Peter is new WM of Bispham with Norbreck Mark Lodge
Friday 13th February 2015
Peter Maxwell became the newest master of Bispham with Norbreck Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 866 at a very well attended installation meeting held at Blackpool’s Adelaide Street Masonic Hall. Representing the Provincial Grand Master at the annual ceremony was Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Stephen Walls who was accompanied by 14 grand officers as well as a great number of Provincial officers and visitors.
Peter Maxwell (left) is presented with the gavel by Frank Kennedy
Such is the popularity and membership of the lodge, now in its 87th year, no less than 10 Mark Master Masons were appointed by Peter as stewards.
As a culmination of a busy year as WM, Frank Kennedy, after dispensing with the early items of business on the agenda - which included a successful ballot for yet another new member, welcomed Stephen and his distinguished colleagues to the lodge.
High five – from left are: Masters Peter Green, Frank Kennedy, Peter Maxwell, Tony Blundell and Brian Dicks.
Following salutations to the Grand and Provincial officers the installation ceremony got underway. Giles Berkley presented Peter to Frank as the installing master. Though opening night nerves played their part at times, some gentle prompting soon got Frank into the swing of his role which he performed with great sincerity and good humour both throughout the ceremony and during the rest of the evening.
Frank was assisted in his task by colleagues from other Mark lodges. Tony Blundell, John Whitley and Steve Clarke from Cleveleys Mark Lodge who acted as ISW, IJW and IIG respectively.
John Forster, Peter Maxwell and Stephen Walls try out new handshake.
Following the completion of the inner workings the working tools were superbly presented by John Chapman who was followed by Bill Eardley who presented a special IPM’s jewel - which Bill explained had been gifted to the lodge by past member W Bro H Bentley in 1963 on condition it be passed to every IPM in turn at installation. Brian Gregson presented the Quintuple Keystone Jewel and Charity Jewel to the new WM.
The investiture and appointment of officers was made even more special thanks to the talents of organist Shaun Haynes who entertained his audience with musical snippets as each officer received his collar. Among others, secretary Andrew Dickson was accompanied by the tune ‘I’m going to sit right down and write myself a letter’ almoner Peter Neville by the Beatle’s hit ‘Help’ charity steward Martin Haines by ‘Robin Hood’ and ADC Giles Berkley was musically accused of doing things ‘My way’.
John Forster, Frank Kennedy, Peter Maxwell and Stephen Walls at Bispham with Norbreck Lodge.
Following the appointment of the new lodge officers the address to the WM was given by Melvyn Cross, the wardens were addressed by Giles Berkley and the overseers by John Powell; all of which were done faultlessly and according to ancient tradition.
Stephen Walls gave the time honoured address to the brethren and following Frank Kennedy’s announcement to his successor that the installation ceremony was at an end, Stephen took his cue to bring the congratulations and good wishes of the PrGM Peter Connolly. After congratulating Peter on attaining the chair he complimented Frank on the great integrity with which he had installed his successor and wished Bispham with Norbreck Lodge a happy and enjoyable year.
Peter thanked Stephen for his good wishes and congratulations and presented him with a cheque for £500 for West Lancashire Mark Charity, for which generous gift Stephen thanked Peter and the lodge on behalf of the eventual recipients. Stephen caused some laughter by announcing that he was going to save the beneficiaries of the cheque some time, and himself the price of a stamp, by presenting it directly to Provincial Grand Charity Steward Howard Emmett who was sitting nearby.
Frank Kennedy (right) proposes the toast to new WM Peter Maxwell.
At the installation banquet which followed, and at which the delights of the homemade lemon meringue pie dessert came in for special mention, Stephen responded to the toast to the grand officers saying how enjoyable the whole day had been. He said that the buzz of conversation which he heard resounding around at festive board showed that everyone else was similarly enjoying their day.
He singled out John Chapman for praise for his presentation of the working tools and also congratulated every brother who had had a part to play in the day.
He told Peter that the busy year he had ahead of him would seem to pass in the blink of eye; that not only did the new WM have a candidate to advance but that the Blackpool and District Association of Mark Lodges 45th Annual Festival is to be hosted by Bispham with Norbreck Lodge on Friday 24th April at Adelaide Street.
Bill Eardley (right) performs the master’s song for Peter Maxwell.
Stephen suggested that it was down to the guiles of Terry Hudson that so many Master Masons chose Bispham with Norbreck as THE Mark lodge to join.
He congratulated the charitable work of the lodge which had seen not only a generous amount donated to West Lancashire Mark Charity but also at the installation itself the lodge charity steward had “picked a pocket or two” to raise a further £348 for good causes.
Stephen continued by commending the work of John Forster the PrGM’s Special Representative for over four years of hard work looking after the seven Mark and three RAM lodges which meet on the Fylde. He also congratulated Tony Cross on his forthcoming promotion to PrGJW and remarked that Bispham with Norbreck lodge had produced three Provincial Wardens over a 10 year period.
Stephen Walls being saved a late night trip to Tesco by Peter Maxwell with a gift for Mrs W.
Stephen made particular mention that the PrGM Peter Connolly was stepping down, as, he said, he often mentioned after eight years and four months in office. He advised that tickets were becoming scarce for the special dinner to celebrate the PrGM’s dedication to, and work on behalf of Mark Masonry on March 6, and brethren should not delay in booking places at Leyland.  John Forster was in the process of arranging a coach to take brethren to the event Stephen advised. He also gave details about Provincial Grand Lodge which would take place in the afternoon of 6 May at Southport Floral Hall following Keith Beardmore’s investiture as PrGM on the same morning.
As the evening progressed Frank Kennedy made a hilarious toast to his successor to which Peter responded in like manner. Peter and his wardens also received a rendition of the master’s song from Bill Eardley in his own inimitable style.
Thanking Stephen for attending Peter presented Stephen with a floral arrangement in gratitude to Stephen’s wife for allowing him to make the trip to Bispham with Norbreck Lodge.
Report and photographs courtesy of Bob Boal