With Stanley Oldfield, Third Provincial Grand Principal standing without and a packed chapter within, the scene was well set for a fine installation meeting. To add that extra dimension Marcus Hill was preparing to see his son Antony installed into the first principal’s chair at Fidelity Chapter No 1256.
The chapter business having been adroitly completed, Neil MacSymons, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies was admitted and he announced the imminent arrival of the principal guest Stanley Oldfield who then entered the chapter supported by Terry Hudson Past Second Provincial Grand Principal and grand officers Keith Jackson, Stuart Thornber, and Geoff Pritchard. Accompanying the grand officers were Ian Ward Chairman of the South Fylde Group, acting Provincial officers Stewart Blagg, Frank Kennedy, and David Barr, and several other distinguished companions. Having welcomed the principal guest and ensured that he and his entourage had been comfortably seated, the first principal Phillip Cunningham offered the sceptre to Stanley Oldfield who briefly held it while thanking the companions for their warm welcome but returned it to Phillip. Then, with the scribes agreeing to remain in post, the ceremony began.
Barry Tipler, Nigel Walker, and Antony Hill, the third, second and first incoming principals respectively, were presented by Martin Dennison and Peter Walker. After each had taken their obligation they were seated to the side. Senior companions Stuart Sager and Ray Boardman assumed the second and third principals chairs for the purpose of installation. The three new principals were then robed and placed in their chairs during their respective inner workings. The robe addresses were nicely delivered by Martin Dennison, Eric Warburton and Ken Oxley. The jewel of past first principal was presented by Antony Hill with its significance excellently explained by Geoff Roper.
The three addresses were finely concluded by Stanley Oldfield. He then brought the congratulations of Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison to the new principals and their newly invested officers. He also commended Philip Cunningham and his installation team for a fine ceremony.
Two cheques were then presented, each for separate sums of £250 to the West Lancashire Freemason’s Charity and Blue Skies Hospital Support Fund. During the closing responses Stuart Thornber called on the companions to go out and encourage our young brothers in the craft to join this fine degree. Stewart Blagg congratulated the principals and officers for a fine ceremony and Dr Ramesh thanked the chapter for all the invitations to the visitors. The first principal thanked all speakers for their kind words and all of the visitors for their support. The chapter was then closed and all retired to the festive board.
An extremely satisfying meeting was followed by an equally enjoyable meal of ham hock terrine, supreme of chicken, sticky toffee pudding, with coffee and mints to finish. Speaking in response to the grand officers’ toast, Stanley Oldfield again complimented the chapter members on a fine ceremony. He also congratulated Stuart Thornber on his promotion in Royal Arch, as well as Ian Ward and Neil MacSymons on their elevation to grand rank in the craft. He also gave a recent history of charitable giving in the Province both during and between specific festivals. He concluded by encouraging members to carry the order forward with new initiatives and forward planning.
Stewart Blagg responding on behalf of the Provincial officers complimented the chapter members for the great amount of work they had done to ensure the success of the meeting, which had been superbly choreographed by the director of ceremonies and his assistant, adding that these aspects had made this a great experience for him.