Arthur Holden was installed into the chair of King Solomon at the installation meeting of St Bartholomew Lodge No 6071 held at Brookfield Masonic Hall.
After the lodge was opened in the third degree, the lodge director of ceremonies Mark Howard announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent stood outside the door of the lodge and demanded admittance. The WM Steven Lowe replied that he would be delighted to receive him.
Tony entered the lodge preceded by Mark Howard and Provincial Grand Steward Gary Smith. Tony was also accompanied by grand officers Frank Wilkinson PSGD,PAPrGM, John Robson, John Dutchman-Smith, Ian Thornton and Steve Gregory all of whom are PAGDCs and representing the Chorley Group was group vice chairman Peter Allen.
The WM carried out the installation ceremony ably assisted by officers of the lodge under the watchful eye of the DC who gave a faultless explanation of the working tools of an installed master.
The working tools in the three degrees were excellently presented by David Bridge (third), Peter Holden – the WM’s brother (second) and Ian Wrigley in the first degree. Gary Smith gave the address to the stewards, as his final act as an acting Provincial Grand Steward.
The address to the worshipful master was delivered by Steve Gregory; the address to the wardens was given by John Robson and that to the brethren by Tony Bent.
After the ceremony Tony gave greetings from the Provincial Grand Master and congratulated Arthur on being installed for the first time into the chair of King Solomon. He also congratulated Steven Lowe the installing master and the officers who took part in an excellent ceremony.
Arthur thanked Tony for his remarks presented Tony with cheques totalling £3,526 – £500 to the Tercentenary Appeal, £500 to WLFC, £526 Croston Flood Relief and £150 to each of the following: Firwood School, Friends of Ecclesholme, Guide Dogs (Gib Fold Branch), Atherton and Leigh Cats Protection, Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society), Singing with Dementia, Macmillan Nurses, Forget Me Not, Scouts, PORT (Pseudo Obstruction Research Trust), Whippet rescue, Boot Out Breast Cancer and £50 to Hewlett Court.
The meeting was closed in due form by Arthur and the brethren retired to the bar before enjoying the festive meal.
After the meal a Westhoughton raffle raised £325, to which Arthur added a further £100 to sponsor Christine Skillen, a student from Liverpool University who is shortly departing to India to deliver medical supplies and build a crèche as part of a project organised by the Lotus Flower Trust.
At the festive board, in his response to the toast to the grand officers, Tony gave his own congratulations to Arthur on attaining the WM’s chair in such a fine lodge, he also wished him a healthy and prosperous year and encouraged him to get out on the well supported circuit of masters in the Chorley Group and enjoy his year to the full.
Tony also congratulated Steven Lowe for the dedication he had clearly had in learning the installation ritual. Tony said: “It was very clear to me during the ceremony how much work you had put in and I very much enjoyed the ceremony.” He also thanked the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their support.
Tony continued: “As a retired teacher he shared a career with the group chairman and had learned that early judgements are not always right.” He said he had fond memories of teaching, particularly writing those end of term reports that he admitted could be judgemental! Tony continued by quoting some end of term reports of well-known politicians, entrepreneurs and celebrities which prompted load applause from the brethren.
Tony closed by thanking the members of the lodge for their wonderful donations to local charities and the WLFC which gives of £500,000 annually to deserving causes. He also spoke about the new Masonic Charitable Foundation and the support they give nationally and globally.
He also thanked them for the kind hospitality the members of the lodge had shown him once again. He said: “I am very pleased that the lodge is beginning to show signs of recovery since my last visit and it is clear that the lodge is not prepared to ‘lie down’. I think it is marvellous to see four entered apprentices, this clearly indicates that the future looks good with plenty of work for Arthur in the coming year.”