It was an early start for the joint convocation of Widnes chapters when over 50 members and guest attended Widnes Masonic Hall to witness the exaltation of Andy Pope into Widnes Chapter No 2819.
The evening began in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall, with Victoria Lodge 4629 holding an emergency meeting. Principal guest at the meeting was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton, who was accompanied by grand officers Paul Renton, Barry Jameson, Tony Tallon and Colin Rowling, Widnes Group Chairman Neil Pedder along with a number of Provincial grand officers.
The lodge was opened by the WM George Shields who welcomed everybody hoping that they would have a very memorable evening. In welcoming Kevin, George offered him the gavel of the lodge which he returned saying it would be best left in better hands.
A dispensation for the meeting was read by the secretary Peter Kenny. The purpose of the meeting was to reiterate elements of the third degree ceremony prior to the exaltation of Andy Pope into Widnes Chapter. The lodge was opened up to the third degree.
The brethren were called to station where they enacted the third degree ceremony with George Saba acting as candidate with Andy Pope watching while he was reminded of the ceremony of his raising. The lodge was then closed to the first degree and the lodge called off. The lodge was then called on in the Berry Suite while the McCausland Suite was prepared for the joint convocation exaltation.
After a quick change of regalia, the companions readied themselves for the joint convocation, hosted by Widnes Chapter, of the exaltation ceremony of Andy Pope.
The three principals Brain Magan first principal, Arthur Jones second principal and Tony Tallon third principal opened the Chapter and conducted the normal business.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell entered the chapter to announce that the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton stood without and demanded admission. Brian replied stating that the companions would be pleased to receive him. Paul then processed in accompanied by Second Provincial Grand Principal Barry Jameson, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Colin Rowling, and Past Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Kevin Poynton, Neil Pedder and acting Provincial Grand officers John Gibbon, John Goodrum, Ian Black and Ian Lynch.
Brian welcomed Paul to the joint convocation and offered him the sceptre and hoping that he would have an enjoyable evening. Paul returned the sceptre and thanked Brian for his warm welcome and was looking forward to the evening.
At this point in the proceedings the chapter DC Brian Boothroyd handed over to Norman Speed, Chapter of Equity No 1384 DC, who then asked the following companions to take their stations, Brian Boothroyd of Widnes Chapter as first principal, John Prince of Kingsway Chapter No 7870 as second principal, Ian Lynch of Chapter of Equity as third principal, Brian Metcalf of Widnes Chapter as principal sojourner, Mike Burwin of , Chapter of Equity as assistant sojourner, Paul Smythe Widnes Chapter scribe Nehemiah, Steve McNee of Widnes Chapter scribe Ezra and Brian Tilly of Widnes Chapter Janitor.
Andy Pope entered the lodge and was exalted into Widnes Chapter using the new enhancements. The integral part of the enhancement is the story which is told during the ceremony. It was very well executed by all who took part and it cannot help but to inspire the candidate as well as those watching. The readings throughout the ceremony were read by Neil Pedder of Chapter of Equity and John Gibbon and Frank Parle of Bold and St Paul’s Chapter No 5459.
The explanation of the signs were recited by Derek Parker of Bold and St Paul’s Chapter in a faultless manner. The team principals and the chapter principals congratulated Andy in becoming a companion of Widnes Chapter. Team DC Norman Speed than asked the three principals and officers to resume their rightful places.
Brain Magan then had a pleasant duty to perform by presenting a cheque to Paul on behalf have the chapter for £300 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Brian Boothroyd, then presented a cheque for £200 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity as part of the money raised by sponsorship for completing 300 scuba dives in 2017 as his personal contribution to the Tercentenary Celebrations. Paul thanked Brian and companions for their generous contribution. He also thank Brian and showed his amazement that had been able to completed 300 dives during 2017
Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Malcolm Bell formed a procession while the principal guests retired and the chapter was then closed in due form. Following the convocation, the companions retired to Alan Locke Suite where they enjoyed an excellent three course meal.
Neil Pedder proposed the toast to the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton, who responded to his health by first congratulating everybody who took part in what was a very special exaltation. Paul then asked John Gibbon to present Andy with a chapter information pack. Paul continued by giving a brief history of the Royal Arch, particularly for Andy’s benefit, and hoped it would be of some interest to the companions.
Brian Boothroyd, who proposed Andy into Widnes Chapter, proposed to toast to Andy saying that he had made a great contribution to his lodge and was sure he would bring the same enthusiasm to Widnes Chapter and looked forward to being part of his advancement in the chapter.
Andy replied by saying that he had felt very privileged to be exalted in what was a most enjoyable evening for him. He also expressed his appreciation for the excellent way the various chapter companions who took part in the ceremony had performed their roles.
A raffle raised the princely sum of £160 with the first prize being won, to the amusement of the companions, by the principal guest, Paul. The janitor Brain Tilley brought evening came to a close, after which the companions headed home knowing they had experienced an exceptional convocation.