Outside it was cold and wet, but there was genuine warmth inside at the installation meeting of Gilbert Greenall Chapter No 1250. John Walkey was to be installed into the first principal’s chair, attended by over 40 members and guests. The convocation was opened expertly by John Knowles, the installing first principal, with his companions John Walkey and Chris Todd. All usual administration was undertaken.
The chapter was honoured by the presence of Barry Jameson Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals’, as the main guest and representative of Provincial Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Accompanying him, were companions of high and acting rank, Dave Thomas, Peter Blease, Andy Barton (group chairman) and Chris Gleave (group vice-chairman). These were admitted in true ceremonial style.
The three principals welcomed Barry and all officers present, wishing them all a most enjoyable evening. Barry responded with heartfelt greetings. In a very professional ceremony, John Walkey, Ian White and Chris Todd were presented for installation into their respective chairs. John Walkey was then installed as first principal, Ian White was installed as second principal and Chris Todd as third principal, in true traditional form. Chris Gleave DC and Keith Young ADC expertly and unobtrusively organised the convocation.
The robe address to the first principal was given by John Knowles, the second address by Mike Hamilton and the third address by Jim Walker. John then invested his officers for the ensuing year. Barry provided the address to the three principals and Chris gave the address to the companions.
Following an exemplary ceremony, Barry, on behalf of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, congratulated the three principals on being installed into their chairs in the chapter and wished them good health and happiness for an enjoyable year in office. John presented Barry with cheques from the charity account of £300 to the MCF 2021 Festival and £300 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. From the benevolent account, there was a cheque of £200 to Warrington Masonic Hall. Barry thanked John for the most generous donations, saying it was a credit to all the members who had generated such a magnificent amount for charity.
In addition to the installation ceremony, Barry presented David Rogers with his grand chapter certificate, emphasising how it pictorially represented the indissolvable link between craft and chapter.
Following the ceremony, everyone enjoyed an excellent festive board of Lancashire tart, pork chops with stuffed, baked apples and fruit salad. The collection plate in convocation raised £69 and a raffle was held at the festive board which generated a magnificent sum of £175 for charity.
After the festive board, Barry passed on the apologies of Ian Higham, the third Provincial grand principal, who should have been present but whose wife was taken poorly that morning and he had to attend to her. In an entertaining, humorous speech, Barry highlighted the charitable commitments of the next few years. He also expressed his support for the new, enhanced exaltation ceremony that was being gradually introduced across the Province.
John, as new first principal, thanked all the companions for their support and emphasised that the Royal Arch Chapter was essential for all craft Masons to further their Masonic journey.
Perhaps the last word should go to Steve Holdcroft PrGStwd, who was on his first outing as an acting officer and despite the poor start in that role when he accidentally stole Andy Barton’s stuffed apple in mistake for a tomato, he recovered magnificently by the warmth of his greeting and his sincere wish to receive other invitations to attend at Gilbert Greenall.
Story by Eric Miller.