A full Adams Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall had assembled to witness and celebrate the annual installation ceremony of West Derby Castle Lodge No 5821. Opened in due form by WM Tom Grimes, ably assisted by his officers and brethren, a warm welcome was given to all present, with a special greeting for Peter McCarthy, the present WM of Victory Lodge No 6238. With the lodge duly opened, the lodge warmly welcomed Assistant Provincial Grand Master Frank Umbers, accompanied by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Richard Gillett and Provincial Grand Steward Chris Taylor. Their entrance was heralded by lodge director of ceremonies David Southward, who conducted proceedings with his customary aplomb.
At the start of the installation ceremony, which operates according to the Bottomley ritual, Paul O’Brien was requested to occupy the senior warden’s chair, Brian Boyle that of junior warden, with Les Crane occupying the inner guard position. James Bilsborough was presented as ‘master elect’ and assented to his forthcoming duties and obligations. It was here that Tom Grimes took the opportunity to thank the lodge for all the support he had received over the last two years while serving as master.
James (Jim) was installed in an excellent manner by Tom and his first duty on being installed was to invest Tom with the collar and jewel of the immediate past master. Tom then orchestrated the perambulations and presented the working tools for each degree, while David Southward led the salutations.
Following the investiture of the officers for the coming year, a number of addresses were given, including the address to the JW Paul Devereux by Brian Boyle. The address to Connor Grimes, the new IG of the lodge, was given by his father Tom, while the new stewards were honoured with their address being performed in a magnificent manner by the PrGStwd Chris Taylor. Jim Bilsborough received the address to the WM from his longtime friend Les Crane, while Dave Southward gave the address to the two wardens, with Frank Umbers accomplishing the customary address to the brethren of West Derby Castle in an exemplary style.
On conclusion of the ceremony, Frank rose and congratulated Jim on once again becoming a ruler in the Craft and WM of the West Derby Castle Lodge, which he had last held in 2015. He then congratulated Tom Grimes for the way he had carried out his duties as installing master and to Dave Southward on his superb control of the ceremony, commenting on how nice it was to see Dave move to ADC. Frank then extended the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master to Jim and indeed to all of the assembled brethren. In response, Jim presented Frank with a number of cheques, the beneficiaries of which were the Marie Curie, Friends of Tithebarn, Barnardo’s, Cunliffe Trust and Foxfield School, making a grand total of £700. Frank remarked that these were amazing contributions and thanked the lodge members on behalf of all who would benefit.
On completion of lodge business, all retired to the adjoining banqueting room, first to toast the newly installed master and then to partake of a succulent festive board. Frank was able to bring to the brethren his own greetings and congratulations and extensively praised the standard of work delivered during the ceremony. He took the opportunity to congratulate hard working secretary Brian Boyle, who at the recent Provincial Grand Lodge in Blackpool had been appointed Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works. This was received with rapturous applause.
Frank then appraised the brethren with the various topics that are being promoted by the Province, starting with membership. Frank wanted to concentrate on one part of that subject which is ‘retention’ and commented that t is of the upmost importance that we manage the expectations of new members, understand what they want from our organisation and seek to look after them. Moving on, Frank discussed the need to continue supporting the MCF 2021 Festival and how every donation helped to alleviate the suffering of somebody, somewhere.
Concluding, Frank reiterated his delight at being at West Derby Castle and would like to thank everyone for their very warm welcome, it had been a great night.