickly handed it back, saying that the longer he held it the more nervous he became as he hadn’t been to any lodge practices, and he was sure that John was looking forward to installing his nephew.
After resuming the lodge in the second degree the master elect Lee was then presented to his uncle John by his father Peter Martin, the current immediate past master, and asked the usual questions of the master elect.
After these observations and qualifications had been confirmed by Lee, John then asked David Bradbury to occupy the chair of senior warden, Robert Thornton-Davidson to occupy the chair of junior warden and Don Cox to occupy the position of inner guard for the installation ceremony. John resumed the lodge in the third degree and requested all those present under the rank of an installed master to withdraw for a short period and a board of installed masters was then opened.
Lee was then installed into the chair of King Solomon by his uncle in an excellent ceremony we have come to expect from John and the Duke of Connaught Lodge in particular.
The brethren were then admitted by rank and Lee was proclaimed the 112th master of the Duke of Connaught Lodge by the lodge DC for the ensuing year. The third degree working tools were presented by Adrian Hughes, the second degree by David Perry and the first degree by David Colley, all of whom did an excellent job, but special mention to David Colley who as an entered apprentice has only attended two meetings.
Lee’s first task as master was to install his immediate past master – uncle John, followed by the officers for the ensuing year which he carried out in an exemplary manner.
The address to the WM was given by Doug Cullen, the address to the wardens by Jeff Cox and finally the address to brethren of the lodge was eloquently delivered by Robert.
After the ceremony Robert congratulated Lee on being installed in the master’s chair of this thriving lodge, adding that he had made a very confident start and hoped that he would have a very happy and successful year. Saying for him it had been a night of superlatives, it was wonderful to see the ritual performed so well, an indication that a lot of work was put into practices and mentoring.
Robert went on to say that it was great to see so much light blue taking up the key roles in the lodge, commenting that no one on the ladder has been through the chair before. He then mentioned something he and his colleagues had been discussing during the investment of officers; it was great to see a lodge that had 10 stewards and junior brethren ready to come through the ranks, a sign that the lodge is obviously doing something right. Robert then went on to congratulate John on installing his nephew and the officers who took part in what had turned out to be a very enjoyable ceremony.
Lee then rose and presented Robert with three cheques totalling £1,000 made out to the following charities: £500 Bloom Appeal a charity close to the master’s heart, £250 Southport Masonic Hall Foundation, £250 Friends of Tithebarn.
The festive board was attended by 55 brethren who all enjoyed an excellent meal comprising of black pudding and bacon to start, gammon with egg and pineapple with seasonal vegetables for main and lemon meringue pie for dessert.
In his response to the toast to the grand officers Robert once again thanked the members of the lodge for their kind hospitality and said that it had indeed been a night of superlative and reiterated how much he had enjoyed the ceremony. It had been a true family occasion with Lee’s father Peter presenting and his uncle John installing, something he added he hadn’t seen before. He said it was great to see so many younger brethren coming through and taking up positions in the lodge and wanting to get involved. The lodge was indeed very fortunate in that matter. Robert then went on to thank Peter Taylor and Paul Renton for also attending and the Provincial DC’s Malcolm Bell and Mark Barton and Provincial Grand Steward John Karren who bring a great deal of dignity to these occasions.
John then gave a toast to the WM and said to Lee, “When you stood outside the lodge you were my nephew, then you became my brother, within a few years you became my warden and tonight you have become my master.”
Lee thanked John for his kind words and thanked all the brethren who had attended and took part in the ceremony adding that he will help to maintain the high standards that the Duke of Connaught has come to expect.