To use a well-known football analogy, any lodge installation meeting is a game of two halves and this was certainly the case at The Peace Lodge No 2269 at their installation meeting at Westhoughton Masonic Hall.
The first half and formal part of the evening was the lodge meeting where the principal guest and representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Andrew Wiltshire was welcomed in to the lodge along with the many visiting grand and acting Provincial grand officers and the many guests present on the evening.
The new WM, Keith Knowles, was installed in to the chair of the lodge by his predecessor, the outgoing master Ian Moss. Ian was ably assisted by his officers who treated everyone present to a splendid display of the ritual which was delivered in a most sincere and heartfelt manner.
Three of the more junior brethren, David Williamson, Allan Cartwright and Gerrard Gregory, were worthy of a special mention because of the faultless manner in which they presented the working tools.
The fine display of ritual was all under the ever-watchful eyes of the director and assistant director of ceremonies Gary Fisher and Brian Sharples who have affectionately become known in the lodge as Laurel and Hardy.
During the course of the meeting Keith presented Andrew with a list of charitable giving from the Lodge which amounted to an impressive £4091.51. Andrew thanked the lodge for their generosity on behalf of all those who are unknown to us but who will ultimately benefit from them.
After the formal proceeding were completed and all present had retired to the bar for refreshment. the second half commenced.
Everyone took their seats for dinner and enjoyed the fine food, and fellowship in the warm and friendly surroundings of Westhoughton Masonic Hall. There was the usual round of toasts and responses and in keeping with the exceptional work done earlier in the evening, the master song was beautifully sung by Gary Smith accompanied by Ray Markland on the piano. The raffle raised an impressive £276 and the eventual winners of the many prizes duly appreciative.
The evening did however end with an amusing and somewhat unusual twist.It has become traditional in many lodges to present the principal guest with flowers for them to take home for their wives and partners. Peace Lodge are no different except on this occasion someone had forgotten to get them. So not to be outdone, Keith, the new master, presented Andrew with one of the table decorations as a kind of I.O.U. for the real gift and with that the final toast of the evening was given and everyone, after a wonderful evening, left for home feeling happy and relaxed.