Garston Group Matters
Most of you will already have heard that Ken Bradley resigned as Group Vice Chairman towards the end of last season. I was very disappointed he made that decision and despite my attempts to get him to change his mind he decided that the time was right for him to finish.
I enjoyed working with Ken for many years, I thank him for his contribution and I wish him all the best for the future.
On a happier note, the Provincial Grand Master appointed John Murphy, who was previously the Group Secretary, to replace Ken as our Vice Chairman.
The Provincial Grand Master also approved my recommendation for the replacement of John as Group Secretary and I have appointed David Atkinson and both are now in office.
I look forward to working with both of them and wish them every success in their new group roles.
Are there any bowlers out there?
At the moment the group is without a bowls representative and if anyone is interested I would like to hear from you.
The office is not a difficult one and most of the activity is during the spring and into the summer season.
The bowls representative is required to submit a written report to the group meeting which is held twice yearly. He is also encouraged to attend the group meetings in order to present his report and answer any questions.
Over the years the West Lancashire bowling fraternity have donated considerable amounts to the charities and with the help of bowling representatives I hope this will continue.
If you are interested in helping the group please contact me as soon as possible.
For some time now I have been considering appointing a Group Social Secretary to plan and assist in the running of group social functions.
Over recent years, with the group numbers diminishing, there have been less functions and accordingly we have been donating less to our group nominated charities.
With the Tercentenary Ball being organised for 2017 and the need to organise other local events I feel a small committee headed by a Group Social Secretary would be of great benefit to the group.
I am not looking to organise social functions every week but it would be nice to think that once or twice a year we could have a get-together for dinner or other social function and perhaps we could also, now that we have a new caterer, have some more frequent Sunday lunch gatherings.
Again, anyone interested should contact me as soon as possible to enable us to get things off the ground.
As usual the summer seems to have gone nowhere and as I write this the first meetings of the 2016 / 2017 season are beginning. The next four or five years are really important to both the Province, our Group and Freemasonry in England, in general.
Next year, as you already are aware, sees the 300th anniversary of our order in England and major celebrations are planned throughout the Country.
The Province of West Lancashire is organising two main functions.
The first is a service at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on Sunday 5 March 2017. The second is a Provincial Dinner to be held on 24 November 2017.
The Garston Group is organising a Grand Ball to be held on 15 September 2017 at Anfield Stadium. There are a lot more details about this below.
I hope this will be a complete success as there is a lot of work going into it. Please do your best to give this function your support. You will be receiving a lot more information about this in the near future.
As I have mentioned above, the function at Liverpool Football Ground will take place on 15 September 2017.
Work is already underway and a Sub-Committee has been formed, under the chairmanship of the Group Vice Chairman, John Murphy, to make the necessary arrangements.
John will be writing to all Lodges and Chapters, very soon, giving details of what he requires. I have already requested Secretaries and Scribes E to let me have a name from their lodges and chapters of a member who will act as a liaison officer between them and the Sub Committee. If a nominees name is not received from the Secretary and or Scribe, I’m afraid, the task will have to land in their lap.
The cost of the event reflects the quality of the venue and cuisine as well as the cost to hire the facility. However it will be in the new function suite and the football club have given us a really good discount.
The evening will start fairly early and there will be a reception followed by tours of the museum (which will include the trophy room) and then dinner. The catering is magnificent and I’m sure you will not be disappointed.
After dinner there will be dancing till 1.00am and the theme will be Tamla Motown.
The new function suite is on the top level of the stadium’s magnificent new main stand and it offers panoramic views over the whole of our wonderful city.
The Group Treasurer has agreed to accept payments on a monthly basis to make the pain a little easier to bear.
It is anticipated that the tickets will be in the region of £50.00 each (which pails into insignificance when compared to the subsidised event which is to be held at Freemasons Hall in London at a cost of in excess of £150.00 per person plus travel and accommodation).
Unfortunately, at the end of last season, our caterer, Peter Barker, resigned leaving us to find a replacement over the summer. This wasn’t an easy task but with the help of some of our members the directors of the hall have managed to appoint Tony Ackroyd, who is a professional chef, to replace Peter.
The good news is that he will provide similar menus to our previous caterer and the price will be the same.
The hall directors have agreed a 50p increase from 1 January 2017.
The Secretaries and Scribes E were invited to meet Tony, recently, so they have all the necessary details.
