A Family affair at Pontefract Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.878

Thursday, the 23rd March 2023, at 4.30. p.m.,the  Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Andy Weston opened the Lodge with a good attendance evident. The usual house keeping issues confirmed, including the Minutes of the previous meeting, correspondence read and scrutineers of the Lodge accounts appointed, attention turned to the Installation of Brother Ian Robertson as Worshipful Master for the ensuing year.

It had been intended that it would take place in the presence of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V.W.Bro. Alan Oldfield but, sadly, he could not be present due to illness, all present wished him a swift recovery. A capable ‘Deputy’ had been found however, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C.  A report brought forward the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Mark Holland who confirmed that R.W.Bro. Jim was without and demanded admission. With escort, and, Worshipful Brother Alex Geddes, Elected Member of the Charity Committee, R.W.Bro. Jim entered took his seat and received Salutations as did others according to Rank. These included Worshipful Brother Derek Walsh, Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Cheshire who had arrived together with five Brethren, W.Bro. Derek is also a Member of Integrity Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.110 in Wakefield, a delight to see him present.

At this point, Worshipful Brother David Whitelaw presented the Master Elect, his Uncle,  Bro. Ian Robertson.  W,Bro. Andy then addressed the necessary questions to Bro. Ian all positively confirmed.  He then thanked all the Officers for their assistance in the past year, Collars were handed back and all below the Rank of an Installed Master took leave for a sort period.

Bro. Ian was then obligated, received the Signs and Secrets of an Installed Master, Invested with the Badge and Collar of his Office and subsequently placed in the Chair of Adoniram and passed the Gavel. The assembled company of Installed Masters then Saluted the new incumbent and the Installed Board was closed, This brought forward the Brethren whereupon, W.Bro. Ian was proclaimed Worshipful Master for the ensuing year and saluted accordingly.

The Working Tools were then in the hands of Bro Gary Pearce who handed on to W.Bro.Andy to transfer the Warrant to the safe hands of W.Bro. Ian. Constitutions and regulations, Provincial and Lodge Bye laws followed with W.Bro. Paul explaining, and presenting, the Key Stone Collarette and the Lodge Grand Patron Diamond award. Officers for the ensuing year were then appointed and Invested ; Addresses given as follows:

Worshipful  Master V.W.Bro. Ian Wolstencroft

Wardens W.Bro. Stuart Highfield

Overseers W.Bro. Trevor Brown 

Brethren R.W.Bro. James Steggles

all complete, the Lodge was now firmly in the hands of W.Bro.’Uncle’ Ian.

The Past Masters Jewel was a joy for V.W.Bro. Ian to present as the performance from W Bro Andy was confident, precise, smoothly delivered, an honour to be present and one of which he can be extremely proud. At this juncture the P.G.M. took the floor to present Grand Patron Diamond Award Collarettes to W.Bro.  David Whitelaw and my good self, an honour for us both.

W.Bro. John Gray, Almoner, enlightened all on the status of Brethren not fortunate to be present. W.Bro. David Todd, President of the Leeds and District I.M.A. said the there would be a Gala Dinner on the 22nd April, adding in passing, do not forget the Provincial Meeting on the 15th April, it bears repeating.

The Meeting concluded, all adjourned for suitable refreshment with Toast list in the safe hands of W.Bro. John. W.Bro. Stuart Highfield had the pleasure of submitting the toast to R.W.Bro. Jim  trusting that he had enjoyed which R.W. Jim confirmed was the case. He continued to remind all of the forthcoming Gala event at Harrogate in respect of the 2023 Festival, thanking all involved for their efforts and stressing that these come around every 35 years or so, miss this one and you may never get the chance again. Six hundreds seats have been booked of which only 160 are from our Province viz only 80 Brethren, support your Provincial Grand Master and YOUR Province. please. The Toast to the charities was in the hands of W.Bro. Paul who confirmed that our contributions do make a difference and we are lucky to have our own Charity. This was supported in W.Bro. Alex’s  response who pointed out that in our Province approx 20% contribute through standing orders as against 40% in many other Provinces, think about it Brethren.

W.Bro. Gary Pearce gave the toast to W.Bro. Ian saying that they had a very happy man in the Chair who had their full support.  In response W.Bro. Ian  thanked all who had stood in for the Ceremony, particularly his Nephew, David.  He said he was very happy with his team and looked forward to the Lodge going from strength to strength. Finally W.Bro. David standing in as Junior Warden, said that it was a privilege to have visitors and trusted that all had enjoyed the day. W.Bro. John Madigan, Provincial Grand Junior Warden  assured the Lodge that all had enjoyed themselves particularly the outstanding performance from W.Bro. Andy, absolutely superb.

A wonderful meeting encompassing all that is THE MAGIC OF THE MARK

Do not forget, Smile Be Happy You are a Mark Master Mason

V.W.Bro. Duncan Smith. PGJO