A warm sunny Saturday in May was the backdrop to a fantastic installation which saw Joe O’Brien make a welcome return to the chair of Royal Oak Lodge No 5919. The installation of Royal Oak Lodge is the last in the North Fylde Group season but it certainly was not the least with 65 Brethren there to join in the festivities.
The principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson, accompanied by fellow grand officers; Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, North Fylde Deputy Group Chairman Tony Hough, Keith Jackson, Duncan Smith, Ian Ward and Neil MacSymons together with acting Provincial grand officers Terry Murtagh and Alan Barnes.
The outgoing WM Gordon Hinchliffe rapidly dealt with the regular administrative business of the lodge. The lodge was then opened in the second degree which saw the lodge’s director of ceremonies Alex Tomlinson retire. Gordon then opened in the third, which saw Alex return and announce David Randerson and his procession. Once the formalities of welcoming David were concluded he was offered the gavel of the lodge by Gordon, which was politely declined.
Gordon asked Ronnie Coles to assist him by occupying the senior warden’s chair, Stuart Brown to occupy the junior warden’s chair and Brian Gregson to act as installing Inner Guard. Joe O’Brien as the master elect was presented by Arthur Cartain. Joe was then installed by Gordon in an excellent ceremony during which Alex Tomlinson delivered the master’s working tools.
The inner workings completed, Masons were admitted in their respective degrees with the working tools of the third degree delivered with great sincerity by Martin Poole, the long version of second degree working tools was delivered without flaw by Steve Hardman and finally Dereck Gibbon presented the first degree tools; all these were overseen to perfection by the one and only Alex Tomlinson, DC extraordinaire, ably assisted by ADC Mark Mallinson.
The address to the master was delivered by Arthur Cartain and that to the wardens delivered by Duncan Smith. The hard-working Alex Tomlinson delivered the address to the deacons, leaving the final address, that to the brethren of the lodge in the more than capable hands of David Randerson.
Once the installing master Gordon informed Joe that the ceremony of his installation was complete, David Randerson rose from his seat to bring the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison saying that if he had have been at the ceremony he would have warmly commended the installing master Gordon and the brethren who had presented the tools.
Joe O’Brien then presented David with the lodge’s donations to charity which were £750 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, £500 to Cancer Research, £150 to the Mustard Seed Group, £100 to Coast Watch Rossall Point and £150 to the Cleveleys Masonic Hall building fund. David thanked Joe for the generous donations.
At the festive board in response to the toast to his health David Randerson congratulated the new master and the brethren who had taken part in what was a brilliant ceremony in particular the brethren who had presented the working tools. David said that this was his last official event of the year and he said that he would keep his response to the point.
On membership he said: “Keep talking about how much you enjoy and are proud of your Freemasonry.” On Solomon: “Take a look at the website as it is a fantastic resource that has a mass of information that was started in our Province.” On the 2021 Festival: “Support it.” David thanked the lodge again for the donations of £750 to the festival and amounts to the other charities, David added: “If you haven’t taken out a pledge for a jewel then consider it because you don’t know when you are going to need support from the charity.” On the Royal Arch: “Join it.” David said: “At Supreme Grand Chapter the First Grand Superintendent said that the first thing you should be looking at joining when you become a Master Mason should be the Royal Arch.” On Masonic Halls: David’s message was: “Back your hall.” Saying that he and Tony Hough had been on the Provincial Halls’ committee he said: “You should make a plan for where you are going and what legacy you are going to leave future Masons. Without a plan you can find yourself without a hall and without a home. David added: “If there are people with ability or background knowledge help your hall, don’t leave it to the same guys.” David said that he was on his own hall committee for 25 years and admitted there was criticism of the hall committees, but: “How many will actually step up to the plate and give the help and support?”
David ask the brethren if they had watched football, saying that it had struck him how it relates to the work done in the lodge: “It was a team effort and that’s what it is like in a lodge. You have a team leader a captain who can’t do it on their own without each person doing their job.” David added that he is a big believer that if you take on a job then it is a person’s responsibility to do it to the best of his ability.
David continued by thanking DC Alex Tomlinson saying that he was incredibly organised and it showed in the ceremony. David thanked Tony Hough and all the group officers for their support, not only the evening but throughout the past year. David said: “Can I thank especially, Peter, the Group Publicity Officer?” Saying publicity officers do an enormous amount of work not only at the events but afterwards writing the reports up. David continued by thanking the acting officers Terry Murtagh and Alan Barnes for their support and wished them well in the year ahead.
David finished his response by wishing everyone a fantastic summer break, adding that we should not forget those who are lonely, saying Freemasonry is wonderful when we are all here, out at meetings with people we got on with, David added: “Please remember people who are on their own and those who are lonely. As Freemasons we should be looking out for those who need our help.”