Internet Lodge is the first Lodge of which I have been Master. Being Master of this Lodge is a unique and truly wonderful experience, and one that I will never forget. Becoming Master was a long journey, and as a word of encouragement to other prospective WMs I submitted five manifestoes before I finally succeeded, and during those years I need to offer my sincere thanks to those who encouraged, supported and mentored me in particular John Dutchman-Smith, David Starbuck, Jim Hogg, Bernard Freeland and many others.
The installation meeting was much enhanced by the presence of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Christopher J. Welton, an honour both for me and for the Lodge. We have had more than our fair share of visits by senior members of the Province who obviously think highly of this unique and very special Lodge which now constitutes about twelve percent of the membership of the Province of East Lancashire. I wish to record my special thanks to the Lodge’s DC Steve Gregory for the excellent manner in which he conducted the Installation and the other two Ceremonies.
This Installation meeting was held in Manchester Bridge Street, a building in a state of disarray due to the on-going reconstruction works. On Saturday morning, rehearsals started on time at 10am in the temple, when after a few moments the lights failed, and the rehearsal was left in total darkness, the DC Steve Gregory moved us into the adjacent dining room, arranging chairs to mirror the Lodge layout in a smaller scale. Fortunately the electrical problem was fixed, and the Installation ceremony commenced on time at 12 noon, the DC had worked hard to fine tune the ceremony to minimise the time it would take with a target to start the festive board at 3pm. So it commenced like a whirlwind, with Lodge business, the eulogy to our dear Brother Junior Warden Peter Clark who passed to the Grand Lodge above in November, and then on a happier note a celebration of Satinder Lal’s 50th year in Freemasonry, eloquently presented by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Christopher J. Welton.
In 2017 I decided not to arrange the usual May overseas visit, as looking at the attendance statistics from previous years the attendance is usually amounting to around four or five percent of the Lodge Membership, but wish my successor Alan Breward every success with his well-planned and promoted 2018 Northern Ireland visit.
The summer meeting was planned to take place in Hinckley, Leicestershire, a venue that we had selected some two years earlier because of its Middle England location but due a mix up in the Masonic Hall bookings the meeting took place in the wonderful Temple in Lutterworth a few miles away. The meeting took the form of a presentation Beyond the Craft - the Other Orders in Freemasonry, by Spencer T. E. Fenn P.A.G.D.C, this talk was augmented by various Brethren dressing in the regalia of the various orders, this was particularly enjoyed by the oversea Brethren. I wish to offer my sincere thanks to Chris Malpus for organising this successful and enjoyable weekend.
The Ladies Festival weekend in Barry, South Wales, in October was very well attended and celebrated the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England, with an excellent and entertaining re-enactment of The First Meeting of UGLE, by the Monmouthshire Enactment Team.
The Ladies Festival evening was held in the Barry Masonic Hall, with an excellent dinner accompanied by live music and dancing until late, I must thank Roy Morris and his Events who made especial efforts to help the weekend go so extremely well.
Thanks in particular to the efforts of the two Assistant Secretaries who served during my year in Office Steve Gregory and latterly John Dutchman-Smith our membership grew from 431 in March 2017 to 469 in March 2018. We admitted 68 new members but sadly we had 30 deaths, resignations and exclusions.W e should however all feel proud we are the biggest Lodge in East Lancashire and one of the biggest in UGLE.
Then after a busy and interesting winter in Skopje, Macedonia it was back to Manchester to install my successor Alan Breward again with huge support from John Dutchman-Smith and Steve Gregory.
Internet Lodge is the first Lodge of which I have been Master, being Master of this Lodge is a unique and truly wonderful experience, and one that I will never forget.
Thanks again to you all.
Carl Nigel Freeland
Immediate Past Master