Tuesday 24th October 2023 and R.W.Bro. Jim was in action at Old Yorks Installation, a great honour for the Lodge as this would be Jims last official visit anywhere as our Prov.G.M. Accompanied by W. Bro Paul Levey, the elected representative of the charity committee who was also on duty. Pork pies, tea and coffee were there for everyone to enjoy before the meeting, especially the twenty-one visitors there from eleven different Lodges.
The Worshipful Master W.Bro. Mike Lawrance opened the meeting. W.Bro. Michael Holgate then gave a eulogy for W.Bro. Martin Sutcliffe who sadly passed away in June of this year. Michael spoke with passion and respect about Sooty, who wasMaster of the Lodge at its 125th celebration, twenty five years ago. He loved the Mark degree, and he loved Old York. He openly admitted he found ritual difficult butworked hard at it and, was successful. He would volunteer for owt and do a great job. He gave tirelessly to charity and would organize raffles, prizes and do anything he could. Sooty will be sorely missed. A report was then given and W.Bro. Noel Nickless was admitted. A little late but, travelling all the way from Dawlish in Devon and being the proposer of the incoming Worshipful Master Christian Gregory Callum Holmes into Free Masonry, he was admitted with pleasure.
W. Bro Andrew Brown Prov.G.D.C. formed an escort and Jim and Paul admitted. Mike welcomed Jim and tried his luck offering him the gavel hoping Jim would take it, he did take it but, quickly returned it after thanking the Lodge for the lovely bouquet of flowers and chocolates the Lodge had sent to his wife Joan.
It was a busy evening with a joining member in Bro. Duncan Craig Mckintosh a member of St David Lodge 572 under Grand Lodge of Scotland and, a subscribing member of the Lodge of Friendship Lodge No750. Craig was then obligated with ritual many will not have heard, it being that for a joining member from the Scottish Constitution (Mark). At this point a further report and W. Bro Michael Jessop admitted. He blamed his lateness on the pork pies in the bar area which he simply couldn’t resist.
Mike then installed Christian into the chair in a truly magnificent manner which Christian will remember for many years. Mike and all those Brethren delivering the various addresses should feel immensely proud of themselves. It really was well worth waiting for. But, what else could you expect from the so called Premier Lodge! I can hear the mutterings as you read this article perhaps not quite as loud as the mutterings from the visiting Brethren in the Lodge when Mike during his address to the Brethren said he had enjoyed his two years as ‘Master of Yorkshires Premier Lodge!’ The now W.Bro. Christian then went ahead with business as normal. Michael Holgate proposed Jim be made an honorary member of Old York Lodge. Every member rose in unison to second the proposal but Christian overruled them all and seconded the proposition. Jim rose to thank the Brethren and if approved at the next meeting would love to visit as often as possible. He said he had great memories of the fun and banter Michael who was secretary at the time had during the meetings with the then D.C. W.Bro.Andrew Jagger. The minutes of the risings of those meetings showed the fun and games had during those ‘battles’. There were further proposals and seconds for several Brethren. Again, these will be confirmed at their next meeting. During the retiring procession Jim was given a wonderful escort out with tunes such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at’ all played on the bagpipes. The new member Craig being the musician leading the way out. Marvellous, thanks Craig.
Like the temple it was a busy dining room. Good food and great company. Speeches came in good order. Bro Alistair McIntyre gave the toast to the Prov.G.M. with style. In his response Jim congratulated Christian on being installed as Worshipful Master. In his time as Prov.G.M., Jim had calculated he had responded to this toast over three hundred times! Going on to say it was fabulous to see a young man taking the chair and congratulated Mike and his team for a great ceremony. He congratulated Old York Lodge on reaching 150 years. He gave his apologies for not been able the attended the Sesquicentenary meeting to be held on the 25th November. He also thanked all the Grand Officers, Provincial Grand Officers and Brethren for their support. He concluded saying he had enjoyed being our Prov.G.M. and yes, he would do it all again in a heartbeat. He thanked everyone for their support, enthusiasm and loyalty in our wonderful order. It made him feel very humble and very proud to be our Prov.G.M. The emotion was palpable as he sat to a standing ovation. Perhaps a lump not only in Jims throat but in all of the Brethren’s.
Paul gave his best wishes to Christian on behalf of The Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and told us all what the trust had been up to. The raffle for the evening was given to the trust and Paul was very grateful for this. Christian and Mike were full of praise for each other in their toasts. Christian being given a gift from Mike of a Jigsaw of Elton John’s Captain Fantastic, Christian being a fan. Time for W.Bro. Rod Dyer of Fearnley Mark No.58 to respond to the visitor’s toast. He certainly got his own back for ALL the Premier Lodges in the Province. Firstly, he thanked Old York for a bob on meeting with good friends but going on to say ‘it was a warm welcome but, no better than anyone else’s. The pies were bob on but, no better than anyone else’s. The festive board was good but, no better than anyone else’s! Finishing paying great compliment to Jim for the eleven years and more he had worked tirelessly for this wonderful Province. His final words being ‘He is I know our Provincial Grand Master but to me he will always be my Provincial Grand flower!’ At the very end Christian on behalf of the Lodge presented Jim with a cashmere wrap for Joan and a special edition double faced throw for Jim. A great night with great friends. It truly was ‘Bob On!.
With thanks to
W. Bro John M Fitzpatrick