The warrant for Neptune Lodge No 1264 was issued on 5 May 1869, with the lodge being consecrated on 11 June at Liverpool Masonic Hall. How happy the founders would have been to know to what extent their lodge would flourish and that the lodge is now less than a year away from its 150th anniversary. Just prior to the start of the Great War in 1914, the group system was introduced by the Province, totalling 22 groups, eight of which were in Liverpool city centre, with Neptune being one of the nine lodge’s that made up the Liverpool No 7 Group.
With the re-organisation in 2011, Neptune Lodge found itself part of the Liverpool Group meeting at the Masonic Hall at Hope Street. This is set in the resurgent Georgian quarter of the city, nestling between the two world famous cathedrals and opposite the award-winning Everyman Theatre.
It was within the magnificent Adams Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall that the lodge has held its annual installation ceremony, with their principal guest being the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning. Accompanying Phil on this occasion were Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson, fellow grand officer and chairman of Liverpool Group Mark Matthews, with other grand and acting Provincial grand officers in attendance.
The lodge was opened in the usual manner by WM Lee Ayres, ably assisted by his fellow officers, who gave a warm welcome to all the guests. On conclusion of the salutations, David Campbell was presented as master-elect and then installed into the chair of King Solomon in a superb manner by Lee. The proclamations and perambulations were orchestrated by Arthur Dooley, which also included him presenting the working tools of each degree.
Bob Hall gave the customary address to the WM, with Derek Parkinson performing the most important address, that to the members of Neptune Lodge. David’s first duty as WM was indeed a pleasant one, presenting four cheques totalling £1,405 to Phil Gunning. The four recipients being the MCF 2021 Festival, Steps 2 Freedom, which is a Merseyside charitable self-help group for adults in recovery from the traumatic effects of childhood abuse, Aigburth Training Opportunities, a charity that is dedicated to those who wish to develop their confidence, knowledge, and application of childcare, management, and employability and the Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust. This last trust won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017 and has as a mission statement, ‘To seek to improve the quality of life for people who, by virtue of age, infirmity, physical disability, mental disorder or social factors, are disadvantaged or deprived. To make provision for the social, recreational and educational needs of the said people.’
With the completion of the ceremony, the brethren numbering nearly 50, retired to the adjoining banqueting suite to partake in a delicious festive board. It was a wonderful evening for newly installed master David Campbell, as it had given him the opportunity to recollect with Phil Gunning their last meeting in a similar circumstance. That was 14 years ago in 2004, when Phil, then also acting as the principal guest, witnessed David Campbell installed for the first time in Wilbraham Lodge No 1713. On the closure of the lodge David moved into Neptune.
During the toasts at the festive board, David presented Lee with a Neptune past master’s jewel, which thoroughly pleased Lee, saying he would always wear it with pride. As the evening ended, a delightful bouquet of flowers was presented to Phil as a gift and a thank you to his wonderful wife.