The annual installation ceremony of the Old Masonians West Lancashire Lodge No 7702 took place at its traditional venue, in the Roman Suite of the Liverpool Masonic Hall. The meeting was opened by the master Elfyn Parry, ably assisted by his officers, who warmly welcomed Roy Pyne as their principal guest and accompanied on this occasion by the Liverpool Group Vice Chairman Dave Johnson.
Following the official welcome, Elfyn Parry was proclaimed as WM for another year by DC Bill Johnstone. No stranger to the role, Elfyn had previously held the office of WM for the first time in 2013, taking up the reins again last year and now continuing for an extra year. As the ceremony progressed and during the perambulations, the working tools of the second or fellow craft degree, were presented and explained by Bill Johnstone, with those of the first or entered apprentice degree, by Harry McGrath.
Elfyn had agreed to remain in office to assist in the progression of the newer members, therefore he took great pleasure in investing his officers for the coming year and Old Masonians is now in the fortunate position of having every progressive office held by a ‘light blue’. Of special note was the retirement of Bill Merry from the role of lodge secretary, the office of which he has held for many years and has always carried out in exemplary manner. It was with that mixture of pleasure and pain that Bill decided the time had arrived to pass his quill and ink bottle on. Karl Brennan was the lucky recipient and he can rest assured that Bill will be there to assist and advise if needed.
With this being a ceremony of proclamation, a number of the addresses were dispensed with, but of those given, they were carried out in a dignified and heartfelt manner. David Cross led the way with his address to the wardens, while Keith Birch took to the floor and gave, as to be expected, an immaculate rendition of the address to the brethren of the lodge. Although a shortened ceremony, it was still carried out to the highest standard, demonstrating how much time and effort had been given by all involved and a credit to the director of ceremonies Bill Johnstone.
Roy Pyne also took the opportunity to express the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the continuing master, hoping he would have a successful and healthy year yet again. These wishes were also extended to all present with the instruction to follow the ethos, that Freemasonry was there to be enjoyed and to have fun. Elfyn thanked Roy for his kind words and on behalf of the lodge members presented him with a couple of cheques to the grand total of £1,000. These were in favour of the West Lancashire MCF 2021 Festival at £800, the other at £200 to the Friends of Tithebarn.
On completion of the proceedings, the brethren retired to the dining room to enjoy well-earned refreshment at the festive board. The centre piece of any Old Masonians West Lancashire Lodge installation is the array of silver bowls formerly used at the Royal Masonic School at Bushey. It was a very lively atmosphere, with plenty of good-natured banter to accompany an excellent meal. Instead of the traditional song to the new master, Dave Massam sang a unique tribute, which was extremely well received by those present.
The lodge presented Roy with a magnificent floral bouquet for him to pass on to his wonderful wife, and sadly the evening eventually came to a close with the tyler’s toast before the brethren departed for home.