Progress Lodge No 4120 is the daughter lodge of Blackpool Lodge No 1476, taking its name from the motto on the Blackpool Coat of Arms, which is simply ‘Progress’ Progress is defined as ‘the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state’
This was admirably achieved at the Progress Lodge installation ceremony that saw Michael Copley being installed into the chair of King Solomon for the fourth time.
Sadly, retiring worshipful master Gordon McClean was unable to attend the meeting so past master and secretary of the lodge Danny Whalley stepped up to the mark and acted as the installing master.
After the routine business of the lodge had been dispensed with, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Jason Dell announced that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson demanded admission. David was led into the lodge room by Jason, accompanied by acting Provincial grand officers Jim Gregson and Gary Harper, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin, fellow grand officers Geoff Pritchard and Michael Goodwin and other distinguished Provincial grand lodge officers.
Danny offered the gavel to David who politely returned it requesting permission to enjoy the afternoon.
Danny invited Bob Hopwood of Wyre Lodge No 7704 to occupy the chair of installing senior warden, Michael Thistlethwaite of Wayfarers Lodge No 7544 to occupy the chair of installing junior warden and David Platt of Wyre Lodge to be the installing inner guard.
Master elect Michael Copley delivered a perfect rendition of the master elect’s obligation with the confidence that comes from years of experience as a past master of the lodge.
The quality of the ritual set the bar so high it would be difficult to emulate it in future years, thus inspiring the brethren of the lodge to aim for perfection. Michael looked proud to be installed in the chair of King Solomon by Danny.
Highlight of the day was the quartet of working tools which saw Bob Hopwood deliver the working tools of an installed master in his own unique style, conveying the emotion that those tools demand. Not to be out done, Michael Hebson presented an outstanding rendition of the third degree tools. Clive Chenery gave a perfect extended version of the second degree tools and Richard Sawczyn gave an inspired rendition of the first degree tools.
The quality of ritual did not end there and the address to the master was given with sincerity by Roy James and the address to the wardens by David Cook, who is rapidly rising up the ranks of Freemasonry. The address to the deacons by Mark Kiernan and the address to the stewards by the Provincial Grand Steward Gary Harper.
All of the performances received the admiration of the brethren in the lodge room, the participants being under the guidance of director of ceremonies Andy Walch.
Once all of the ritual of the day had been completed, the happy task of appointing and investing the officers of the lodge began. As each officer was presented to the WM, Roy James entertained the brethren with appropriate accompaniments from his vast repertoire of music.
After the address to the brethren had been given by David, he rose again to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulating the WM and thanking the installing master for a wonderful afternoon.
As calm descended on the lodge room, Danny rose to present David with cheques to the value of £1,090. £240 to Africa School, £100 to St. Peters Church Soup Kitchen, £250 to the MCF 2021 Festival and £500 to the Blackpool Masonic Club Building Fund.
After the proceedings had ended, the brethren retired to the festive board, the banter and joviality extending well into the late hours of the evening.
Interspersed with the official toasts was an inspiring speech given by David Randerson, promoting the joys of Freemasonry, the benefits of the Royal Arch and the gratitude of the recipients of the charity donations given this evening.
The highlight of the evening being the traditional master’s song, it was sung with perfection by George Embleton and enhanced by the musical dexterity of Roy James.
A musical perfect end to a harmonious perfect day.
Written and photography by Gordon Ivett.