Blackpool Lodge No 1476 can be justly proud of the installation ceremony they performed in front of Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison at the Masonic Hall in Blackpool. Tony was the principal guest on this occasion. He was supported by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson.
Also present were Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson, Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin, with grand officers Geoffrey Lee, Eric Picton, Stuart Thornber and Keith Kemp. Also in support were Regional Charity Steward Ted Rhodes accompanied by additional grand officers Giles Berkley and Keith Beardmore. The Provincial Grand Wardens were both present along with several acting Provincial grand officers. In all there were 95 people present.
They were welcomed into the lodge by the WM, Robert Arrand, who was preparing to stand down after a successful year as master. Salutations were afforded to Tony Harrison and to the other grand and Provincial grand officers. With these formalities concluded Robert Arrand proceeded to the installation ceremony.
In preparation for the ceremony Provincial Senior Grand Warden John Karran was invited to act as the installing senior warden, Provincial Junior Grand Warden Barry Dickinson was invited to act as installing junior warden and Mike Heelis, the master of Blackpool Lodge of Tranquility No 6544 was invited to act as installing inner guard.
Master elect Grant Thornburrow was presented by Chris Woods, after which Robert began with his opening remarks and invited Grant to adhere to the ancient charges and regulations, which were read to him by lodge secretary Wally Atcheson. Grant took his obligation as a master elect and was then very ably installed by Robert Arrand.
The younger members of the lodge were then admitted. They saluted and greeted the new WM in the three degrees, then the third degree tools were presented by Glynn Manton. The long explanation of the second degree tools by Lee Martin and the first degree tools were explained by Darren Clemson. The address to the master was given by Chris Walpole, that to the wardens by Provincial Junior Grand Warden Barry Dickinson. then that to the brethren of the lodge by Tony Harrison. All of the tools were splendidly delivered by ‘sky blue’ members. The more senior brethren delivered their addresses with commendable style.
In conveying his personal congratulations, the Provincial Grand Master described the quality of Robert Arrand’s work as ‘most delightful’ and continued by offering his best wishes to all those who had taken office for the ensuing year. He was then presented cheques to the value of £3,951. The sums were as follows: £2,900 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £400 to the Masonic Hall Building Fund, £16 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £235 to HearSay Charitable Trust and £400 to DEBRA. A further sum of £461.50 had already been donated to the MCF from the white envelope scheme, making a grand total of £4,412.50. After the PrGM had received the cheques and advised the brethren of the extent of the lodge’s generosity he had the pleasure of presenting the WM with a certificate from the MCF recognising their attainment of Grand Patronage
At the end of a magnificent ceremony of installation Robert Arrand proudly received his past master’s jewel from the new master, who congratulated him on an excellent year in office.
On the first rising John Turpin brought greetings from the grand officers. He wished the WM the best of health to enjoy a memorable year. He particularly praised the three’ sky blue’ brethren who had delivered the working tools in each degree.
With the normal business concluded with alacrity, the members and their guests retired to the banqueting suite, where they enjoyed a five-course meal consisting of prawn cocktail, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Black Forest gateaux, cheese and biscuits, completed with coffee, tea and after dinner mints.
In responding to the toast to the grand officers, David Randerson said that it was absolutely delightful to be present to witness a quality ceremony of great confidence. He congratulated all who took part in the ceremony for their superb work, particularly Brian Ogden on his first ceremony as director of ceremonies.
He then went on to propose the toast to the Provincial Grand Master, who he said gets around a bit and does a good job. David spoke of an occasion where Tony had been to a meeting in the morning and then attended a Masonic rugby match in the afternoon. David likened Tony’s attitude to a poem by Helen Steiner Rice. ‘Give lavishly! Live abundantly’ and gave thanks to Maureen for her constant support.
Tony began his response by thanking David on his own behalf and that of Maureen. He said that the rugby team had worked valiantly that day and was very proud of them. He continued by saying that it had been an absolute delight to have been in Blackpool Lodge for this Masonic treat led by Robert Arrand. He also congratulated Wally Atcheson for the work he does as secretary and for the information he had provided.
Tony was also pleased to have so many brethren in support, particularly Terry Hudson, who he had known for many years. He thanked the many grand and Provincial grand officers for their attendance, with a special reference to David Edwards, who was to be installed as the Provincial Senior Grand Warden in the next Provincial Grand Lodge meeting. Also, to the many other members receiving honours at that meeting, including Stan Hill of Blackpool Lodge. Tony also thanked group chairman John Turpin and all of the group officers for their hard work, along with Colin Goodwin and Peter Mann for their efforts in making Blackpool Masonic Hall a great place to visit. Tony continued by discussing the Pathway initiative, the Royal Arch, patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival and a meeting to be held at Westhoughton Masonic Centre for Craft brethren not members of other Masonic Orders.
Responding to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, John Karran thanked the brethren for their welcome. He said that he and his colleagues had fully enjoyed a first-class ceremony and congratulated the master and members on their hard work and commitment in achieving an excellent result. John also thanked organist Phil Bolton for music during the evening and praised the three younger members for their presentation of the working tools. He voiced thanks for the nice festive board and wished the lodge well for the future. He concluded by inviting everyone to the Provincial Ball at the University of Bolton Stadium.
In his toast to the new master, Robert Arrand spoke how proud he was of Grant and his achievements in and out of Freemasonry; not least that he was married to his daughter. Robert continued with a series of family anecdotes surrounding his fine playing of the piano, his skill at crown green bowling, cooking and his adventures with cars. Most importantly, however, Robert assured the audience that Grant was a massive supporter of Freemasonry and needless to say he was extremely proud of his son-in-law. The master’s song was then excellently performed by John Darrell.
In his reply Grant thanked Robert for a fine proposal of the toast to his health. He assured everyone that he had thoroughly enjoyed the day. He had also enjoyed the road to the master’s chair. He laced his response with many insights and one in particular related to the many new friends he had made in the process. He offered ‘massive thanks’ to Robert for the delightful ceremony. Also, to the other officers, particularly Brian Ogden and Roy Maskell for their hard work. In conclusion he offered his thanks to Tony Harrison for coming along and presented the Provincial Grand Master with a fine bouquet of flowers for his wife Maureen.