St George Lodge of Mark Master Masons. No. 553
Garston Masonic Hall, Island Rd South, Liverpool. Monday 9th October 2023
Let’s start where we always start on that infamous on M60 ramp, it’s only 3.p.m. and yet just have a look at the picture, ah well thanks goodness I always start three hours before the meeting starts. On this occasion I was really looking forward to visiting Garston Masonic Hall, it’s one of my favourites, from outside it doesn’t look anything special, just a very neat clean building but once inside if you turn right you are in an excellent lounge bar area with plenty of comfy seats where every one visiting can sit and chat with news from all over the Province.   A short corridor leads to a large room for robing with plenty of tables and chairs to lay your bags on, perfect, before too long after a nice cup of coffee it was time for everyone to make their way upstairs to the well-appointed Temple.
The meeting started on time at 6.00pm and once some general housekeeping items had been dealt with it was time for the Provincial Grand Master R.W. Bro. Keith Alan Beardmore to enter accompanied by Acting Grand and Provincial Grand Officers to enter, he was welcomed by the W.M. Bro. Michael Southern who offered the Gavel, Keith said he would accept it for a short time so as to introduce the members of the Prov Team to everyone present. Once completed the W.M. went into overdrive and assisted by other officers in the lodge did a great job of Installing W.Bro. Geoffrey Roberts into the Chair of Adoniram. The Keystone Jewel and the Patrons Jewel of the Mark Benevolent Fund was presented and explained to the newly Installed W.M. by V.W. W.Bro. Derek Horrocks PGJO, officers for the ensuing year were then appointed and invested, the Almoners report was given and a collection for the Charities was honoured.

The time had come for our PGM to retire from the meeting along with members of the Team and Grand and Provincial Grand officers, on closing it was time as usual to return into the Lodge room for some pictures to be taken to mark the event. After charging their glasses everyone made their way to the dining room, which was laid out in fine style, and took up their allotted seats for the Festive Board. An excellent meal was prepared by the Chef and served up by the friendly and very efficient hall staff.
Lots of excellent Toasts and Responses followed the meal, a first class raffle, then Keith received a lovely bouquet of flowers for June on behalf of the Lodge from the WM and there it was all over too soon as usual, everyone said their goodbyes along with the genuine handshakes we share in this the “Magic of the Mark” Once outside there was a chill in the air but I’m sure we all had a warm glow inside, here’s looking forward to the next Mark meeting and just in case your not yet a member of the friendly, colourful  Royal Ark Mariners Degree, there will be one somewhere close to your Lodge or even in your own Lodge building, just ask your Secretary who will point you in the right direction.
Here’s to the next meeting to meet old friends and those I have yet to meet, remember your only a stranger once. Mark Well.
Words and pictures by Austin N Fletcher. PGJD