Operating under the banner of ‘Three Foundations, One Future’, since the amalgamation in 2002, Wavertree Gateacre Queensway Lodge No 2294 has held their annual installation ceremony within the Adams Suite at Liverpool’s magnificent Masonic Hall on Hope Street. Although the city centre had been brought to a complete standstill by the Royal de Luxe street theatre extravaganza, which included ‘Little Boy Giant’ and ‘Big Giant’ and his dog ‘Xolo’, the lodge meeting was very well attended.
Brethren of the lodge gave a warm welcome to their principal guest Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson, who was accompanied by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews and fellow grand officers Clive Jefferies, Syd Ford, Mike Winterbottom and Steve Walls. Leading the grand procession was John Pitches, an acting Provincial grand steward for the year. The lodge was opened according to the Bottomley method of working, by the WM Jorge Perez, ably assisted by his wardens and officers. This method must be the warmest and inclusive form in use today, with its roots probably stretching back to the 18th century.
On completion of salutations, master elect Dave Colquhoun was brought forward and presented to Jorge. The installation ceremony was performed throughout in an exemplary manner by Jorge, with due recognition later in the evening at the festive board. Of equal standing, was the work and supervision for the proceedings carried out by director of ceremonies Derek Gaskell. Derek was again faultless during the board of installed masters, with his rendition of the working tools of an installed master perfectly presented and explained. During the perambulations of each degree, the working tools were presented and explained, those of a master Mason were given by Darren Crane, the fellow craft tools by Stuart Virgo and for the entered apprentice Jorge Perez.
As to be expected of a well drilled lodge, all the addresses to the newly invested officers were of an equally high standard, with the master’s address superbly rendered by Bill Kermode, to the senior warden by Tom Marlow and the junior warden by Mike Winterbottom. Bill Kermode was back on the floor again to present the address to the mentor and that to the inner guard was given by Brian Rankin. This was followed by the address to the wardens by Dave Bell and the customary address to the brethren of the lodge given in fine style by the principal guest David Randerson.
On completion of the ceremony, David Randerson then rose to bring the greetings, congratulations and best wishes from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. David congratulated Dave Colquhoun for taking the position as WM and wished him and the members of the lodge a happy and healthy year ahead. He then congratulated the DC Derek Gaskell on his work, as well as the brethren who had presented the working tools of each degree.
In response, Dave rose and thanked David for the good wishes and on behalf of the lodge members presented him with a charitable donation by way of a cheque for £125 made out in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, with a second cheque also for £125 in favour of the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund. Following this, the representative and the group chairman retired and after other communications had been dealt with, the lodge was closed in due form, so that the brethren could retire to enjoy good food and good company at the festive board.
Here the fun of the evening began. With all assembled and awaiting patiently on the much-anticipated festive board, an unusual cacophony sounded throughout the building. Much reminiscent of the end of a shift exodus at any large bygone factory and in a similar manner the lodge members headed for the exit. The Corinthian room which is now also used as a theatre, was mid-way through a performance which necessitated the use of a smoke machine. Sadly, smoke machines and fire alarms are nearly always proved to be incompatible and so it was in this case. To quote a certain Bill Shakespeare, in the end it was much ado about nothing. A salutary reminder though, for 50 years previous in October 1968, a serious fire had occurred within the building, destroying or damaging much, including the Corinthian room.
Standing outside in Hope Street lively conversations continued, including ‘guess the play’, as now among the throng on the pavement stood the fully made up troupers, tragedians and thespians and entourage. A typical evening in fact for this thoroughfare which plays host on most nights to an assortment of the avant-garde, ghost walkers, students and other nocturnal perambulations. Harking back to the blitz of World War Two, the all clear was soon given, and all re-entered the hallowed building in good spirit, but now with a much heartier appetite.
Later at the festive board, in response to the senior warden’s toast to the grand officers, David Randerson took the time to thank the members of the lodge and group officers for their help and support towards him as recently promoted APrGM. David particularly praised Jorge for his flawless delivery of the installation ceremony and also the four brethren who had presented and explained the working tools. He went on to say that we are all ambassadors for Freemasonry and must ensure that we communicate this to new and potential members. David moved on to speak about the benefits of membership of the Royal Arch and how this is the foundation for all the other degrees in Masonry. He concluded in stressing how we should make sure that we support our Masonic halls and ensure that they are run successfully for the future.
David also reminded the brethren of the importance of giving, saying that in the last festival over £5,000,000 had been raised by West Lancashire and the Province had since received back much more and encouraged the brethren to pledge whatever they could to the MCF 2021 Festival. David also commented on the generosity he had just seen within the lodge room and thanked the brethren for their kindness. He then went on to say that those Masons who had not joined the Royal Arch should consider doing so that they might complete their journey in Freemasonry.
Mark Matthews, on behalf of the Liverpool Group, presented the master with a signed congratulations card and as master, Dave had the pleasure of presenting a past master’s jewel to Jorge, which was accompanied by enthusiastic applause.