One of Liverpool’s oldest and illustrious lodge’s, Everton Lodge No 823, which was founded in 1860, has held its annual installation ceremony within the Roman Room at the Masonic Hall on Hope Street. Since the foundation, Everton Lodge has built strongly on a consistent winning formula. No magic ingredients are needed, just a willingness from each member to do their best, support given when needed, following the traditional Bottomley workings and a regular lodge of rehearsal.
It was on completion of initial business that DC Brian Gillbanks, announced the arrival of Mark Matthews, who subsequently entered in ceremonial procession. WM Stephen Makin, extended a warm welcome to all and in particular to the principal guest Mark Matthews who was representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Mark, who is also Liverpool Group Chairman was accompanied by Dave Johnson, vice chair of the group and fellow grand and Provincial grand officers.
After the required salutations, everyone settled to enjoy a ceremony which would prove to be one of extremely high achievement. Before the installation ceremony proper, Stephen gave thanks and praise to the officers and members of the lodge who had made his year in office such a memorable period. He said that he could have not been better supported, particularly at committee meetings and rehearsals throughout the year.
For the purpose of the installation ceremony, Stephen handed over to Andrew Chatterton as the installing master. Andrew next invited Steve Roberts to take the position of senior warden and Hughie O’Neill as junior warden.
The presenting officers, Jim Ramsay and Bob Taylor, guided master elect Thomas Maxwell to the floor of the lodge where he gave his assent to the ancient charges. Andrew then installed Tom into the chair of King Solomon according to ancient custom and Andrew must be congratulated for a great display, so proficient in every detail. Before the proclamations and the presentation of the working tools, Tom’s first duty was to invest Stephen Makin as immediate past master. The tools for an installed master were presented and explained by Andrew, and his son Joe Chatterton did likewise regarding the tools of a master Mason, while Jim Ramsay delivered the fellow craft tools, with those of an entered apprentice presented by Hughie O’Neill, all to the highest standard.
All the addresses were likewise given in an exemplary manner, that to the SW by Steve Roberts, to the JW by Hughie O’Neill. and that to the deacons by Dave Johnson. Andrew Chatterton gave a perfect rendition of the address to the WM and to an equal standard Hugh O’Neill delivered the address to the two wardens.
Mark Matthews took his place on the lodge room floor to give the address to the brethren of the lodge and at the appropriate moment expressed the good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, to Tom Maxwell, IPM Steve Makin, and to Andrew Chatterton and Brian Gillbanks the director of ceremonies, who had conducted the ceremony and whole evening in an exemplary manner. Tom then had the pleasant duty of offering, on behalf of the lodge, two charitable cheques to Mark, one in favour of the WLFC for £200, the second in favour of Liverpool Masonic Hall also for £200. Mark gave thanks to the lodge brethren on behalf of the recipients for their generosity.
The meeting was then closed and the brethren and their guests retired to the main banqueting room to partake of a traditional festive board. After toasts to the master, the brethren sat down to a menu dedicated to epicurean delight, consisting of the Hope Street signature starter, black pudding stack, a main course of that most delightful of staple fayre, the roast leg of lamb dinner, finished off with chocolate profiteroles and ending with an assortment of cheese with biscuits.
During the evening, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, Mark said how delighted he was to see Tom Maxwell installed in such a wonderful ceremony, ably conducted by Andrew and assisted by members of the lodge. He wished Tom all the best for his year in office and encouraged him to enjoy himself by visiting other lodges and thereby carrying the flag for this the ancient and honourable lodge. He further congratulated lodge members on their forthcoming appointments at the next meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge being held in Blackpool. Paul Robinson will be promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, while Mervyn Parry will become Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works, both announcements were greeted with warm applause. Mark also congratulated his vice chairman Dave Johnson who would also receive a promotion at Blackpool to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, again warmly received by all present.
Further conveying the wishes of the PrGM, Mark prompted the brethren to continue to give the MCF 2021 Festival their full support during the remaining years of the festival. He reminded them that the festival is dedicated to supporting the MCF that overarches the four existing Masonic charities and that everyone should be proud that West Lancashire was the first Province to support the foundation and thanked all those who had already taken out pledges and wearing their festival jewels.
He also requested brethren not to forget the local charities that they have helped in the past and most importantly to continue to support their magnificent Masonic hall. Moving on, Mark encouraged those brethren who are members of the Royal Arch to forward its interests by making brethren who are yet to take that step aware of how important the degree really is. The Royal Arch is an integral part of Freemasonry and with the enhanced ceremony, provides a more interesting and stimulating introduction to the order. Turning to the evening’s meeting, he thanked the group vice chairman Dave Johnson for his support and all the work he and the group executive do for the Liverpool Group.
The evening was rounded off with a presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Mark for him to pass to his wife Debbie, as an appreciation from the lodge for her being without Mark’s company for another evening.