At the 92nd installation convocation of Chapter of Fortitude No 281, which was held at the Masonic Hall, Lancaster, Stewart Aimson, Paul Dent and David Grant were installed as first, second and third principals respectively.
Being installed as a principal of any chapter is a great privilege, but for that privilege to coincide with a Provincial team visit, can only enhance the experience of being placed in the principal’s chair ten-fold.
Such visits are rare events and involves the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison visiting a chapter in the company of his team of Provincial grand officers.
On this occasion Tony was accompanied by the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton, Second Provincial Grand Principal Barry Jameson and Third Provincial Grand Principal Ian Higham. Joining them was Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher Butterfield, Provincial Scribe Nehemiah David Case and Provincial Grand Sword Bearer Andrew Barton. Other officers on the team included Andrew Ridal, Mark Barton, Tony Cassels, Dennis Skett, David Tattersall and Peter Maxwell.
As well as the Provincial team, also present were the Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, together with an array of grand and acting Provincial grand officers. In charge of directing this glittering host, was David Thomas, acting as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Tony began proceedings by introducing his team to the companions’ present, following which the three principals were installed in their respective chairs in a most delightful and dignified manner.
The robe addresses were delivered in fine fashion. The red robe address was presented by Keith Middleton, the purple robe address by Jimmy Nisbet and the blue robe by Anthony Gregg.
At the completion of the ceremony Tony rose to offer his sincere congratulations to the three principals on achieving their respective chairs. It was, in Tony’s words an “excellent ceremony”. Tony was also exuberant in his praise for the past first principal Nigel Parrish and for the work he had undertaken, not just this evening but throughout the year.
Tony was delighted to accept a number of charitable disbursements. The beneficiaries of this generosity were revealed to be the MCF 2021 Festival £250 and WLFC £50. On their behalf, Tony expressed grateful thanks. In recognition of the chapter’s contributions to the festival, Tony presented them with a certificate denoting their status as a vice-patron of the MCF 2021 Festival.
At the festive board held in the Rowley Court Banqueting Suite, Chris Butterfield responded to the toast to the grand officers by firstly congratulating the chapter officers for all their hard work in making the ceremony so enjoyable. Chris then moved to toast the health of the Grand Superintendent by expressing his delight at being in his company, adding that Tony spends many hours promoting the Province and deserves our wholehearted support.
On replying to the very complimentary toast to his health by Chris, Tony first expressed his pleasure on an excellent evening and hoped all the companions present had also enjoyed it. Tony thanked the grand officers and the Provincial team for their support on such a special occasion, as well as all the group officers. Tony then expanded upon a number of issues, in particular the need for all companions to consider themselves membership officers and to try and encourage Craft Masons to seriously consider joining the Royal Arch and complete their journey in Freemasonry.
Tony went on to mention the launch in December 2018, of an online learning resource called ‘Solomon’. The launch of Solomon will make daily advancement a reality in the Craft and Royal Arch. He urged the companions to log on and investigate the programme, as it will be a great way to learn more about Freemasonry. Masons will be able to use it to formulate lectures and discussion topics and many a DC will welcome the advice it contains. To access Solomon, go to https://solomon.ugle.org.uk
Thanks were also proffered to everyone for their contributions so far to the MCF 2021 Festival, particularly those who have taken out pledges for patronage and Tony was delighted to see so many companions wearing the festival jewel. Just over 2800 Masons from the Province had already made their pledge and he looked forward to more members joining. He again congratulated the chapter on achieving vice patron status of the festival, it was a fantastic achievement.
Tony concluded by extending seasons greetings to all present for a merry Christmas and great new year.
On behalf of Provincial grand officers, David Case rose to extend his warmest greetings adding that the companions present had been witness to an enjoyable and exciting ceremony and that it had been a delight for him to attend this installation.
Following an inspiring toast to the three principals by Nigel Parrish, a delightful performance of the ‘Principals Song’ was given by Fred Fox with accompaniment by David Tattersall. Responding to these tributes, Stewart thanked a number of fellow companions of the chapter, who had assisted in making the evening such a success.
Upon giving his final thanks of the evening, Stewart presented Tony, on behalf of the Chapter of Fortitude, with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Maureen.
The enjoyment of the evening was further emphasised by the announcement that the raffle had raised a total of £300.
Article and photos by Paul Thompson.