The installation meeting of Newby Bridge Lodge No 4598 saw Reg Wilkinson vacate the chair to Joe Crabtree after two years at the helm. During that time, and indeed in his previous service as a warden, Reg had proved an outstanding ambassador for Newby Bridge Lodge, being a regular visitor at all the lodges in the Furness and South Lakeland group.
The principal guest at the meeting, held in the small Masonic hall abutting the Newby Bridge Hotel, was former group chairman Rowly Saunders. He was accompanied by six acting Provincial grand officers in the persons of Phil Burrow, Phil Preston, David Cole, Steve Plevey, Stewart Aimson and Andrew Ridal. Being otherwise engaged as the director of ceremonies of the lodge, Phil Burrow did not form part of the procession with the other acting officers.
The presence of Bill Bewley, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the adjoining Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, added further lustre to the occasion. They were all able to witness Reg install Joe Crabtree as his successor in a very sincere and heartfelt ceremony.
The address to the newly installed master was undertaken by Phil Preston, that to the wardens by group chairman Peter Schofield and Rowly Saunders orated the address to the brethren of the lodge. Junior brethren Geoff Biddulph, Mark Little and Chris Alexander were called upon to deliver the working tools of the three degrees and did so to a very high standard.
Acting Provincial grand officers were also in action as Steve Plevey expounded the duties of their roles to the deacons and Phil Burrow undertook a similar task in respect of the stewards.
The focus of the giving for the lodge over the past 12 months has been the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, which given that lodge member Phil Preston is the chairman of the Festival, is not unsurprising. What however did take most by surprise, was the announcement that this relatively small lodge had in 12 months raised, through a social event and raffles, the sum of £2,050 for this worthy cause. In addition, through the use of the white envelope scheme the lodge members had contributed £804 with gift aid raising that total to £1,004, the grand total being £3,054.
As Rowly, who announced the figures remarked, “It is quite a staggering sum from such a small lodge.” It meant the lodge was entitled to be styled Vice Patrons of the Festival and group charity steward Richard Wilcock was on hand to present a certificate marking this achievement. The present custom in the group is for the first £200 donated by the lodge to be match-funded from the group charity account and Richard presented Joe with a cheque accordingly.
Following the delightful ceremony in the rather bijou lodge room, the short trip was made into the more opulent surroundings of the Newby Bridge Hotel for a very enjoyable installation banquet.