When Andrew Goodacre of the Lodge of Triumph No 1061 signed up to join St Anne’s Chapter No 2457, he little expected to be at the centre of excitement at a Provincial team visit. Such visits are rare events, involving the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison visiting a chapter in the company of as many Provincial grand officers as can be mustered for the occasion.
On the occasion of the visit under review, the Grand Superintendent was accompanied by the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton and Past Deputy Grand Superintendent Steven Reid.
Joining them were the Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals Barry Jameson and Ian Higham, supported by Past Second Provincial Grand Principal Terry Hudson, the local Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Randerson, who is responsible for the Fylde area, and his colleague of the same rank Tony Hall, who covers the Chorley, Leyland, Ormskirk and Southport Groups. In support of them were Provincial Grand Scribes Ezra and Nehemiah, Peter Taylor and David Barr.
It was a particularly important evening for David Barr, as he is Scribe Ezra for St Anne’s Chapter. The position of Scribe Ezra refers to the secretary of a chapter at all levels of the organisation. The list of team members further included the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Paul Hesketh along with his deputy David Thomas and no less than 14 other Provincial grand officers
However, back to the business of the chapter for this meeting. The three principals of the chapter were Brian Horrocks, Philip Watson and John Bainbridge, who shared their responsibilities with confidence and precision and the sojourners Clive Tandy and Chris Titley, were ably assisted in their work by director of ceremonies, Ian Park, who later gave an excellent explanation of the signs.
The exaltation was carried out in the revised and enhanced version of the ceremony, with much feeling by all concerned to the total satisfaction of the companions assembled. In all there were 64 companions of all ranks present who, after the business of the meeting was concluded, sat down to a sumptuous feast prepared by Lee Munro and his Square and Compass catering team.
At the end of the meal Peter Taylor came even closer to receiving the promised P45 mentioned in a previous story by presenting Tony Harrison with a framed picture of the Grand Superintendent’s wife Maureen enthroned in his Royal Arch chair before the Provincial meeting. This caused much mirth amongst those present, particularly those who had attended the Provincial meeting and were in on the joke!
During the after dinner toasts, David Randerson responded to the toast to the grand officers. He happily announced that the grand officers were proud to witness such an excellent ceremony, knowing that much hard work had gone into achieving such a polished performance of the enhanced Royal Arch ceremony. David particularly mentioned Ian Park who was part of the original ‘enhanced ceremony team’ and who had done so much work in promoting the adoption of many improvements in the exaltation ceremony. He concluded by praising the St Anne’s team for a great job under Ian’s guidance. David then continued with an amusing introduction to a toast to the Grand Superintendent and invited him to respond.
Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison was pleased to do so and began by thanking David for his hilarious introduction. Tony continued by saying what a wonderful evening he had enjoyed, adding that it was nice to go to a chapter and have a relaxing evening, even though it may not have been relaxing for those taking part. He praised St Anne’s Chapter for performing an excellent ceremony, which he hoped had been very special for Andrew.
Tony said that it was great to see so many acting officers from all over the Province. He thanked Ian Ward for his invite into the group and thanked Ian and his group officers for the vital work that they put into the running of the group and the Province of West Lancashire. He particularly praised Dave Barr for the work he did as secretary of the South Fylde Group and for accepting the office of Provincial Scribe Nehemiah, adding that he had done very well in his first few weeks in the job – a comment which caused much hilarity. Tony hoped that Dave would have a great year in his new office.
Tony felt sure that everyone had enjoyed the evening, which showed the importance of the Royal Arch. He informed the audience that less than half the members of the Craft are chapter members and hoped that all present would act as membership officers and encourage Craft members to join. He assured everyone that the work done in West Lancashire was greatly admired by the high rulers in London and urged the companions to show grand chapter what we can do with regard to recruitment.
He concluded by urging patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, saying that £6 per month gets membership, the price of a coffee and a cake; most of all though he wanted everyone to enjoy their Freemasonry which, from what he had seen during the meeting, it was plain to see that they did.
Following this, a toast to Provincial grand officers was proposed by John Bainbridge to which Dave Barr gave a response. Dave said that it was a pleasure and an honour to respond to the toast in his own chapter. He thanked Bill Hembrow for standing in as Scribe Ezra for the meeting. He echoed the sentiments of the Grand Superintendent by urging all to promote the chapter to brothers not already members of this particular order. He assured everyone that he and the other Provincial grand officers had enjoyed a very enjoyable evening and that they all hoped that Andrew Goodacre would enjoy membership of the chapter. Dave then proposed Andrew’s health with a short resume of his early life in Lincolnshire, joining Freemasonry in Harrogate, moving to the Fylde area, joining Triumph Lodge No 1061 and being proposed for St Anne’s Chapter following attendance at a ‘brethren to dine’ meeting.
In his response, Andrew thanked Dave for the opportunity to join the chapter. He continued by thanking the officers for guiding him around during the ceremony and the three principals for their hard work in preparing for the ceremony. He concluded by saying that he looks forward to his future in Royal Arch chapter and would do all he could to help out as best he can. The evening was closed by the final toast of the evening, delivered by the Provincial Grand Janitor Gordon Ivett.