If you are unhappy with anything about the service or the food it is imperative that you bring it to the attention of the caterer on the evening and not leave it for days and eventually complain to Mal Yates.
Please give Tony a chance to settle in though as he is not (yet) a freemason and is not sure what you require.
The directors of the hall have been very busy during our summer break and you will notice many improvements when you next attend. The lounge has been redecorated and they have purchased a new television.
The flooring throughout the kitchen and bar areas has been replaced with a non-slip surface and there has been a degree of re-tiling in the kitchen.
One of the biggest changes is in the Temple and, as a result of a number of complaints over the past few years, the cinema seating has been removed. Many members really liked the old seating but there were complaints that some people had caught their clothes on the seats and damage had occurred. The directors considered the best way forward was to remove the seating completely and replace it with benches.
The benches have now been installed in a red the velour and the Temple looks really good. Only one row around the room has been installed which will accommodate most Masonic meetings but there is ample space to put an extra row of chairs in front of the benches should they be required.
My thanks go to all the directors who have worked so hard during the summer to ensure our continued comfort.
The properties under construction, opposite the hall, are due to be completed and occupied very soon. This will undoubtedly cause some problems with our parking arrangements and I urge you to be careful that you don’t park across anybody’s drive in the houses opposite or anywhere else in Island Road South.
As you are all aware some time ago I negotiated permission to use the Treatment Centre car park in Church Road for our members. I don’t think this facility has been very well used but some of our members have parked there when the road outside the hall has been congested.
We are permitted to park in the Treatment Centre Car Park after 4.30 p.m. until 10.45p.m. and as far as I am aware this permission has not been rescinded. If you decide to use this facility please ensure that you park as far away from the building as possible so as not to inconvenience patients.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE GATES ARE LOCKED AT 11.00pm AT THE LATEST.
There is no reason why you can’t park in Church Road itself or any of the other neighbouring roads but again please have regard for the residents.
On many occasions previously I have mentioned lodges whose numbers are becoming dangerously low. Aigburth Lodge is one in particular although it is not unique.
They have reduced their number of meetings to five a year but because of illness etc they are now really struggling.
Unfortunately, their previous secretary, Alan Dykes, has been forced to move house and live nearer his son because of health difficulties and one or two of their regular attenders are also suffering from ill health.
They are due to celebrate the Lodge Centenary in 2020 and it would be a disaster if they were forced to close after 96 years of their existence.
If any of you, or your friends, would consider joining them or even attending as a regular visitor it may help to preserve this fine lodge.
Garston Lodge of Installed Masters
I have mentioned previously that Garston Lodge of Installed Masters will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in December.
This lodge is the only consecrated Lodge of Installed Masters in the area and, like many other lodges, it has suffered from diminishing numbers over the past 25 years.
Numbers are still fairly healthy but there is nothing better than seeing a lodge room full whenever there is a meeting.
The lodge only meets four times a year and fees are, accordingly, not excessive. Indeed, if you are already a member of another Lodge in West Lancashire fees are even less as your Provincial fee for this lodge would be waived.
As a member of this lodge I would be delighted to see an influx of Installed Masters either joining or attending this lodge as visitors. You don’t have to be a Past Master, you can join if you are still Worshipful Master.
We have an installation in May, a Ladies to Dine in December and at the other two meetings we normally arrange to have a lecture or something else of interest.
Please think about coming along, particularly to their 25th anniversary in December, and preferably as a joining member very soon.
Provincial Grand Lodge and Chapter Meetings
Over the past eighteen months, the Winter Gardens have been providing their own catering for the many large functions that take place on a weekly basis, and there have been excellent reviews regarding the quality of the food they serve.
Therefore, the Provincial Grand Master has decided that the banquet following the forthcoming meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge will be held at the Winter Gardens.
Dining will be in the Empress Ballroom, which is where the previous meetings have been held and the meeting itself will take place in the Opera House.
In order for the Province to secure a booking for both the Empress Ballroom and the Opera House, the original date of the 15 May has had to be brought forward to Wednesday 10 MAY 2017.
This date may clash with diaries, but this change will ensure we are all under one roof and will remove the logistical problems of large numbers of brethren moving to the Hilton Hotel.
Just to confirm that the date of the next Provincial Grand Chapter meeting, is Thursday, 12 October 2017 at the Southport Conference Centre.
Have an enjoyable season.