John Roughley proclaimed Andrew Jones as master of St Helens Lodge No 4121 for a second year in a ceremony much enhanced by the presence of Tony Harrison, the Provincial Grand Master. Tony was accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent, as well as the Provincial Grand Wardens and many acting Provincial grand officers.
The PrGM thanked Andrew for helping the lodge by continuing in the chair for a second year. Tony was also very keen to mention the brethren who had assisted in the ceremony, with particular praise for one of the newer members, Gareth Tyson, for his rendition of the second degree tools. He assured everyone that he had thoroughly enjoyed the unusual ceremony.
During the festive board, responding to the toast to the health of the grand officers, Tony Bent formally welcomed the Provincial Grand Master to the St Helens and Prescot Group, saying that the lodge was honoured to have him amongst them and highlighted his many admirable qualities, especially his penchant for seeking the company of the junior brethren. Tony Bent then proposed a toast to the continued good health of the PrGM, whilst asking him to take the good wishes of the lodge back to his wife, Maureen.
Responding to the toast to his health, Tony Harrison said he could not do his job without the support and cooperation of his wife Maureen. He additionally told the members of the lodge that he had enjoyed the proclamation ceremony and thanked the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their attendance. Tony continued by congratulating several members of the local group and in particular Colin Rowling, on his appointment as Assistant to The Provincial Grand Principals in the Royal Arch and thanking Colin for his work in the group over the past few years and wishing him every success in his new role. Tony then congratulated Graham Williams on his appointment as group chairman and also thanked Gratten Williams and Brendan Hutchison, the new group vice chairman and secretary respectively, for taking on those important positions.
Tony referred to the tremendous work done by the Masonic hall chairman Chris Maloney and the hall directors for the improvements to what he considered to be a very fine Masonic hall. He also said he was delighted to see that membership was increasing, particularly as St Helens Lodge has two initiates and several joining members in the pipeline, but also expressed his regret that we were losing members due to the depredations of increasing age amongst the membership. On a more positive note, he was particularly pleased to see the increase in the number of young men joining Masonry. He also urged those brethren not already in the Royal Arch to consider joining.
In his concluding remarks, Tony mentioned the MCF 2021 Festival and was keen to point out that time as well as money was important to the charities, mentioning in particular the success of the Masonic Salmon and Trout Fishing Society whose members give much time in providing days out for disabled youngsters and injured soldiers.
Responding to the toast to his health, proposed by the group chairman, the WM Andrew said he was delighted to be serving the lodge for a second year, that he was pleased to see so many visitors to the lodge and that he would hope to reciprocate these visits during his year. With new and joining members, the lodge is set fair for a good season in 2017-18!