Every cloud has a silver lining

Every cloud has a silver lining and as Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge No 2324 installation loomed, the clouds gathered. The WM, Gerald Kay told his colleagues that he wouldn’t be able to install his successor due to ill health. Luckily, the sun soon came out as Colin Preston shone light on the situation and took the reins as he stood in as the installing master.

John Stewart Thornber (left) chats to fellowcraft Jason Halstead watched by Peter Lockett (right).

The day dawned and the members and their guests assembled at Ridgemont House in Horwich for the installation of Colin Fisher as the master of Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge. It was Colin’s fourth time as master. His first two where in a Cheshire lodge and his third was in Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge 15 years ago.

Having opened the lodge, Colin Preston efficiently dispatched the business side of the meeting before John Stuart Thornber, representing the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master accompanied by grand and acting Provincial officers entered the lodge. The stage was set and all was prepared.

Michael Heather presented Colin Fisher to Colin Preston and the installation was underway.

All present were privileged to witness a very enjoyable installation in which everyone involved contributed so well. A standout highlight of an excellent ceremony was the faultless presentation of the first degree tools by fellowcraft Jason Halstead – obviously a rising star.

With the installation complete and the lodge in the safe hands of Colin Fisher, Colin Preston took his seat with a sigh of relief but with the knowledge of a job well done. Stewart then came to his feet and congratulated Colin on attaining the chair again, he gave the good wishes of the Right Worshipful Grand Master and said he wished the brethren a busy and enjoyable year.

Stewart congratulates Colin.

Colin Fisher’s first task was to present several cheques for charity to Stewart. The first was a cheque for £300 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the second was for £500 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. This when added to the donations made during the year to non-Masonic charities and those collected in the white envelopes meant that a total of £2,475 was donated to charity. Stewart thanked the members for their very generous donations on behalf of all those who will benefit from them.

The formal business over, all the members and guests retired to the upstairs dining room to toast the health of the new master and to thank the installing master and director of ceremonies for all the excellent work that they had done.

The toast to the Master.

Everybody then made their way to the downstairs dining room to enjoy an evening of good food, good company and good music. The music was provided by Steven Greenhalgh who was accompanied by Alan Breeze when they performed the master’s song. The brethren followed the tradition of taking the opportunity to stretch their legs and greet each other in between the verses.

This was followed by the raffle which raised the princely sum of £160.

Stewart gave his own good wishes to Colin and said that he hoped that ‘as the members of Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge slide down the bannister of the Masonic year, he hoped that the splinters all point the right way!’

All too soon, it was time for everybody to return home having had a very enjoyable day in each other’s company and been part of a wonderful installation. As one wag said ‘our founders will have turned in their graves tonight – not out of disgust but out of pride and wanting to get a better view.’

Colin Fisher (seated) with Colin Preston and grand lodge officers.