The regular meeting of Monton Progress Lodge No 6361 held at Elm Bank Masonic Hall was far from regular as it was an evening of celebration and emotion for the brethren and visitors alike.
The business of the meeting was three fold, that of a passing of Christian Paul Clayton to the second degree and two presentations, welcoming the new to remembering past brethren. The lodge were honoured to welcome APrGM David Winder, Phil Preston Provincial Grand Charity Steward, APrGM Dave Walmsley, Denis Tierney regional charity steward, Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Boyd and group vice chairman Patrick Walsh.
The meeting was opened by WM Andy Lane who performed an excellent ceremony, assisted by his officers, in passing Christian Paul Clayton. WM Andy then had a pleasant duty to perform by presenting a donation to the Masonic Charitable Foundation West Lancashire 2021 Festival in the sum of £10,000. The cheque was donated by WBro David Walton PJGD who sadly passed away on 8 June 2017.
Festival Vice President David Winder and Festival Chairman Phil Preston were delighted to receive this substantial donation to the MCF 2021 Festival. APGM David Winder responded by thanking the lodge for this most generous donation in memory of David Walton and presented Andy with a certificate which marks the lodge Grand Patrons status of the MCF 2021 Festival.
David Winder also presented a certificate to the Eccles and District Group becoming Vice Patrons of the MCF 2021 Festival which Stuart Boyd accepted on behalf of the group.
At this juncture David Winder approached the lectern to give a short presentation. He spoke about the history of David Walton and referred to his remarkable career in Masonry extending over 60 years and achieving the rank of PJGD. There are few who have served this Province as a Warden of the Province likewise very few have been Scribe Nehemiah of the Province. David Walton served in both offices, which is an outstanding achievement. David said that he was a remarkable man in many ways, as a good citizen, a good husband, parent and grandparent, in fact in every way, a contributor to society as a whole and an ambassador to Freemasonry. He paid tribute to David’s wife, Suzanne, who had cared for David particularly during his later years and had been married for over 65 years.
David continued to summarise the importance of receiving such a substantial donation and what the money can achieve. He said that there is a Masonic festival every 11 years normally for minimum of five years to 10 years in duration. This time the festival is for a period of four years and was launched on 10 May 2017 at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in Blackpool terminating in 2021. The Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 which brings together and overarches the four main Masonic charities of the Grand Charity, Samaritan Fund, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
He referred to statistics that are quite remarkable in respect of funds raised and donated. He said that there has been over £1,000,000 donated to the Province of West Lancashire by MCF every year since 2010 totalling £8,200,000 for our members, widows and dependants alone in that period.
David said that this is the first time that any Province has been authorised to use their Provincial coat of arms as the focus of the Festival Jewel which took 12 months to get approval. He said that there are many Freemasons who have not yet purchased a jewel and that you can have one for as little as 25 pence per day. He invited all to if at all possible become Stewards of the Festival and to wear their stewards jewel with pride in the knowledge that they would be helping to make that difference to those in need.
David concluded by thanking the brethren for their kind donations with particular homage to David Walton in the knowledge that it will be benefited by those who are in need. He asked that the precis eulogy and comments be appended to the minutes as a lasting memoriam to David Walton.
The brethren then retired to enjoy a wonderful festive board and share memories of David.