Members and their guests gathered in the majestic surroundings of the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool for the installation convocation of Blundellsands Chapter No 2289. A warm welcome awaited the Third Provincial Grand Principal Ian Higham, as he made his first visit to the chapter. Ian was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson.
The chapter was opened at 6.00pm prompt, by the three principals, Mark Dimelow, Paul Shepherd standing in as second principal and Alan Morris. Following confirmation of the minutes of the previous convocation, Mark welcomed Paul Sutton. Paul, a joining member, had been balloted for at the last meeting but was unable to attend on that occasion.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton was then admitted. He informed the three principals that Third Provincial Grand Principal was without and demanded admission. Mark responded that they would be delighted to receive him. The companions stood, as Ian, accompanied by Gladstone Group Chairman Sam Robinson, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Anderton, Bill Culshaw, John James and Vice Chairman of the Garston Group David Atkinson, who is also an acting Provincial Grand Steward, were admitted. Mark Barton introduced Ian to the three principals. Mark responded on behalf of his fellow principals and welcomed Ian, who was visiting Blundellsands Chapter for the very first time. Mark offered Ian the sceptre, which Ian accepted but swiftly returned, saying, as Mark had taught him all that he knew, he was much better qualified to proceed with the ceremony.
The ceremony proceeded with the assistance of the director of ceremonies Michael Cunliffe. Alan Morris, first principal elect, re-affirmed his obligation, as Alan had on a previous occasion occupied the first principals chair. He was robed by Mark, saluted the sceptre and took his place. The robe address was given by Paul Shepherd. Second principal Robin Miles, was unable to attend and will be Invested at a later date. Finally, Mark Dimelow was invested as third principal by Paul Shepherd and the robe address was given to Mark by Alan Morris. The experience of Mark, Paul and Alan was most obvious, as the quality of their ritual delivery was outstanding.
Michael Cunliffe presented the charter, book of constitutions and the by-laws, which marked the end of the ceremony of installation. Ian immediately rose to congratulate the three principals and bring the good wishes of the Provincial Grand Superintendent, James Anthony Harrison. Ian also congratulated the officers who had assisted in the smooth running of the ceremony.
Following the first rising, Mark Barton called the companions to order, as Ian and the other senior companions retired to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Crosby Suite. The general business was then concluded and the chapter closed. A total of 30 members and guests mingled and chatted in the Crosby Suite, enjoying a drink, before taking their places to enjoy a fine meal served by the pleasant catering staff.
During the course of the meal, Ian took wine with the three principals, officers and companions at various times during the evening. In response to the toast to the grand officers, Ian covered many important topics, including the MCF 2021 Festival and the need to continually encourage master Masons to join the Royal Arch. He also congratulated Mark Barton on his appointment to grand rank and Sam Robinson on his promotion in Grand Lodge. This brought about thunderous applause from the assembled companions.
A very memorable and enjoyable evening for all the guests and companions, in wonderful surroundings, was had by everyone, but all too soon it was brought to an end with the final toast of the evening, the Janitor’s toast.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall