It was perhaps inevitable that the 50-year anniversary celebration of Carnforth Chapter No 4951 could not pass without mention being made of the classic David Lean film, ‘Brief Encounter’ which elevated the town’s railway station to a celebrity status that it still enjoys and promotes to the present day.
However, on this celebratory occasion, the leading roles were occupied by Chris Butterfield, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, and Godfrey Hirst PrDGChap rather than by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Chris was joined by group chairman Jim Wilson and acting Provincial grand stewards Alan Procter and David Smith.
The chapter was opened by the three principals and normal business was dispensed with promptly. Roger Nevinson then presented a case containing a square, compasses and poniard to the chapter to mark the occasion and gave a brief history of their provenance. The first principal, Kevan Isherwood then invited Chris Butterfield to occupy his chair, which offer he was pleased to accept. In an illuminating address, Chris outlined the formation of the chapter in 1964 interspersing his discourse with anecdotal references to events of that era.
The names of the founding members were then read with the final name being that of Joe Dixon who is treasurer of the chapter and the last active founder. Alan Thompson then read an interesting and detailed history of the chapter which was of much interest to all the assembly, containing information and details that were previously unknown by some of the audience.
Reverend Canon Godfrey Hirst then rededicated the chapter and gave a rousing and entertaining oration in his usual inimitable style. He took as his theme the symbolic use and meaning of light in Freemasonry and made interesting references to the film ‘Brief Encounter’. He alluded to the passionate nature of the story line and used the ‘grit in the eye’ scene to good effect in his text.
The oration was well received for both its humour and moral stimulus. Following the closure of the chapter, Joe Dixon gave a sincere and moving valedictory address.
At the subsequent festive board, a toast to the founders was proposed by Jim Wilson and appropriately responded to by Joe Dixon. The toast to the chapter, proposed by Chris Butterfield, was answered with gratitude by Kevan Isherwood. At the conclusion of the night’s festivities, it remains undisclosed how many companions made their way to the famous railway station to sojourn uneventfully home or perhaps experience a brief encounter of their own?