Companions of Saturnian Chapter No 7563, together with their visitors were extremely honoured to have the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Ian Stirling as their principal guest at the installation of Shaun Haynes as first principal, Damian Davenport as second principal and Steve Willingham as third principal.
Supporting Ian were Provincial grand officers Dave McKee, Brian Horrocks, Glenn O’Brien and Steve Willingham (who would end the meeting in the third principal’s chair), together with the North Fylde Group Vice Chairman Tony Farrar, group secretary Mike Brown and group treasurer Jim Gregson, along with other Provincial grand officers. Grand officers Norman Thomas and Keith Jackson were already in the chapter in their roles as director of ceremonies and organist respectively.
As each of the principals had been through their respective chairs before, the ceremony of placing them back in those chairs was a short and straight forward process, however, that experience showed in the seamless way they each performed their roles. Particular credit goes to newest member of the chapter, Adam Turner, who then stepped forward to deliver a faultless explanation of the first principal’s robe. He was followed by Roger Stansfield and Shaun Haynes who explained the robes to the second and third principals.
Norman Thomas then stepped up to the plate to show why he’s such a great DC by delivering both the address to the principals and that to the companions of the chapter in that polished manner peculiar to seasoned grand officers.
With the ceremony completed, Ian Stirling stood to convey the greetings from the Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews. He congratulated the new principals and wished them good health for their year in office. He also expressed his pleasure at seeing experience at work in the smooth transition to the new team but particularly praised Adam Turner for being able to deliver such fine ritual at such an early stage.
Before Ian sat down, he was presented with two cheques, one for the sum of £400 for Brian House Children’s Hospice and the second for £250 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Thanking the chapter companions for their generosity, Ian expressed his admiration that a relatively small chapter had raised such a fine sum of money.
Following further words of praise from Norman Thomas on behalf of the grand officers, then from Tony Farrar for the Provincial grand officers, the remainder of the business was completed, the chapter was closed and the companions retired to the bar, then to the banqueting suite for a fine meal of cream of tomato soup, roast chicken with seasonal vegetables, then Black Forest gateau.
When the meal was over, Ian Stirling responded to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, during which he thanked the companions for a thoroughly enjoyable meeting. He also thanked scribe Ezra of the chapter Mike Dickinson and Norman Thomas for their assistance in preparing him for this event. He then went on to mention subjects as wide ranging as the Grand Ball, the next Provincial Grand Lodge meeting, Archway, the Pro Grand Principal’s strategy, the membership strategy, mentoring and the confidential assistance line run by the Provincial charity. He concluded by thanking the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their support.
This was followed by the toast by the immediate past first principal Gordon Major to the new principals. He mentioned the great experience gained by each one of them during previous stints in the three chairs, also how this had shown through the way they had conducted the business of this meeting. He continued by voicing his confidence in the new team of chapter officers who he confidently predicted would enjoy a great year. He concluded by presenting the first principal with a menu card signed by each companion present, jokingly adding: “Even by you!” Gordon showed this to Shaun to the great amusement of all. His toast was followed by John Darrell, who sang the installation song to the principals in his normal accomplished manner, accompanied by Keith Jackson.
In his response, Shaun Haynes thanked Keith Jackson for his harmony over many years adding: “We musicians have to stick together!” He went onto thank Ian Stirling for his attendance as well as to Norman Thomas and Mike Dickinson for their immense contribution to the running of the chapter. He thanked various other members and visitors before explaining that he would be completing this year’s Great North Run on behalf of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and would be approaching members for donations later in the year.
Before the evening ended, Adam Turner managed the raffle which raised £173. Following this, Gordon Ivett proposed the janitor’s toast thus ending a great evening.