The friends and companions of Earl of Lathom Chapter No 730 gathered to celebrate Dennis Onslow’s 50 years in the Royal Arch. The first principal Brian Haslam opened the chapter and conducted the necessary business. The Second Provincial Grand Principal Paul Renton then demanded admission. Paul was accompanied by Peter Taylor, Bill Seddon, Chris Blackwell, John Robson, Ken Shaw, Tom Jackson, Bill Huck, Alan Byers, Stewart Seddon, Peter Mason and Neil MacSymons, along with acting Provincial grand officers Rey Morris and Richard Frazer-Bastable.
Paul accepted the sceptre of the chapter and thanked Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Tony Hall for allowing him to lead this ceremony as he had known Dennis for 22 years.
Instead of the customary oration, Dennis and Paul had a chat. Microphones were attached to both Dennis and Paul and the overhead projector was switched on. As each photograph, newspaper cutting or map was projected, a fascinating ‘chat’ about Dennis’s life and times took place – it provided a captivating insight.
The map that was displayed showed that the three houses that Dennis had lived in were all in Chorley and all within one square kilometre. When Dennis left Chorley Grammar School he joined NORWEB and continued his education at the Harris Institute in Preston where he was awarded a Higher National Certificate in Electrical Engineering. Dennis became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers but his career was interrupted by National Service in the RAF.
Dennis and Marion were married at All Saints Church, Chorley in February 1964. They have three daughters Caroline, Judith and Yvonne.
In the Craft, Dennis was initiated into Withy Lodge No 7733, becoming master of the lodge in 1974. He also carried out the duties of treasurer and secretary for a number of years and celebrated his 50 years in the Craft there. Denis is also a founder member of Phoenix Lodge of Installed Masters No 9206, a member of Quingenti Lodge No 8516 and Hesketh Leyland Lodge No 986.
His first Provincial appointment was Provincial Grand Steward in 1982, promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 1985 and then Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1987. Grand rank came in 1991 with Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, followed by a promotion to Past Junior Grand Deacon in 2004. Dennis was also group secretary for the Leyland Group.
In the Royal Arch, Dennis was exalted into the Earl of Lathom Chapter No 730. In 1977 he became a founder member of Old Worden Chapter No 5366 becoming first principal in 1982. Dennis joined Setantia Chapter of Installed First Principals No 7755 and became a founder of Withy Chapter No 7733 in 1993.
His first Provincial appointment was Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in 1987, with grand rank following in 1992 as Past Grand Standard Bearer and then Past Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2005.
Paul said that it had been a great privilege for him to be able to play his part in celebrating Dennis’s life as a Freemason and on this occasion recognising his 50 years of commitment to the Royal Arch. He was sure all present would recognise Dennis, or indeed to have personally received his wise words of wisdom – these of course have always been given with that impish glint in his eye as well as the ability to bring common sense to every debate with his down-to-earth and uncluttered views, so often tinged with a dry sense of humour.
Chorley Group Chairman Peter Lockett then read the certificate of appreciation from the Province of West Lancashire, recognising Dennis’s great contribution to our order. Dennis then received a prolonged standing ovation.
The festive board was a very happy occasion with much reliving of fond memories with both old and new friends.