The installation ceremony for Blenheim Lodge No 7519 has taken place within the Roman Room at Liverpool Masonic Hall. The lodge which was consecrated in 1957 was a ‘daughter lodge’ of the late Marlborough Lodge No 1620.
Outgoing master Paul Donnelly, welcomed the brethren and their guests prior to the director of ceremonies Phil Pattullo inviting the brethren to be upstanding to receive Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Walmsley, accompanied by John Wilcock, Liverpool Group Chairman and Vice Chairman Mark Mathews and Dave Johnson respectively, together with Geoff Brown and Bradley Goff acting as the Provincial deacons.
Paul warmly greeted David to the meeting and hoped he would have a pleasant enjoyable evening. Paul further extended the hospitality to the visitors already seated, remarking how uplifting it was for the lodge to count three visiting masters amongst them; from Temple Lodge No 1094 Christopher Bruffell, from Aigburth Lodge No 4103 John McKenzie and Ian Arrowsmith of North Meols Lodge No 5828.
The ceremony of installation commenced with the WM requesting past masters John Owen, Bradley Goff and Geoff Brown to take the respective office of senior warden, junior warden and inner guard for the purpose of installation. Following this, John Wilcock presented master elect Ian Turner for the purpose of installation. On the completion of his installation into the master’s chair, Ian had the honourable duty of investing Paul with the collar and jewel as the immediate past master of the lodge. The working tools of the three degrees were subsequently presented and explained to the new master; those of the third or master mason’s degree by Mark Crawford, those of the fellow craft by John McKenna, while Steve Linton did likewise for those of the entered apprentice degree. The perambulations throughout were under the control of Mark Crawford.
Following the presentation of the warrant, book of constitutions, by-laws and guide to members of the Craft by Paul Donnelley, Ian then invested his officers for the forthcoming year. The homilies to the wardens and the inner guard were given by the past masters occupying those positions, to the deacons by Geoff Brown and the address to the charity steward Alan Ball, was read by Mark Matthews. The address to the WM was given in exemplary manner by his close friend Phil Kavanagh, WM of De Bon Cuer Lodge No 6984. The address to the two wardens Alan Ball and Brian Jackson, was presented by Tom Walsh, with the customary address to the brethren of the lodge given by David Walmsley.
On conclusion of the ceremony, David conveyed congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to Ian and also to Paul Donnelly for the magnificent manner in which he had conducted the affairs of the lodge during his term of office. As his first duty, Ian had the pleasant task of presenting three charitable cheques on behalf of the lodge members, the first to Friends of Tithebarn for £150, the second to Dig In North West for £450 and the third of £1,500 to the MCF 2021 Festival. Although the 2021 Festival and Tithebarn are well known, the Dig In project perhaps needs an explanation.
Dig in North West is an organisation which offers horticultural therapy to military veterans. It was founded by Donna Rowe-Green, who after reading about ‘Gardening Leave’, a Scottish based charity, travelled there to speak with their founder Anna Baker-Cresswell and after an inspiring conversation, decided to bring the idea to Lancashire. On her return she approached Preston City Council, who became great supporters of the project. When their parks department was approached with a request for some land on which to create the garden, they provided a perfect spot within an old walled garden. The fact that it had not been touched in 20-years was not important, help was at hand when a team of ex-service personnel, under the leadership of Preston-born Kevin Goddlington, came to the rescue with their television programme ‘Construction Squad; Operation Homefront’. Within a day, along with the help of Preston city council workers and local residents, the site was cleared and then a further four days were spent building the garden.
With the project ‘Dig in North West’ now up and running, people from the military community have a place of their own that gives them something practical to do that benefits themselves and helps others. You will rarely hear anyone going into detail about the effects of their service, instead you will hear banter, laughter and genuine camaraderie – plus of course, the ever-boiling kettle! For anyone who does feel that counselling would help, ‘Dig In’ are always happy to help find the right professional services and support in accessing it. A truly worthwhile project.
After the presentation of the charitable cheques the members retired to the dining room to toast the new master before sitting down to the festive banquet. It was here that the opportunity was taken by David to offer his own personal congratulations to the new WM Ian Turner and to wish him and his officers the very best of health, that he may enjoy what he hoped would be a busy, but most of all a happy year in office. David also mentioned the brethren who had presented the working tools and those who had done work during the ceremony, making it into a wonderful event.