On the 13th of December, more than 60 Freemasons and guests from the Province of East Lancashire, Great Britain, and beyond gathered at Manchester Hall for a special occasion. Among the distinguished attendees was the Provincial Grand Master of the Isle of Man, Martin Blackburn, who had come for the meeting after attending the United Grand Lodge’s quarterly communication earlier that afternoon. Barrie Mansell, the Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain, Paul’s father, was also present, with a good number of members from overseas. Fulfilling a promise made to return for Paul’s installation as Worshipful Master. The lodge room was a buzz with so many in attendance, but the Director of Ceremonies had everyone in their seats and ready to start at the allotted time.
Worshipful Master Peter Torley formally opened the lodge and extended a warm welcome to Mark Davis, the representative of the Provincial Grand Master and all the distinguished brethren. Peter took the opportunity to present Mark with a cheque for 3000 pounds in support of the East Lancashire 2026 Festival.
As the ceremony progressed, a significant moment occurred when it was time to form a board of Installed Masters. Over half of the members present, those below the rank of an Installed Master respectfully retired from the lodge room. The installing officers conducted an exemplary ceremony when it was time for the proclamations, seeing a line of nearly 30 light blues, something not seen in many lodges for a good number of years, for those who know the Fellow Craft honours did not disappoint.
Distinguished brethren expertly delivered all the addresses, with the Worshipful Master’s father having the honour of delivering the address to his son. It is a moment we are sure will be a memory they will both cherish. The working tools were eloquently presented by light blues, reflecting a promising future for Freemasonry in Manchester with the dedication and passion of the newer brethren.
With the newly appointed Worshipful Master and his officers taking control of the lodge, the ceremony concluded. The Festive Board, attended by all, featured a delightful meal, toasts, including heartfelt responses, and the master’s song, a first for some newer brethren who quickly joined in the customary manner. The raffle and collection raised an over 1000 pounds for charitable causes.
A recurring theme throughout the evening was the optimism for the future. Best of luck to Paul in his year as Worshipful Master and the many more to come in his Masonic journey.