Southport Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 473
The Masonic Hall, Duke Street, Southport
Installation Ceremony. Thurs 2nd March 2023
Looking forward to another great evening, meeting old friends in the Mark Degree, it is truly a delight to feel the warmth generated once everyone arrives and gives the genuine handshakes of friendship we all share. Set off early as usual, went straight up the on ramp for the M60, yes straight up, stopped at the top of course, we all chugged along must have reached at least five miles an hour, made it to the top of the high level bridge and that was it, felt like I was on a trampoline, you could actually feel the car bouncing up and down for at least five minutes!
Eventually made it to the M62 and picked up speed to a staggering 50 mph, just as a warning there are some huge pot holes along the way before you get to the M6, well worth keeping an eye out for them before it knocks your tracking out. No more real problems and once I made it to the M58 then the A570 I arrived outside the Hall in good time, parked opposite, put £4 in the slot and was warned by Lodge members that if you don’t move before your ticket expires you could receive a bill in the post for £100, charming (and that’s from a church car park).
Had my usual mooch around, the Lodge room being used was already set up in fine style, that was after I had already stumbled into in to a Temple being used for a Craft Meeting, oops. I checked out the stunning chairs situated just inside the hall entrance, they never fail to impress me and I’m sure that all visitors feel the same.
The meeting started on time at 6pm, once the general housekeeping items had been dealt with including a new Candidate and a re-joining member our PGM R.W. Bro. Keith Alan Beardmore entered the Lodge accompanied by Grand and Acting Prov Grand officers, the Acting W.M. W.Bro. Derek Hedges offered Keith the Gavel which he said he would accept on this occasion for a short time so that he could introduce the members of the Provincial Team to everyone present, once he had done this he said he was pleased to hand the gavel back to W.Bro. Derek Hedges knowing that he was looking forward to Installing Bro. Mark Francis Mathews (perhaps better known to all present as the Craft PGM of West Lanc’s) into the Chair of Adoniram.  Derek was assisted by the Prov G.S.W. W.Bro. David Durling, the Prov G.J.W. W.Bro. Brian Povey and the Prov I.G. W.Bro. Phillip Lyon, the working tools were presented and explained by W.Bro. Hedges along with the Warrants, Constitutions and Bye Laws. The Keystone and Charity Jewels were presented by W.Bro. Bryan Henshaw, then the address to the W.M. was given by V.W. Bro. Maurice Evans.
All the officers for the ensuing year were then appointed and invested, the address to the Wardens was given by W.Bro. David Durling, address to the Overseers was given by W.Bro. Brian Povey and my favourite address to all present was given by our PGM Keith. Something I and many others I’m sure have never seen before and probably will never witness again, one PGM congratulating another PGM on being installed into the Chair of Adoniram of this old and much respected Lodge, Mark said he was very pleased on behalf of all the members to present two donations to Keith, £200 for the Hall Development Fund and £273 for the West Lanc’s Mark Charity Fund, (473 being the Lodge No.) in reply Keith said he was certain that they would be well received and put to good use. Keith then retired from the meeting accompanied by the Grand and Acting Prov Grand Officers and once it came to a conclusion everybody returned for the usual photo session before making their way downstairs to the dining room.
Having charged their glasses they took up their allotted places for the Festive Board to be served with an excellent meal by the friendly and attentive Hall Staff. Following on from the meal the usual Toasts and Responses were all well received, unfortunately I had to leave early as I was once again not feeling too good, I’m sure the bottle of whisky I won in the raffle before leaving gave me a massive boost. What a pleasure it was for all present to be in the company of our own PGM R.W. Bro. Keith Alan Beardmore, all his executive along with the very special new W.M. of Southport Mark Lodge, W.Bro. Mark Francis Mathews, who seemed to be just as approachable and friendly as our own PGM. Now as to the journey home, that’s another story, my nephew was driving, after ten minutes I thought no this doesn’t look right where are we going? It was like doing a coastal trip to see the sights but in the dark! We were heading down the A5758 went past Formby then it was Crosby next he started heading for Bootle, I said no,no,you need to head towards the M57 and on to the M62, he’s done it before, he seems to have a magnet that takes him towards Liverpool. All I wished for was to see the lights of the Trafford Centre and the off ramp.
It felt like the trip from a couple of weeks ago when I was completely lost and I mean lost, at the next meeting my good friend PPrAsst P.G.M. V.W. Bro. Ian Nairn gave me a three inch map which took me directly home (I’m keeping it for a souvenir)
Here's to my next Mark Meeting to see old friends and those I have yet to meet, first we have Grand Lodge in London on Tuesday, let’s hope the trains are running.    “The Magic of the Mark” is with us all. Notes for your Diary.
Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting, Wednesday 27th April 2023.
Winter Gardens Blackpool, The Spanish Hall.
Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Assembly, Tues 19th Sept 2023.
The Savoy Hotel, Queens Promenade, Blackpool.
Mark Well
Words and pictures by Austin N Fletcher, PGJD Flixton Shepherd Eastwood Mark Lodge No 1173