In a large gathering, perhaps not seen since the days of Boudicca and the Iceni, the invasion of the aptly named Roman Suite at the Liverpool Masonic Hall took place by 72 brethren. They had arrived to bear witness to David Thomas Aitken being installed as the new master of his mother lodge, Antient Briton No 1675. After 37 years as a member of the lodge David Aitken had decided it was the right moment to take the chair of King Solomon.
With the regular lodge business dispatched by the master Patrick Smith, the lodge was delighted to receive Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, supported on this occasion by the vice-chairman of the Liverpool group David Johnson, John Roberts, John Bamber, Lionel Gornall, Roy Ashley, John Wilcox, Andrew Whittle, James Kontzle, and Ron Clark, and acting Provincial grand officers Paul Copeland and Eric Poole.
On welcoming Harry, Patrick offered him the gavel of the lodge, which was graciously accepted but more swiftly returned with a beaming smile. After the usual salutations, Patrick proceeded to invite Roy Ashley to act as installing senior warden, Roy Cowley to act as installing junior warden and Paul Welsby to act as installing inner guard.
The master elect David was expertly presented by John Roberts and Ed Mawdsley and then installed in an excellent manner by Patrick Smith, with the assistance of Bernard Ashley and the director of ceremonies John Roberts. The third, second and first degree tools were deftly explained in turn by Paul Doran, Ed Mawdsley and Andrew Beddeson. Thereafter, the officers of the lodge were invested, with addresses to the deacons and stewards being given by lodge stalwart Allen Langley and visiting Provincial Grand Steward Paul Copeland.
The address to the new master was given superbly by Roy Ashley, whilst his blood brother Bernard Ashley gave a faultless address to the wardens. To conclude the ceremony Harry Cox delivered the address to the brethren in exemplary fashion.
At the end of the ceremony Harry brought congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison. Harry said: “If Tony was present he would have congratulated David Aitken and would have thanked him for taking the office of WM, Tony would wish for David to enjoy and have an excellent year in the chair.” Harry went on to congratulate IPM, Patrick Smith and Bernard Ashley, for the way they performed the installation, a job well done, and congratulated the officers involved in the ceremony for the excellent work that evening. Harry then thanked and wished the brethren of Antient Briton Lodge the very best of health and hoped they would all enjoy a happy Masonic year. He continued by saying the Provincial Grand Master wished everyone present a happy and healthy year.
David thanked Harry for his kind words on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master and presented him with numerous cheques for various charitable causes, £400 in favour of the Woodland Hospice (Aintree), £500 to Liverpool Masonic Hall, and £1,000 for the Province of West Lancashire MCF2021 Festival. Harry asked permission to reveal monies donated which was granted, after which Harry handed David a vice patrons certificate for the lodge, stating how magnificent it was that as the Festival had not yet started and already the lodge had become a vice patron.
David closed the lodge in peace and harmony, with the brethren making their way to the main banquet suite for pre-dinner drinks and a delightful festive board. Speaking afterwards, David Johnson said it had been a magnificent evening all round, an excellent ceremony performed to the highest of standards within the lodge room, followed by a superb festive board and harmonious camaraderie throughout.