As in previous years, a large turn out by members and guests ensured a large and convivial installation meeting for Ancient Briton Lodge No 1675. Held in the aptly named Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall, such was the number in attendance that the festive board following the meeting had to be moved to the main banqueting suite on the floor above.
With the regular lodge business dispatched by the WM David Aitken, the lodge was delighted to receive as their principal guest Mark Matthews. Mark, who is the chairman of the Liverpool Group, was accompanied by fellow grand officers John Roberts, Alan Bamber and Roy Ashley.
On welcoming Mark, David expressed his delight on having him present for the ceremony and invited him to join the lodge at the festive board. Following the usual salutations, David proceeded to invite John Roberts to act as the installing master for the evening.
The master elect Edward (Ed) Mawdsley, was presented and then installed in an excellent manner by his long-time friend John Roberts. Ed then proceeded to invest David Aitken with the collar and jewel of the IPM. During the perambulations, the working tools of each degree where presented and explained at the appropriate juncture. All were exemplified fully, those for the master Mason by Andrew Beddeson, the fellow craft by Patrick Smith, while Russell Mundy completed the set with those of the entered apprentice.
Thereafter, the other officers of the lodge were invested. The address to the new master was given superbly by John Roberts, Mark Matthews delivered the address to the charity steward Joe Peacock, Andrew Beddeson gave the address to the stewards, Alex Halford addressed the deacons and to conclude the ceremony, Roy Ashley delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge in exemplary fashion.
In celebration of the Cymric origins of the lodge, the address to the brethren was given in the native tongue of the Welsh by Glyn Roberts. Mark then brought congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, saying that if Tony had been present, he would have congratulated Ed Mawdsley, thanked him for taking the office of WM and expressed his wish that Ed enjoy himself and have an excellent year as master.
Mark went on to congratulate David Aitken and John Roberts for the way they performed the installation and congratulated the other officers involved in the ceremony for their excellent work that evening. He then 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 PrGM wished everyone present a happy and healthy year.
Edward thanked Mark for his kind words and presented him with three cheques, the first of £300 in favour of the Woodland Hospice (Aintree), £100 to Liverpool Masonic Hall and £200 for the Hall Building Fund. Ed 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.
At the festive board, Mark took the opportunity to remind Ed that at the first regular meeting of Ancient Briton Lodge on 24 April 1877 a special dispensation had been issued to allow for the initiation of 13 candidates on that day. It was gratifying that, although not in the same number, the lodge of today had a number of candidates awaiting initiation, along with those for passing and raising, enough to keep busy for the year. Mark again congratulated Ed for taking the chair for the third time. He also congratulated all the lodge officers who were appointed as well as those who had taken part in an excellent ceremony.
Mark moved on to discuss the advantage of becoming a member of the Royal Arch and to request that those who are not members to please give it serious consideration, before exploring other Masonic Orders. Royal Arch Masonry completes the Craft journey and that is why the Royal Arch jewel is worn in Craft meetings. Recruitment is another factor which deserves some consideration. We are all membership officers in reality and should try and encourage friends and family members to join with us. With regard to the MCF 2021 Festival, although there has been a good response, which can be seen by the number of festival jewels worn within the lodge room, there are still a number who have not yet chosen to give their support.
The PrGM has said he wants us to meet in well managed and well maintained Masonic Halls and that is definitely the case here in Liverpool. With recent outside businesses becoming involved within the hall it has given us a long-term viability and John Roberts, Roy Cowley and Roy Ashley of this lodge, together with all the other members of the hall management team deserve the thanks of all of us who meet here.
Another person who deserves congratulations, is the hard-working lodge secretary on his forthcoming and well-deserved promotion to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works, which is of course Alex Halford. This statement by Mark was met with considerable applause. Mark finished by saying how tonight we have all enjoyed a great ceremony and a truly happy time at the festive board. At the close, Mark was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates on behalf of the lodge, for his wife Debbie.