Hesketh Chapter No 950 held its first installation since the COVID-19 lockdown ended at Fleetwood Masonic Hall.
In what was a fitting ceremony, Paul Smedley who has been recognised by the Grand Master His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, for his outstanding contribution to Freemasonry’s role in the fight against COVID-19 was recognised by his own chapter and installed as first principal.
Paul Smedley started to volunteer for the Fleetwood Together Foodbank after an email in May 2020 from the group charity steward. Paul initially committed to a few hours on a Monday but a shortage of drivers and other volunteers returning to work meant that within a short time he was working half days on Monday and Tuesdays and full days on Thursdays and Fridays.
The project supplies the all-too-necessary items for those clients who are unable to leave their homes; were furloughed or are suffering financial hardship, thereby enabling them to maintain a basic standard of living. The volunteer drivers use their own vehicles and deliveries are made all over the Fylde and Wyre areas in the mornings. The afternoon shifts are taken up with stock management, food preparation and general duties in the foodbank premises.
The chapter was extremely pleased to have as its principal guest Roger Perry. Accompanying Roger was Duncan Smith, Harry Cox and the North Fylde Group Assistant Chairman Tony Farrar.
The chapter was duly opened by David Wright who diligently moved through the business of the chapter to start the installation ceremony. David was assisted in the installation by Paul Dunne, Rodney Greenall and Andy Robins.
Unfortunately, Mark Spragg who was due to be installed as third principal couldn’t attend but he will take his rightful place at the next meeting. The installation ceremony that followed was a credit to members of the chapter and particularly the director of ceremonies Steve Mitchell who presented John England, who was installed as second principal and Paul Smedley who was installed as first principal.
The scripture readings were given by Jon Davies and David Platt. Noteworthy in the first-rate ceremony were the addresses. The scarlet robe address was given by Jim Gregson, the purple robe one was given by David Martland; the address to the principals was by the hard-working director of ceremonies Steve Mitchell and the address to the officers of the chapter was orated by Duncan Smith. This left the final address, that to the companions of the chapter, to be delivered by Roger Perry.
Following the installation Roger took to his feet to bring the greetings of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Paul’s first pleasant duty was to present cheques to Roger for £150 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £150 to the Fleetwood Men’s Shed.
At the festive board that followed, a raffle raised £149 to continue the good work of the chapter. Roger Perry took the opportunity to congratulate everyone who took part in the ceremony and wish the newly installed principals a successful year in office.