Tuesday 7th of November 2023 and just over 12 months since W.Bro. Sean McPartland took time out from his gruelling schedule in training for the round the world yacht race to Install his successor. Sean is now well into that race and so time for his successor W.Bro. John Nicholls to Install the new Master W.Bro. Jason Cunningham. Anyone who knows John must be impressed by his enthusiasm. A Doctor but oh how he missed his way. The bright lights of Broadway should have been his true calling. He does however tread the boards as one of his hobbies and it shows. Normal business dealt with it was time for W. Bro.Simon Green the Provincial Grand Senior Warden and W.Bro. Chris Oldfield Elected Representative of the Charity Committee to be admitted under the direction of W.Bro. Edward Wilkinson Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. A late arrival with Bro. Matthew Nemyria giving apologies – Northern Rail being the culprit as the train limped its way into Harrogate from Leeds. Matthew took his place and of course was one of the Brethren later appointed.
Welcoming words and salutations given the show began and what a show it was. Having drama and sincerity John gave us a first class and entertaining ceremony which Jason surely enjoyed. His broad smile certainly suggested he did. Jason now in the Masters chair and not for the first time as he had already been the Worshipful Master of Aries lodge No.669 then appointed his officers and ran a smooth meeting thereafter. It was great to see that nearly all the progressive officers were filled by Brethren below the chair, assign of a healthy Lodge for years to come. A further sign of a growing Lodge was a further candidate being proposed, good news indeed.
Good company and good food are always the way in Harrogate but of course it is in all our Mark and RAM Lodges. On to the toasts. In his response to the toast to Province Simon told us all about the success of our Festival the fact that Cheshire were now in Festival and their plans for a Grand Finale under the wings of Concorde. He talked about ‘The Magic of the Mark’ our fantastic website and Facebook page and our close relationship with the Craft.
Time for Chris Oldfield to talk about the Cleeves and Whitehead trust, his chest swelling with pride and a broad grin as the Asst Prov. D.C. for the night gave Chris his full title which included the Provincial Grand Masters Distinguished Service Award. Chris thanked W.Bro. John Dennis for his kind words, not encroaching on his speech and of course the generous cheque that was presented. Chris talked about its now time to rebuild our charitable funds so we can continue with all the good work that the Trust does. There are of course the events we all know off such as Almoners lunches, St. Annes holidays but a great deal of work goes on in the background supporting brethren their families and of course the wider public in general. Please support it as and when you can. The new ties are only £15 and one hundred percent goes direct to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust as they had been bought by the Province. Perhaps you need more than one tie, W.Bro. Mick Jessop of Caldene Lodge certainly needs at least three due to dinner spills alone! The website also lets you easily complete a standing order for the Trust. Please have a look and see what you can do. Not an easy subject perhaps but, what about making a bequest. Very easy to do and no major changes needed in the main will. W.Bro. Jim Reynolds will be able to help with any information you may need.
On to the Installing Master John. Not sure there is room to write it all here for you but, let’s say his speech was fun, interesting and entertaining for sure. Jason’s birthday was mentioned and its link to Aries Lodge the heavens and his meteoric rise (get it?) to fame. John a true thespian. Jason responded by saying it was a fabulous night and was so impressed with John especially the ad-libbing on the collarette presentation. Jason said Meteoric rise to fame? maybe not but did say never volunteer, look where it gets you…..!
The visitors were thanked for their company and helping with certain pieces this evening, it really was a pleasure to see over twelve visitors present. In response W.Bro. Christian Holmes the newly installed Master of Old York T.I. said it had been a wonderful night and that not only had it been a further lesson in Masonic ritual he had also extended his vocabulary and learnt a new phrase. – Aortic Stenosis. I wonder where or who that phrase came from?
Mark Masonry just fabulous.