The members and guests of Woolton Lodge No 6448, gathered in the Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall for their annual installation ceremony. The Woolton Lodge uses emulation working and traces its lineage back to Everton Lodge No 823. Woolton Lodge was founded in 1947 and one founder is still alive, who has now celebrated his 100th birthday. This lodge has always met at Liverpool Masonic Hall and is part of the Liverpool Group, though often mistakenly thought to be a part of the group of the same name which meets at Woolton Golf Club.
At the installation, WM Edward O’Hare was pleased to welcome the principal guest, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Walmsley, who was accompanied by the Liverpool Group Vice Chairman (Craft) David Johnson. With them on this occasion were acting Provincial grand officers Barry Fletcher and George Christie. From further afield came Robert Sawers, a past master of Lodge Maryhill No 510 which meets in Glasgow, and a frequent and most welcome visitor to the lodge.
After pleasantries had been exchanged, the ceremonial of the evening began when master elect Edward O’Hare was proclaimed for another term as WM. Edward had the third degree working tools presented to him by George Christie, those of the second degree by Gordon McConnell and the first degree by John Moncrieff. Dr Alistair Reid gave the customary address to the WM, David Blyth the address to the two wardens and David Walmsley performed an exemplarily address to the brethren of the lodge.
On the conclusion of the ceremony, David arose to bring the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to Edward on his proclamation and for the work done from the opening of the lodge and throughout the evening by the DC Geoff Cuthill. Edward’s first duty as WM was indeed a pleasant one, presenting two cheques, one at £200 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival and £100 to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund.
The festive board was in the adjacent dining room, which the hall staff had laid out in a delightful manner. It was during the toasts that David remarked on how pleasing it had been to see the great support given by members of the lodges in the hall in helping with the redecoration going on at the moment. He informed all present that the PrGM wants Freemasonry to be a matter of enjoyment, family involvement and something to be shared with friends and the local communities. David continued by saying this includes Royal Arch Masonry, an integral component of the Craft, which by looking at the summons it can be seen that the Royal Arch is well represented within Woolton Lodge. It was heartening to see a good number of brethren visiting tonight to give their support, who are also members in the same chapter as Edward.
Care was another important factor close to the heart of the PrGM, particularly the position of almoner, being perhaps the most important role within any lodge. Fortunately, in Woolton Lodge, that is in the very capable hands of Colin Twigg. Here in West Lancashire we have for a very long time been fortunate in having our own WLFC, along with the new Masonic Charitable Foundation, which has replaced the four previous national charities.
David thanked all the brethren for the really warm welcome he had received, as is only to be expected in this great seafaring city, adding that the ceremony of proclamation had been superb throughout.
A signed card of congratulation from the Liverpool Group was handed over by Dave Johnson and presented to the WM by Gordon McConnell in his toast to the master. He gave an insight into the devoted work over many years given by Edward O’Hare to the lodge. He said: ‘It was here in this lodge that Edward first took the chair in 1996, he had another reign in 1999, then again in 2001 and 2002, last year he was crowned with the new title of King Edward V of Woolton, now it is Edward the VI, thoroughly well deserved.”
In reply Edward stood up and thanked Gordon for his kind words. He stated: “As a master on more than one occasion, the dignity of the office never diminishes and he felt humbled on being placed in the chair once again. The ceremony was dignified, as to be expected and the festive board takes me back to my early years in Freemasonry, with such friendly warm-hearted company to share it with. It is most heartening to see so many in attendance, considering how many spent yesterday at Southport for the Royal Arch Provincial meeting. Please return soon as we have a very busy calendar and will be performing a degree ceremony at every meeting for the rest of the Masonic year and already have another three candidates ready to bring in.”
Edward further added: “Tonight I have been part of a ceremony carried out with dignity, respect, humility and goodwill, but I stand here somewhat nervous. I am aware that behind me stands the DC looking resplendent this evening and wearing the spectacular sapphire and diamond ‘Star of Woolton’ tie pin. I sense time is now moving on, so before I feel the pin, thank you all once again for your marvellous support.”
On completion of the response by the master, the DC asked the brethren to rise while their principal guest David Walmsley took his leave. The festive board continued in similar manner until sadly it was time for the acting tyler Mal Myers to bring the joyful evening to a close in time honoured manner with the traditional toast.