The members of Quingenti Lodge No. 8516 - the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge - welcomed seven of the eight acting Provincial Grand Stewards as joining members at their installation meeting
The principal guest at the meeting was the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker.
Peter was accompanied by Ray Martland, Harry Cox and David Winder all of whom are Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Mark Matthews (Provincial Senior Grand Warden) and Joe Hall (Provincial Junior Grand Warden), Keith Kemp (Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies) and Malcolm Bell (Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies), together Terry Hudson (PProvAsstGM) and many other grand and Provincial grand officers.
There was also a large attendance of other visitors from across the Province who attended the meeting for two reasons. The first was to watch the newly appointed Stewards parade into the lodge room after their application to join the lodge had been voted on by the members.
The second was to witness the installation of the Steward (master elect) John Martin. John was installed into the chair of King Solomon by Greg Pinnington, in what Peter described as: 'distinguished and unique manner.'
After being installed in the Chair of King Solomon John invested the lodge officers which included David Grainger as JW, David is an Assistant to the Three Grand Principals in the Royal Arch. Peter Pemberton as SW who is the group publicity officer for Lancaster Group and region four publicity officer and Fred Wright as almoner. The Provincial Grand Almoner Ernie Greenhalgh explained the almoners duties to Fred who has served as lodge almoner for several years. Ernie also presented Fred with the new almoners booklet.
More than 80 brethren retired to the main dining room to enjoy the festive board after the meeting was closed. They enjoyed a fine meal and listened as Peter Hosker in the response to the toast to his health, pay tribute to the excellent work in the lodge and by the lodge members in managing the banquets after the meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge.
Peter described Quingenti Lodge as the jewel in the Provincial crown. He said: 'As ProvGM, I would wish to salute and thank the lodge for all its good work over the years in running and managing the banquets at Provincial Grand Lodge, now held at Preston Masonic Hall.'
He continued by saying: 'Many brethren come to Provincial Grand Lodge to enjoy and admire the Province at work, and in that work, the acting Provincial Stewards play a very important part. I have attended Grand Lodge and visited many other Provinces and I venture to suggest when it comes to ceremonial occasions, 'nobody does it better than West Lancashire'.
'Over five years have now passed since I became ProvGM. I thought that I would revisit my 2008 principal aims and objectives, to see whether I had lost the plot!
They are: to share more widely our principles and beliefs; to extend our charitable giving; and to give even greater service in and to our communities.
'As to sharing our principles and beliefs, we have taken two giant steps with the initiative of Ambassadors for Freemasonry, and the base values of our Order - Integrity, Kindness, Honesty, Fairness - enabling us to speak in modern language with our families, friends and others about our Order.
'Additionally, our excellent Provincial website is our open window to the world - tirelessly managed by your retiring SW Mark Holloway, supported by webmaster, the team of group publicity officers and the assistant webmasters.
'Looking at our charitable giving, I am proud of what we have achieved together in Province and I continue to be humbled by the masonic and non-masonic donations.
'By way of example: In 2010, £5,4000,000 to our 2010 Festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund. This year we gave £80,000 to the Royal College of Surgeons for the Royal Arch Bi-centenary Appeal. Last year the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity gave grants of £500,000 which included £143,539 non-masonic grants. Last year the giving to non-masonic causes throughout the Province - including group giving days, of over £250,000. This has achieved a balanced giving between masonic and non-masonic giving.
'I was pleased that The Freemasons' Grand Charity gave a grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross in support of immediate emergency aid efforts in the Philippines. Also, The Grand Charity has opened a dedicated Relief Chest for Freemasons to give individually to the disaster.
'Service in the community continues to grow, and I hear many stories of good service. I repeat what I have said on many occasions - for the kind of life we lead, will Freemasonry be judged.
'In conclusion, I emulate my predecessors when I say that I am fully aware of the importance of this lodge not just because of its work at PrGL, but because it brings together those who, importantly, have served the Province as acting Stewards. I am sure that in bringing acting Stewards together, it fuses like minds and develops a masonic spirit and purpose which are then spread throughout the Province for the good of freemasonry. It is all about qualities of commitment, ability and potential leadership, which is at the very heart of all that is good in the Province.'
He then wished John Martin well in the coming years, he said: 'You lead a most important body of men. Once again I have greatly enjoyed my visit to your fine lodge.'
Greg proposed the toast to the new worshipful master, during his toast Greg said John was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1954, after leaving school aged 16 he spent 15 years working in the private forestry sector and qualified as a forester. He joined the Fisheries division of North West Water at 30 and became a Fisheries Officer working in Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria for 25 years. He is currently self employed and works for clients which include the Forestry Commission, Highways Agency and Cumbria County Council.
John was initiated into the Arthur John Brogden Lodge No. 1715 in October 1997 and served as WM in December 2005.
John gave a suitable reply, thanking Greg for the way he had installed him in the chair.
The toast to the visitors was proposed by the new Steward of the lodge David Coulson. Joe Hall replied on behalf of the visitors, saying he had greatly enjoyed the ceremony and he congratulated Greg on the work he did in the lodge. He also said he should single out the Provincial Deacons as they clearly had some talent despite their roles as last season’s acting Provincial Wardens!
The final toast of the evening was in the hands of the tyler Keith Lang who gave the tyler’s toast.