The proceedings for the celebration started weeks prior to the event, with the Lodge and Provincial Secretary arranging visiting teams and the required provincial D.C. for the night. Practice for receipt of the A.P.G.M. and the District Team proceeded without any difficulty, with the stand in Provincial D.C. Colin Whittaker, pleased with the practice turn out and quality of ceremonial.
The Lodge night activities also commenced many hours prior to the usual start time of the lodge. Those who sort out reserved seating, setting up the Lodge room, and laying out of the dinning area are all to be thanked. They are the real supporters of Freemasonry, they take on board the necessary duties without anyone’s knowledge and make, not only this special occasion, but many ceremonies go without a hitch.
Plans to provide the cheese board, several bottles of port and whisky, also donated by the brethren, were also made a couple of weeks prior to the event. We are very luck to have brethren who continually add value to our meetings, they are the real heroes of Pendle Lodge.
The Lodge was opened by the W.M. Roy Langtree and his officers with their usual style and panache, and the business conducted up to the report for the A.P.G.M. to gain admission. Ron Atherton pointed out that the wardens columns where the wrong way round. Looking at them they appeared to be correct, with the SW column erect and the J.W. column prone to indicate the lodge was open. It was not immediately noticed that they were indeed the wrong way round, with the J.W. column being on the SW pedestal. A quick perambulation by the DC sorted that out and the report received before anyone of A.P.G.M. rank or above spotted the slight faux pas.
Colin Whittaker, acting as Provincial D.C. made his entrance and press ganged the assistance of both deacons and our assistant Director of Ceremonies Peter Christie. Although they may not be aware of it, the evenings proceedings are pretty rare and the chances of receiving the A.P.G.M. whilst in the office of deacon isn’t going to come around again, at least not for them anyway, and they are to be congratulated on their performance on the evening.
The W.M. greeted the A.P.G.M. and as is the custom offered the gavel. On this special occasion he took it and occupied the chair of King Solomon in Pendle Lodge for the first time. Martin spent the next few minutes introducing the acting Provincial officers of the year and the members of the District Team in attendance. It was a marvellous spectacle to see the Lodge room full to capacity.
W.Bro Ken Smith, a long time close friend of Brian Ingham delivered a wonderful tribute of Brian’s masonic career which included the names of many long serving and highly respected brethren from the origins and history of Pendle Lodge. It was a pleasure to hear what Ken had to say about our beloved brother and to reminisce with him. A splendid lapel pin indicating his 50 years in masonry was presented by Ken on behalf of the brethren of the lodge.
The A.P.G.M. then presented Brian with his illuminated certificate from the Province, which was signed by the Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. Sir David Trippier, accompanied by a letter from Martin Roche, our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and personal congratulations on his 50 years of support to Freemasonry.
All in all a very moving moment for Brian and for the Lodge. The evening was also an opportunity to make a donation to the 2015 Festival, and that is exactly what we did. The Worshipful Master was able to present a cheque for £500.00 to the A.P.G.M. to add to the growing £1,212,463.77 total.
Roy Langtree W.M. resumed his seat and the lodge business concluded with greetings from personal guests and many lodges and provinces.
By this time everyone was ready for a drink and looking forward to the evenings festive board.
Caterer Maureen Howarth and the J.W. Mark Barlow worked closely to deliver a hearty meal for the occasion with many favorites being served to the brethren. Rice Pudding was expected from some quarter, but sticky toffee pudding won the day. Cheese and biscuits, followed by a good port, and whisky after the queens toast, was well received by all the brethren and visitors.
Talking of whisky, Ken Smith proposed a toast to Brian on his 50th anniversary and went on to present him with a 25-year-old bottle of malt whisky from the brethren of Pendle Lodge. He then went on to explain how and why he wasn’t receiving a 50-year-old bottle of whisky, which brought the house down. It really was a rather special evening and one that wont be repeated for at least another ten years.
Special thanks to all those involved in the evenings proceedings, especially those who perform way and above the usual call of duty to the lodge.
Brian’s contribution to Pendle Lodge is immeasurable. His presence at meetings affords a level of calm and decorum, his knowledge of proceedings and the constitution inspires confidence in those who are moving the lodge forward into the next decade, and his laughter, conviviality and ability to spill red wine at the social board is beyond compare.
We are all in his debt and we all intend to enjoy his presence in Pendle Lodge for many years more.pictures from the evening can be found here