The annual installation meeting of Downshire Chapter No 594 was opened in an exemplary manner by first principal Paul Copeland, assisted by his fellow principals, all under the discerning eye of their director of ceremonies Geoffrey Gill.
Principal guest for the evening, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barrie Crossley, entered the chapter room accompanied by the Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews and acting Provincial Grand Sojourner Barry Fletcher, with Provincial First Assistant Grand Sojourner Alastair Davidson. After warmly receiving Barrie to the chapter, Paul also welcomed the other visitors, which included the first principal of Chapter of Liverpool No 292 George Christie.
Prior to the ceremony of installation, Paul requested the officers to line up in the north and gave his heartfelt thanks for the support and dedication given to both the chapter and him for the previous 12 months.
Installed as first principal was Robert (Bob) Martin; Oliver Winder was installed as second principal and Ian Richards that of third principal. On being installed into their respective chairs, the red robe address was given to Bob Martin by Paul Copeland, with Eric Poole giving the purple robe address to Oliver Winder and Oliver Winder the blue robe address to Ian Richards.
As first principal, Bob was presented with the charter, the book of Royal Arch Regulations and the by-laws of the chapter by Paul Copeland. He next had the pleasure of investing Paul with the collar and jewel, worn by right as the immediate past first principal of Downshire Chapter. The address to the companions of the chapter was delivered in magnificent manner by Barrie Crossley.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Barrie brought greetings from the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, congratulating the newly installed principals, by saying: “The Grand Superintendent hopes you have a good and enjoyable year in office.” Barrie then congratulated Paul Copeland for the excellent work he carried out during his tenure of office, coupled with his outstanding deliverance of ritual during the evening. He further thanked all the members of the chapter for the enjoyable and unique ceremony, commenting on how well the companions of the chapter had pulled together for the event.
Bob Martin, as the newly installed first principal, then presented two cheques on behalf of the chapter; £300 in favour of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and £100 to Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund. On behalf of the recipients, Barrie thanked the companions for their generosity and here took the opportunity to present the chapter with a certificate to mark their achievement in becoming Vice Patron to the MCF 2021 Festival.
Once the ceremony had concluded, the companions moved into the adjacent banquet room for the festive board. Served was the traditional and resplendent installation dinner consisting of oxtail soup, the gargantuan black pudding tower with bacon covered with cheese sauce and poached egg atop. This was followed by the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, with a strawberry trifle to round off any lingering hunger.
It was here that Barrie, in response to the toast to the grand officers, congratulated the chapter on a well-organised ceremony, before thanking those grand officers present for their support. He then moved on to discuss the MCF 2021 Festival, noting that it was great to see so many companions wearing their festival jewel, adding how pleasing it was to see the fantastic commitment being shown by the Downshire Chapter to the Festival. Barrie then touched upon the need to make sure that fellow Masons were made aware of the Royal Arch and that we need to go out and sell it to them.
In conclusion he congratulated the new principals and encouraged them to enjoy their Royal Arch Masonry and to keep up with the good work which had made his visit so happy and joyful.