Saint John the Baptist may have lost his head but the officers of St. John’s Lodge No 2825 certainly kept theirs at their installation meeting.
Any nervousness was kept under control as the WM Jonathan Selcoe installed his successor Martin Bleeker in a confident and well-rehearsed ceremony assisted by the director of ceremonies of the lodge Anthony Rigby.
Once the business of the lodge had been completed Anthony retired from the lodge to ensure that everything was in order outside and being fully satisfied he returned to announce that Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson demanded admission.
Accompanying David were grand officers Keith Jackson, Ted Rhodes, Stuart Thornber, Keith Beardmore and the Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin, along with acting Provincial grand officers David Edwards, Jim Gregson, Alan Barnes, Terry Murtagh and Jim Finnegan.
Jonathan welcomed David into the lodge and offered him the gavel, who having carefully considered the offer decided to return it to more capable hands.
The business of the lodge being over, the main event of the afternoon commenced. The WM invited Robert Bennett to occupy the chair of installing senior warden, Peter Green as installing junior warden and Tony Seddon, of daughter lodge, Normoss Round Table Lodge No 8741, as installing inner guard.
Kevin Ricketts presented the master elect Martin Bleeker to the lodge and in due course Martin was expertly installed into the chair of King Solomon.
The working tools were confidently delivered by the junior brethren, Malcolm Davies, Dominic Earnshaw and Nick Osbourne.
On conclusion of the ceremony David rose and brought the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who hoped that the new master would have good health to enjoy his year. David also thanked installing master Jonathan Selcoe for the superb way he had installed his successor.
Cheques to the value of £3400 were presented to David who announced that the individual amounts were £1700 to the MCF 2021 Festival to help provide support to Freemasons, their families and the wider community, £500 to Aiming Higher, a local charity that gives support for disabled children and their families, £500 to Great Arley School, a local school for children with a wide range of learning difficulties, £500 to the Alzheimer’s Society to help fund research into dementia and £200 to the Blackpool Masonic Club to assist with the continuing refurbishment of the club. David thanked the brethren for the generous donations adding that the lodge was already a Grand Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival.
The enjoyment of the day continued at the festive board with fine wine, good food and excellent company.
In his response to the toast to the grand officers David brought his own greetings to the WM, congratulating Martin on a wonderful ceremony and wishing him good health for the forthcoming year. David talked about retention and recruitment and how it was important to remain in contact with members who had left the lodge for whatever reason. The Solomon website is a useful source of information, David informed his audience and can be used for a talk on a quiet lodge night. The website is also open to non-Masons who may be interested in any aspect of the Craft.
The master’s song was sung by lodge member John Cartwright, who was accompanied by Keith Jackson.
Written by Gordon Ivett, Blackpool Group Publicity Officer