Through the years many Masons have had the pleasure if initiating their son into Freemasonry. Very few Masons have had the honour of initiating two sons into their lodge. One such Mason who has had that immense honour is Paul Ashton Both sons were initiated aged 18 years, thanks to dispensations from two Provincial Grand Masters – Peter Hosker and Tony Harrison.
The current worshipful master of William Fleetwood Lodge No.2814, Lesley Neville, kindly agreed to allow Paul, who is a past master of the lodge and currently the lodge’s senior deacon, to take the chair for the initiation ceremony.
Paul is a construction site manager. He is married to Karen and they have four children, two girls: Michele is a medic in the Royal Navy and Hayley is a physiotherapist. Paul’s eldest son Daniel was initiated by his father in April 2014. He is currently studying Aerospace engineering at Loughborough University and has just been accepted to take his Master’s Degree in Aerospace engineering when he completes his degree in 2017. James is currently in his last year at sixth form college and has applied to study Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. James is a keen sportsman and plays hockey for England.
Lesley opened the lodge and efficiently worked through the initial business before asking Paul to occupy the chair of King Solomon. James was formally announced and escorted into the lodge by the junior deacon, Brian Carrier to start his journey through the first degree to become an entered apprentice Freemason. James was ably conducted throughout the ceremony by Brain who kept James at ease and on the right course at all times.
The ceremony conducted by Paul, was word perfect and was an absolute pleasure to witness. Daniel delivered the working tools of an entered apprentice to his brother in a faultless and sincere manner. The charge after initiation was superbly delivered by lodge director of ceremonies, Jim Thomason, who has known Daniel and James since they were born.
At the end of the ceremony Paul thanked Lesley for allowing him to initiate his son. He also said: “Bringing my sons into Freemasonry has been the proudest moments of my life. Both my sons are now my brothers.”
One more special moment was to mark this special meeting when the lodge secretary announced that he had received a grand Lodge certificate for Daniel, which Lesley duly presented to Daniel after he had signed it at the secretaries desk.
The festive board which followed the ceremony was enjoyed by everybody. After an excellent meal and the formal toasts to grand and Provincial grand officers Paul had the pleasure of proposing the toast to James. Paul said: “James has always ben keen to help others and had spent his summer holidays last year, working for the National Citizen Service (NCS). James worked with 15 to 17 years old children in need at a summer camp where the children made lasting friendships, embraced the outdoors and learned the skills they don’t teach in the classroom.” Pauls toast to James was received with loud acclamation by the brethren.
James responded by thanking his ‘Brother Dad’ for proposing him and and senior lodge member Don Kelso for seconding him and all the members of the lodge for welcoming him into the lodge. James concluded by saying: “It was a very interesting ceremony and I found it very interesting, I have been looking forward to joining Freemasonry for a long time - in fact since I first remember watching my Dad leaving for the lodge in a smart suit and carrying his black case. After Daniel was initiated I was more determined to become a Freemason. I will try to be a good member of the lodge”
George Skarratts a frequent visitor to the lodge and in-fact had stood in at short notice as JW during the ceremony read out Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Lewis’.
St Helens and Prescot Group Chairman, Colin Rowling welcomed James into the group and explained that he is not only a member of William Fleetwood Lodge but also a member of a worldwide fraternity. Colin then presented Daniel with a welcome pack containing information about the first degree, the St Helens and Prescot Group and other useful information, including the meeting dates of all the lodges in the group – explaining the benefits of visiting other lodges.