Baldwin Chapter No 1398 companions normally hold their installation meeting at Dalton-in-Furness Masonic Hall. But with the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison attending the meeting this year however it was felt prudent to move the ceremony and banquet to the larger Barrow-in-Furness Masonic Hall. This proved a good move as Dalton-in-Furness would not have coped with the in excess of 90 companions who attended on the day.
Retiring first principal Brian Fallows installed his successor David Grainger with some aplomb. As a Past Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, David had obviously been installed as first principal on a previous occasion. This had been as a member of Dalton-in-Furness Chapter No 6828, which is the daughter chapter of Baldwin.
Although a very experienced member of the Royal Arch, Brian would inevitably have felt a little pressure with not only Tony, but also Paul Renton and Barry Jameson, who are both Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, being present. There were several other grand officers including Past Provincial Second Grand Principal Chris Band, Peter Mason the Deputy Grand Superintendent of Cumberland and Westmorland and group chairman Alan Jones.
A number of acting Provincial grand officers added further lustre to the occasion. Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Tony Hall was accompanied by John Bates, Phil Preston, Steven Fox, Bob Stafford, Derek Ishmael and Bob Duff.
Of course all these grand and acting Provincial officers could not be allowed to go unsupervised so Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley was on hand to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time.
David had the pleasurable task of installing Mike Benson, who was fresh to the post, as second principal and he in turn installed Dave Sear as third principal for the second occasion.
The addresses to the three principals and companions in office were undertaken by Brian Davey and Bob Gillgrass respectively whilst Paul Renton delivered that to the companions. All proved to be very accomplished and sincere. Malcolm Brown, John Myers and Bob Stafford likewise did an excellent job in giving the robe addresses.
Although the readings are not memorised it must still have been a rather daunting experience for those junior members, Darren Stainton, Carl Hallows and Chris Woodburn, who performed this important part of the ceremony. It must have been particularly intimidating when one considers that they were in a different room to their usual one and that it was not only full but contained so many very high ranking officers. They performed their part well.
The ceremony and the rehearsals beforehand were conducted under the watchful eye of director of ceremonies Graham Slater who supervised proceedings in his own superb inimitable manner, ably assisted by his deputy Bill Woodall.
To mark the occasion, David presented Tony with a cheque for £500 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Following the ceremony the companions enjoyed good food, wine and companionship in the Fairfield Suite. During the course of the evening David thanked the brethren of Semper Sursum Lodge No 5622 who had changed their usual lodge evening to enable Baldwin Chapter to use the facilities and he also expressed his thanks to Ken Robinson and his crew of volunteers at Barrow-in-Furness Masonic Hall who had readied the building for the evening.