Rod in at Walton
All roads led to Bryn Masonic Hall for the installation meeting of The Walton Mark Lodge No 161, The Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge. However, as ever seems to be the case at present, those roads were not as smooth running as one would hope leading to many cutting it fine or being late.
Ian Nairn, Rod Bennison and Roland Alderton
I cannot comment on the opening of the ceremony as the usual two-hour journey from Barrow took a little over three and a quarter hours. On gaining entry I was able to discover that replacing David Winder as the principal guest was Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Nairn.
The Grand Officers
A current APGM in the person of lodge member Geoff Bury was also in attendance with the lodge treasurer being another PAPGM Michael Clarke. There were also a good number of grand and acting provincial officers adding further lustre to the occasion.
The Acting Provincial Officers
Those assembled were able to enjoy observing outgoing WM Roland Alderton install Rod Bennison as his successor in fine style. Roland can reflect on not only a job well done but also the fact that he was in the chair when the lodge celebrated its sesquicentenary meeting in April.
Geoff Bury and Chris Dougals proudly displaying his new collarette
Rod is a past secretary of the lodge and played a very significant role in transforming it in its present format. It is 31 years since he was first installed in the chair of a Mark lodge. He is well known throughout the province having given many years of valuable service to the order.
Ian Nairn takes wine with Rod Bennison
Others too played their part in making it a delightful ceremony. Chris Douglas is one of the original members having been advanced into The Walton Mark. He was called upon to deliver the working tools of the degree. Later the newly installed WM was to present Chris with the collarette and jewel as the steward of the lodge which by tradition means he is also de facto Master Elect to succeed Rod into the chair.
The address to the WM was delivered by Mike Pinckard, with Michael delivering that to the wardens and Geoff instructing the overseers as to their responsibilities. Ian orated the address to the Brethren. As could be expected from such experienced marked men they all played their part well and added to the enjoyment of the evening.
Peter Quirk, Peter Craven, Darren Stainton, Derek Gaskell and Graham Benson
(it should be noted that the smirk on the face of Peter Quirk
appeared after he won a bottle of whisky in the raffle!)
Of course, these events do not occur without people putting in the work to make them happen. Secretary Peter Craven and director of ceremonies Derek Gaskell were later to receive the plaudits that they had so well earned.
The meal which followed was up to the usual high standard you associate with Bryn Masonic Hall. A raffle helped reinvigorate the charity account following the donation of £1,000 at the sesquicentenary celebration.
There were a number of guests present but Darren Stainton and Graham Benson, respectively the WM and IPM of The Furness Mark, did look a little outnumbered when they were the only ones required to rise in response to the toast to the provincial officers.
Some of the diners with senior warden and original Walton member Bill Wainwright
at the head of the table
The Magic of the Mark had once again been in evidence with an opportunity to meet up with friends you did not see too frequently and enjoy the craic of good fellowship. It makes the horrors of the M6 worthwhile.
The journey home? Just under two hours!
Words and pictures by Dave Sear