It was a short journey bathed in sunshine for Provincial Junior Grand Warden Barry Dickinson to Bryn Masonic Hall to witness the installation of Sincerity Lodge No 3677 as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master. Barry lives locally and his own lodge meets in the same Masonic hall. Barry was accompanied in the lodge by Wigan Group Chairman Geoffrey Porter, supported by acting Provincial grand officer Eric Bailey (PrSGD), group vice-chairman John Selley and group secretary Chris Reeman. All were there to share the joy of the occasion and see the new WM, Neil Haddock, installed in the chair for the first time. Neil is a serving police officer and it was a delight for Barry, as a retired policeman, to witness the ceremony conducted by WM Steve Price, another retiree from the force.
All were welcomed into the lodge by the WM Steve, who, once the formalities were over, went on to deliver a fine ceremony of installation. The amount of time and effort that Steve had obviously put into his preparation was obvious, remarkable considering that Steve had moved to Gloucester during his year and had commuted back and forth to fulfil his Masonic duties. Steve was assisted by members of the lodge, led and orchestrated by DC Dave Campbell.
Dave missed his mentor, Malcolm Bell junior, who due to unforeseen circumstances could not attend. Malcolm is of course, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies designate and despite not having his experienced guidance, Dave battled on and kept everything on track. Malcolm Bell senior presented the master elect Neil. Neil himself was a confident master elect who conducted himself with dignity and once installed by his predecessor looked confident in the chair. One of the junior brethren, Mark Calleson-Catterick did a great job presenting the working tools, whilst Malcolm Bell senior and Jim Waters gave heartfelt addresses to the master and wardens respectively. Barry then played his part in this fine ceremony with an excellent address to the brethren of the lodge.
Ceremony over and officers invested, Barry rose and brought greetings and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who he said, would have been delighted to witness such a wonderful ceremony. Congratulating Neil on attaining the chair, he personally congratulated Steve for his fine ceremony and everyone who took part. Neil responded with thanks and was proud to present a cheque for £300 to the MCF 2021 Festival This, Barry said, was much appreciated he thanked the lodge for their support of the festival.
A fine festive board followed. In response to the toast to Provincial Grand Lodge, Barry delivered his own personal congratulations to Neil, his installing master and everyone who took part. He also added several thanks, including to the chairman and group officers who had accompanied and joined him on his visit, and to acting officer Eric Bailey who had supported lodges throughout the group all year. Barry talked about the long history of the distinguished lodge, and the remarkable events that had occurred during the 232 years that the lodge had been meeting. Special praise was given, in his absence, to Malcolm Bell junior, whose upcoming appointment fills the lodge and the Wigan Group with immense pride.
Barry also passed on some important messages from the PrGM, including the importance of the MCF Festival, progression into the Royal Arch, our joint responsibility to introduce gentlemen into our fine institution, our charities and upkeep of our Masonic halls. The Master’s song was performed by Ian Dawson the new lodge secretary, accompanied by guest organist Frank Laird.
Neil is yet another light blue to take the chair in Sincerity Lodge, having risen quickly through the offices. As a policeman, his job is to teach up-and-coming young officers to drive safely and effectively in their work. He is now in the driving seat of this historic and distinguished lodge, and lists having fun in Masonry as one of his priorities in the ensuing year.