The annual installation ceremony of the Royal Victoria Lodge No 1013 has taken place inside the impressive Corinthian Room at Liverpool Masonic Hall. The acting WM Ray Moore, preceded by the senior and junior deacons Tom Kelly and Derek Seymour respectively and accompanied by senior warden John Leisk and junior warden Steve Lee, processed into the lodge room and took their respective chairs. On welcoming the brethren, Ray continued with the usual lodge business, which included a ballot for each of the two potential candidates, which proved favourable.
The director of ceremonies Mark Powell, next announced Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton stands without and demands admission, at which Ray invited all to stand. Kevin, accompanied by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews, group vice-chairman David Johnson and the acting Provincial grand officers, entered the lodge room. Ray gave a warm greeting to Kevin and offered him the gavel, which was politely declined.
With the exchange of pleasantries completed, the lodge, which follows the emulation system of working, proceeded with the ceremony of installation. For the ceremony, John Leisk remained in the chair of SW, while Charles Gallantry was requested to occupy that of the JW, with Bob Gibson as inner guard. Steve Dovaston as the master elect, was presented by Mark Powell and John Willdridge. After giving assent to his expected duties, Steve Dovaston was installed as the 154th master of Royal Victoria Lodge, a position he last held in 2015.
The standard of ritual throughout the ceremony continued at a very high level, with the working tools being presented by Kevin Banning, David Willdridge and Tom Kelly in the third, second and first degrees respectively. Ray Moore presented the warrant of the lodge to the WM, along with the by-laws, book of constitution and notes for guidance, before calling upon the WM to appoint his officers for the coming year.
The address to the master was given with particular sincerity and import by Bernie Moran, whilst the delivery of the address to the wardens by Bob Gibson drew particular admiration. Kevin Poynton rendered the address to the brethren with a particularly profound inference, which was much appreciated and admired by all present. At the appropriate moment on the conclusion of the installation, Kevin rose very promptly to offer the congratulations and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, to the new master Steve Dovaston, installing master Ray Moore and all participants, with special emphasis given to the three newer members who had presented and explained the working tools.
On the rising’s, the secretary Tom Verdin, informed the WM that he had received a grand lodge certificate in favour of recently raised Kevin Banning. The DC Mark Powell, collected Kevin from his seat and the certificate was duly shown to the WM and then presented to Kevin. Kevin Poynton delivered a short explanation of the meaning and importance of the certificate, to which he added he had no doubt it would later be fully explained in full detail by group chairman Mark Matthews. The meeting ended on a positive note with a proposition of yet another potential candidate by Tom Kelly.
On closing the lodge, as is customary, the brethren retired to the main banqueting suite to drink a toast to the health of the new master and it proved once again to be an excellent venue for the festive board, with diners enjoying a substantial and most enjoyable four course menu. The conversation was particularly lively, always a good indicator of a harmonious evening and was accompanied by the soothing background of clinking glasses and enthusiastically employed cutlery. As the meal progressed, toasts were proposed, honoured and responded to in a relaxed and dignified style. In his response to the toast to grand officers, Kevin Poynton reiterated his praise for the quality of the installation ceremony and communicated the topics that the PrGM had asked to be covered at installation banquets.
Kevin also had some thoughts to express on recruitment and retention, especially his belief that senior Masons should be viewed not just as ‘rulers in the Craft’, but also as approachable and empathic individuals who are very keen to engage with fellow Masons of all ages, rank and experience and learn about the concerns and ideas that members are expressing. He was also most complimentary of the facilities and ambience provided by the magnificent and grandiose Liverpool Masonic Hall, a building of outstanding architectural merit, indeed where else could one find so many inspiring rooms within one building, each completely different. It was pleasing to see how the hall committee was now inviting the community to participate fully in the use of the building and the number of visitors was growing. Again, it was members of Royal Victoria Lodge, Bernie Moran and Dave Sayce, who had worked so hard on the building fund, that the money they raised had been the reason why so many improvements had been able to proceed.
Touching on the enjoyment and friendship that we all derive from our involvement in Masonry and especially that gained by visiting other lodges, he reminded everyone that Tony had sent out an invitation to everyone to visit his ‘main lodge’; the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Lancashire when it meets in Blackpool. He encouraged everyone to accept the invitation and make the event a memorable and enjoyable occasion, and to support their lodge member Alan Glayshire, who would be promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works at the event. In concluding, he thanked the Liverpool Group for the invitation and said how much he had enjoyed his visit to the hall and to the Royal Victoria Lodge in particular. In conclusion, Kevin was presented with a bouquet of flowers for his wife, and a gift for himself with the compliments of the lodge.