Lodge centenaries are always special occasions and the centenary meeting of Great Marton Lodge No 3985 at the Savoy Hotel Blackpool was no exception. It was an honour for those who attended the meeting. An honour only made possible by the members of the lodge, past and present. Who could have imagined that the ideals of a few men when forming Great Marton Lodge in 1919 would grow and come to fruition over 100 years later?
The members and guests of Great Marton Lodge celebrated their centenary with a very special meeting attended by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson accompanied Tony along the Provincial team and a host of other grand and acting Provincial grand officers. There were a total of 120 brethren who attended the celebrations.
The WM William Grace opened the meeting and requesting the secretary to read the dispensation for the meeting. With the initial business complete the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell announced that Tony Harrison demanded admission. William replied that the brethren would be pleased to receive him.
Tony was processed into the lodge room by the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers making the procession majestic and colourful.
Malcolm introduced Tony to William who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to accept the gavel of the lodge, which on this occasion he willingly accepted. Tony took the chair and invited his Provincial officers into their respective positions before opening Provincial Grand Lodge.
In his opening address to the lodge, Tony expressed his pleasure at leading the celebrations for what is a magnificent occasion and what a wonderful achievement it is for the lodge in attaining its centenary. Tony then requested the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor to read out the details on the centenary warrant. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Tony who took great pleasure in presenting it to William.
After the presentation, Tony requested the Rev Canon John Hall, Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain to deliver an oration. A re-dedication prayer followed after which Tony closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited William to resume his rightful place in the chair of King Solomon.
William thanked Tony for a wonderful ceremony and then had a pleasant duty to perform by presenting him with cheques for £3985 for charitable causes. That figure being the Great Marton lodge number, a fitting tribute to mark 100 years.
With the centenary celebration complete, Tony retired from the lodge accompanied by the grand officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted and the lodge was closed and all retired to the Savoy Suite for a splendid meal at the festive board. During the festive board a raffle was held which raised much needed funds for local charities. David Randerson proposed the toast to Tony. David was pleased to be in attendance at the centenary meeting and thanked Tony for bringing his particular style of enjoyment to Blackpool and Freemasonry in general.
Tony responded to the toast to his health by thanking all the officers and brethren for their work in planning the centenary celebration. He requested that all brethren should try and encourage new members to join Freemasonry and share in the enjoyment. He also encouraged those members who had not yet committed to the 2021 Festival to pledge a Festival jewel. A key message that was emphasized in his response was how important it was to enjoy your Freemasonry. Tony finished his response by thanking everyone for the friendship and warm welcome that he and his Provincial team had received. Tony then proposed a toast to the health of Great Marton Lodge.
William Grace responded to the toast by saying it was a privilege to have the opportunity to thank Tony and the Provincial team for making this celebration an evening to remember. He also thanked his officers, brethren and visitors hoping that they had had an enjoyable evening. Finally, William on behalf of the lodge members presented a bouquet of flowers to Tony for his wife Maureen.