Integrity Lodge of Mark Master Masons held their Installation meeting on Thursday 7th September 2023. The Lodge rooms were certainly very colourful with two Provincial Grand Master’s being present that being Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire and R.W.Bro. Gary Horstman Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire together with a plethora of Deputy Provincial Grand Masters, Past Deputy and, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters with several Very Worshipful Brethren all present. Also present several Brethren from both the Provinces of Cheshire and Derbyshire. W.Bro. Derek J. Walsh a member of the Lodge being the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire and the incoming master W.Bro. Trevor Brearley doing much of his masonry in Derbyshire. Surely some sympathy for the Lodge Director of Ceremonies W.Bro. Alex Baskeyfield, as W.Bro. Andrew Brown Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies being on duty for the Province. No pressure at all then!
Once the Lodge was opened and some business transacted it was time for R.W.Brother Jim Steggles to be admitted along with W.Bro. Alex Geddes elected representative of the charity committee. Andy Brown announced them, and they were escorted in with a fine bunch of Grand Lodge officers. Jim was of course given a very warm welcome from the W.M. W.Bro.Mark Harrison and offered the gavel. Jim politely declined expressing his delight to be there and saying that he was certainly looking forward to a wonderful evening. You can imagine the salutations that followed were many. This warmed up the Brethren even more in an already hot temple. The air conditioning working overtime to keep everyone cool.
It was time to install W.Bro. Trevor Brearley as Master of the Lodge. This was done in fine style Mark Harrison leading the way. Trevor then appointed and invested his officers. The ritual from all throughout was impressive. Once other Lodge business had been concluded there was a little surprise for Jim as he was presented with two finely engraved glasses suitable for his favourite tiple. This was to celebrate and thank him for eleven fabulous years of service to this wonderful Province. Jim was delighted with his gift and gratefully thanked the Lodge, saying he and Joan would cherish their thoughtfulness, jokingly adding it was a pity that there wasn’t a little something to go with it! Perhaps Jim had spoken too soon as next appeared a bottle of whisky to go with the glasses. A lovely moment bringing laugher all around. The Lodge then closed and all Brethren retired. The bar and dining room were very busy and the Tyler W.Bro. Nigel Scott who runs a tight ship in that area was kept very busy. Perhaps his own fault as he had opened up ‘his cellar’ to ensure the initial orders at the bar were free as was the wine for the tables – help yourselves were his words! but, with the help of several Brethren things went very smoothly indeed. Nigel certainly enjoying the hustle and bustle.
On to the toasts and speeches. The Worshipful Master Trevor in his toast to Jim spoke about the dedication shown from him over the last eleven years and all the hard work done. There were many memorable achievements which had certainly taken the Province forward. There were things to contend with along the way. Dare we mention covid! Many things had been ‘invented’ to keep us all smiling with both Jim and his wife Joan appearing regularly on the tea at three ‘get togethers’ and despite all the difficulties over the last few years with the economy etc Jim had led the way to a marvellous finale at Harrogate conference centre where the result of the 2023 Festival was announced. A fabulous total and one to be proud of. Jim in his response thanked Trevor for his kind words and went on to mention both the Province of Cheshire who had begun their Festival and Derbyshire who were here today in numbers. We should certainly look to support Cheshire if we can. He hoped they were all enjoying their time in the premier Province! He mentioned the fantastic support he had over his years in office and that it indeed was a wonderful Province of which he was very proud.
The annual Provincial meeting will again take place at Bradford Grammar School with dining at the Midland Hotel which had been a great success this year. He reminded everyone of ‘the Magic of the Mark’ incentive and the great video that had been produced. Please have a look at it if you haven’t already. That together with the QR business cards we should all now have been a great asset in attracting new members. In closing he wished the Lodge continued success and thanked Trevor for his kind words. Responding to the toast given to the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Cleeves and Whitehead trust Alex talked about all the wonderful things it provides to many charitable organisations and to us of course whose charity it is. Please try to support it as and when you can. It was then the turn of W.Bro. Frank Milner who gave the toast to the Worshipful Master. What an incredible man Trevor was. His achievements too long to list here but he has had an incredible career being involved in scouting achieving Queen Scout and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. visiting such places as Borneo and Indonesia. If a job needed doing and, doing well Trevor was your man. In his response to Frank, he talked about Franks various hobbies such as golf, fishing and clay Pidgeon shooting. Motor bikes of course were his passion. Franks latest adventure was to climb Kilimanjaro and to achieve the summit on his 82nd birthday, just marvellous. It will be of course to support charities close to his heart. He will be supported with two generations of his family and friends.
The I.P.M Mark said he had a memorable two years as Master, had tried to be himself and had been inspired from past masters and thanked them and all the Brethren for their support.
A super night which raised £192 for charity and further monies pledged to Franks assault on Kili. A great ceremony, good food surrounded with like-minded friends. And what better like-minded fiends than Mark Master Masons.