The meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge this year was, as ever, a magnificent and memorable event. The new venue of the Opera House at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool lent itself perfectly to this colourful spectacle, with the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison literally taking centre stage together with his principal officers.
The procession into the theatre of grand and Provincial grand officers from West Lancashire and other Provinces was a visual feast and masterpiece of choreography much admired by all who attended. Once the very large contingent of visiting dignitaries were seated, Tony opened Provincial Grand Lodge and asked the brethren to stand in silence as a mark of respect for ‘those brethren who had departed this mortal life and been called to higher service’ since the last meeting.
He then proceeded to introduce and welcome a very large contingent of guests from other Provinces, together with the leaders of other Masonic Orders who were attending. At the conclusion of which, they were applauded in a truly traditional West Lancashire manner. Following the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, Tony addressed and reappointed his Deputy and Assistants. Tony then proceeded to invest David John Walmsley as his newest Assistant Provincial Grand Master, with responsibility for the Eccles and District and South Eastern Groups.
Tony then moved on to announce the launch of the West Lancashire 2021 Festival in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Tony began his introduction by saying: “Brethren, today is a great day for the Province of West Lancashire and I am so proud to be here as your Provincial Grand Master and to launch this Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Before doing so however, I once again welcome to our meeting James Newman, the Deputy President of the MCF and Les Hutchinson, the Chief Operating Officer will now give us all a brief insight into the new Masonic Charitable Foundation.”
James and Les then gave extensive details regarding both the conceptualisation and creation of the MCF and illustrated its mission and operation by giving details of case studies, highlighting how the work of the charity had such a positive impact on not just Freemasons and their dependents but also the whole community.
At the conclusion of their address, Tony continued, by saying:
I am delighted that this Province was the first to be asked to undertake a Festival for the MCF. We have a fine heritage of giving and supporting charitable causes both Masonic and within the community and for those who find themselves in need. After all, we never know when we may need that assistance and support for ourselves or our families and our dependants.
The PrGM asked that during the short four years of this Festival that the Brethren give their fullest support to the West Lancashire 2021 MCF Festival by prioritising the Festival when giving any donations personally, through their groups, lodges and chapters. He urged them to fully utilise the relief chest, white envelopes, within lodge and chapter and include gift aid where appropriate. He also encouraged groups, lodges and chapters to raise funds for the Festival through organising functions and events and to aim to become, where possible, patrons of it.
Tony continued: “Brethren, are you aware that the Province of West Lancashire receives over £1,000,000 in support of our brethren, their families and dependants every year from MCF? Therefore, there are over one million very good reasons why you should pledge your assistance to the Festival.”
Tony concluded by announcing that over £1,000.000 had already been raised for the Festival and he asked that Brethren give their full support to it as they will never know when or if they may need support themselves.