When the word filtered through to the Wigan Group that Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, was to be honoured as the president of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, the wheels were put in motion to gather support for his first major engagement, the annual festival. This resulted in an early start from Bryn Masonic Hall for two coachloads of Masons and their partners, including Tony and wife Maureen, as they headed for London.
The purpose was to attend lodge room number 10 at Great Queen Street for the special festival meeting. Of course, the ladies had other ideas. They had a meal and a show to look forward to. It was a pleasant journey down to London, with a couple of stops for refreshments, and little traffic until the last few miles through the city and to Canary Wharf and the hotel. It was a quick turnaround for the brethren, a swift change of clothes before arriving at Grand Lodge. Tony was delighted with the support and joined his travelling companions for a photograph on the steps of that great building. The travellers were then joined by other brethren from the length and breadth of the Province in what was a great show of support for their leader.
The lodge was duly opened in all three degrees, and the President processed in, accompanied by grand officers, including, from West Lancs, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, seven Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, the Deputy Grand Superintendent with Royal Arch assistants, along with numerous group chairmen and other Provincial officers.
After salutations to Tony, the assembly were treated to a number of lectures, admirably delivered in word perfect fashion, including a wonderful delivery by Arthur Lee from the Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction. Tony responded at the first rising to say it had been a really enjoyable meeting and everyone had made advancement in Masonic knowledge. He congratulated everyone who had taken part and called on the brethren present to show their appreciation with acclamation.
A fine festive followed in the Connaught rooms next door, with great food and wine. Tony specifically requested to take wine with the brethren from West Lancs, and as the brethren stood it became apparent that the majority of the packed banquet was from back home, and enthusiastically responded. Proceedings over, there was time for a few drinks and a chat, before returning to the hotel to meet up with the ladies, who had enjoyed a lovely meal at Brown’s restaurant and taken in the show ‘Wicked’. Once together again, it was up in the clouds on floor 38 where the festivities continued to the early hours.
An uneventful journey home saw everyone safely back at Bryn. En-route Tony thanked everyone on both coaches for their support on this special occasion.