Imperial Mark celebrate 60th year
When Imperial Mark Lodge No 1276 celebrated its 50th anniversary Andrew Stansfield was the WM at the helm. Now wind the clock forward ten years and Andrew is in the chair again to lead the lodge into its 60th. Where did those ten years go?
Stood: Paul Smedley, John Fenton, Tom Egan, Stephen Wadsworth, Josh Patterson,
Barry Hage,Glenn Priestly, Chris Sage, Andrew Stansfield, Roger Stansfield,
Steve Willingham, Damien Davenport, Stuart Sager, Alan Mitchell,
Clive Gitsham, Allan Gould, Alan Barnes and Roland Alderton
Seated: Derek Abbot, John Bicknell, Geoffrey Lee, Ken Sykes,
Giles Berkley, Peter Weller and Shaun Haynes
However, the lodge was opened for this 60th anniversary by Andrew, with his father, Roger Stansfield, as Immediate Past Master and the usual items of business were adroitly dispatched so as to hasten the entry of the principal guests. These were Deputy Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Lee and both Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Giles Berkley and John Bicknell.
In the customary way, Andrew offered the gavel of the lodge to Geoffrey Lee. He accepted it and as he would shortly be retiring he handed the gavel with some amusing comments to Giles, who is the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Designate. Giles accepted the gavel and after some more frivolity handed the gavel to John, who thanked the WM for the honour but felt that he should have the gavel back so that the lodge could get on with the business at hand. This entire interlude was met with appreciation and amusement by all the brethren present.
Geoffrey Lee, John Bicknell, Shaun Haynes, Chris Sage and Giles Berkley.
Other significant guests included Derek Abbot the Provincial Grand Inspector of Works and the WM of Wyre Lodge No 754, Tom Egan; along with Alan Barnes WM of Bispham with Norbreck Lodge No 866. There were several other guests in attendance.
Salutations were then given to Geoffrey, Giles and John with appropriate responses before Andrew delivered an excellent presentation about the founders of the lodge, its history and its plans for the future, particularly with reference to moving to new accommodation. Details of those plans were further discussed later in the meeting.
Giles Berkley, Geoffrey Lee and John Bicknell
Andrew’s presentation was followed by the presentation of a certificate from the Provincial Grand Master, Keith Beardmore, conducted by Geoffrey Lee. He congratulated the lodge on achieving the milestone of 60 years in existence and said that the lodge had made further advancement by the impending promotion of Shaun Haynes to Grand Rank and of Chris Sage to Acting Provincial Grand Steward, the later to be invested at the next Provincial Grand Lodge meeting later in the month.
At the first rising John Bicknell congratulated the lodge on its anniversary and said what a pleasure it had been for the grand officers to attend and witness such an enjoyable meeting. Andrew responded on behalf of the lodge members saying that it had been an honour and delight to receive such a significant visitation of senior Provincial grand officers. Responding for the Provincial grand officers, Stuart Sager echoed the congratulations to Shaun and Chris on their forthcoming promotions and thanked the WM for his enjoyable presentation.
Geoffrey Lee taking wine with WM Andrew Stansfield.
The lodge was closed shortly afterwards and after the customary photo call the brethren retired to the banqueting suite for a fine repast. Following the meal, the usual toasts were observed. In response to the toast to the grand officers, proposed by senior warden, Glenn O’ Brien, it fell to Giles Berkely to speak and amid much frivolity, he was able to pay a serious tribute to Geoffrey Lee and John Bicknell, who will be standing down from high office at the next meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. Giles acknowledged the immense amount of work they had both done during their time in some of the most challenging positions of leadership.
Brethren at the Senior Warden’s table relaxing at the festive board.
After a short toast to the WM by his father, Roger Stansfield, Andrew spoke of the very special quality he had always found to exist at Imperial Mark Lodge - that of friendship. He added that it was great to see such a special lodge enjoying a special evening and pointed out that each brother present had been gifted a souvenir serviette to mark the occasion. This, he said, would go together with the souvenir handkerchief they had received ten years ago.
A Westhoughton raffle, which was hosted by the junior warden, Alan Mitchell then raised the sum of £146 which, with the alms donated during the lodge meeting gave a total sum raised for charity of £215. Alan followed this by a short toast to the visitors to which Tom Egan replied by thanking the lodge for a super evening, adding that everyone had carried out their duties brilliantly. He closed by wishing everyone a happy recess and looked forward to meeting them all again in the new Masonic season.
Brethren at the Junior Warden’s table relaxing at the festive board.
The evening was brought to a close by Barry Hage who delivered the long Robbie Burns tyler’s toast.
Words and pictures courtesy of Glenn O'Brien