What a wonderful evening was the verdict on the 151st installation meeting of Lodge of Fidelity No 1256. “What a wonderful year” would be the comment, as members and regular visitors looked back on 12 months with Geoff Fogden at the helm.
The beginning of the next 50 years was heralded by the presence of Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and a retinue of distinguished brethren, which included Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson, both Provincial Grand Wardens and many other grand and Provincial grand officers.
Bringing his year in office to a close, Geoff Fogden was able to look back on a year in which he had presided over the 150th anniversary celebrations of the lodge, the demonstration of all three degrees ceremonies with tracing board explanations and a lecture on the lodge’s inheritance by Roger Fish. On the social side there was a glorious (though tiring) day which had started with a lodge meeting in the morning followed by brunch, then a grand ball in the evening with Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and his wife Sue as principal guests. The ball was even given a two-page spread in the Blackpool Gazette a rare honour indeed.
Other social events included a Burns night supper at Lytham Green Drive Golf Club and a tour of the historic Salmesbury Hall, followed by afternoon tea served in the hall’s dining room. Other social events that Geoff has attended include another Burns night, hosted by Landmark Lodge No 7273, a curry night hosted by Ansdell Lodge No 3607, a ladies evening hosted by Tithebarn Lodge No 8446, a fining dining event hosted by Baines Lodge No 7844 and a whisky tasting evening hosted by Clifton Lodge No 703.
Geoff also found time to visit many of the local lodges, despite having a busy work schedule in which he is a Non-Executive Director of a Housebuilding Company, a member of the Hornbies Trust, an independent judge for the NHBC ‘Pride in the Job Awards’ scheme for both the regional and supreme awards. He even finds some spare time to play golf.
The cheques presented to Tony Harrison at the end of the installation ceremony totalled £2,658 and a further £890 had been donated to the MCF 2021 Festival via the white envelope scheme. Tony thanked the lodge for what he described as a fantastic sum of money. A further sum of £528 was collected on the night and will be distributed to various charitable causes on a future occasion.
John is no stranger to the master’s chair, having been master of Saint Andrew’s Lodge No 6073 in 1992 and 2001. Also, master of Knott End Lodge No 8674 in 2008 and 2014. John was also first principal of Fleetwood Chapter No 3711 in 2015. He is a retired avionics system engineer, who worked for BAE Systems.
Over 50 members and guests sat down to a fine meal after the meeting, with everything kept in order by Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell and his deputy Jason Dell. The customary toasts were given, with that to the grand officers receiving a response by David Randerson. He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master, who responded on his own behalf, then that to the Provincial grand officers received an entertaining response from the Provincial Junior Grand Warden Paul Storrar. The toast to the master, proposed by Geoff Fogden, was followed by the traditional master’s song which was performed by Lewis Johns, accompanied on the piano by Malcolm Burrill.
Tony Harrison described the whole event as a wonderful evening and everyone agreed with that sentiment. After an amazing occasion which included a fine ceremony of installation, very generous donations to several charitable causes, particularly the MCF 2021 Festival, and a fine banquet, the whole event was brought to a close by Raymond Baguley, who proposed the tyler’s toast.