Kevin Taylor was installed into the chair of King Solomon at the installation meeting of Astley and Ellesmere Lodge No 730 held at Chorley Masonic Hall.
Provincial Junior Grand Warden Peter Allen was the principal guest who declared that Kevin had been installed ‘in fine style’ when he congratulated him following his installation. Peter was accompanied by other acting officers of the Province; Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Derek Robinson and Provincial Grand Standard Bearer Stuart Wilson. Other distinguished brethren included Chorley Group Secretary Don Hesketh, along with the group treasurer Mike Silver.
Ellesmere Lodge is really where Chorley Masonry began; dating back to 1858, it is the mother and grandmother lodge of many of the Chorley Group lodges. Six of the masters, representing some of those lodges belonging to the Astley family tree, were amongst the many visiting brethren.
After opening the lodge, the immediate past master Victor Norris continued with the ceremony to install James into the chair of King Solomon, assisted by his installing officers. The working tools of an installed master were presented by John Lancaster, the tool in the third degree by Mark Briggs, and in the tools in the second degree by Rob Winn, with Ian Smith presenting the first degree tools to the master. All of these presentations were delivered perfectly. Andy McMath (junior) gave the address to the newly-installed master whilst John Rhodes gave the address to the wardens and Peter Allen gave the address to the brethren of the lodge.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Peter congratulated James on reaching the chair of King Solomon and extended the greetings and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master. He also congratulated installing master Victor and the officers who took part in the ceremony for their fine work. He made particular reference to how well the working tools had been presented and personally congratulated the brethren who presented them.
Kevin presented a cheque to Peter to the value of £600 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, making the lodge eligible to become a Vice Patron of the Festival. Rosemere Cancer foundation received £100, the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Society £100, Derian House £100 and the RAF Association £100. With other donations that have been made during the year, a total of £1,500 was presented to good causes and Peter thanked the lodge for its generosity.
At the festive board Peter brought his own personal greetings to all the brethren for 2018. He congratulated all those who took part in what he described as ‘a great night in Freemasonry’. Peter also thanked the acting Provincial grand officers and group officers for attending. He also stressed the importance of the Royal Arch in our Freemasonry and that any brother who is not already a member should consider joining.
The brethren enjoyed a superb roast beef dinner that had been expertly prepared and served by the catering staff at Chorley, during which Rob Winn conducted a ‘Chorley raffle’ which raised the sum of £230 for the charities.
Norman Corke proposed the toast to Kevin who responded by thanking all those who had taken part. The master’s song was sung by Brian Flynn.