Experience takes the principal’s chairs in Royal Preston

At the installation meeting of Royal Preston Chapter No 333, the chapter companions were honoured by the presence of Ian Cuerden as their principal guest. He was accompanied by Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and supported by grand officer Joe Collier.

Ian (left) congratulates the three principals on attaining their offices.

Ian (left) congratulates the three principals on attaining their offices.

The visitors were treated to an exemplary ceremony with Peter Donnelly installing his successor Howard Linaker as the first principal of the chapter. Howard in turn installed his successor Geoff Saul as second principal with Geoff subsequently installing Trevor Phillips into the third principal’s chair. All three principals, being very experienced Royal Arch Masons, provided Royal Preston Chapter with a knowledgeable and confident team ‘at the top.’

The principals were each in turn presented by the chapter DC, Trevor Hampton with the scripture readings being given by Richard Maddocks, Patrick Bracewell and Vic Parker respectively and the associated prayers were all delivered by Mel Johnson.

Following the installation of the three principals, Patrick Bracewell thanked Peter as the outgoing first principal for all his work during the previous year and presented him with a PZ’s jewel for him to wear with pride during his year as the immediate past first principal. It was fitting that Patrick made the presentation to Peter as it had been his privilege, as first principal in 2004, to exalt Peter into Royal Arch Masonry. Patrick informed Peter that the jewel he was presenting had originally belonged to Charlie Porter who was the first principal to serve in that office for two successive years in 1967 and 1968.

The address to the principals was delivered in an excellent manner by Joe Collier who had stepped in at very short notice following unfortunate health issues with the original companion designated to that role. The address to the chapter officers was delivered by Sam Swarbrick and the address to the companions of the chapter, again in an exemplary manner, by Joe Collier.

One of the first duties for Howard was to thank Ted Lowes, for the six years of work he had faithfully performed as Scribe Ezra of the chapter and thanked Stan Rigby for taking over the duties of this important office.

At the conclusion of the installation, Ian Cuerden brought the greetings and congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, commenting that had he been present he would not have witnessed a finer ceremony as had just taken place. On Tony’s behalf he went on to congratulate the retiring first principal Peter Donnelly for his excellent work in installing his successor and in turn congratulated all those companions who had a part to play in the evening’s ceremony, in particular mentioning the DC Trevor Hampton for his expert direction.

Howard, in reply, thanked Ian for his kind comments and presented to him two cheques; the first to the value of £333 was in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the second for £400, in support of the William Fazackerly Scout Trust, an organisation that is close to the heart of Peter Donnelly.

The proceedings were brought to a close with a flawless delivery of the valedictory address given by Patrick Bracewell that was greatly appreciated by the companions present.

Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Ian said he was pleased to have the company of the Preston Group Chairman, Steve Bolton and went on to congratulate those present who were to receive appointments and promotions in the Royal Arch. He urged the companions to support the Grand Superintendent by attending the meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter and also the future Provincial Grand Lodge meeting.

Pictured from left to right, are: Joe Collier, Ian Cuerden, Geoff Saul, Howard Linaker, Trevor Phillips, Peter Donnelly and Steve Bolton.

Pictured from left to right, are: Joe Collier, Ian Cuerden, Geoff Saul, Howard Linaker, Trevor Phillips, Peter Donnelly and Steve Bolton.

Ian continued on his own behalf, by congratulating the chapter companions for what had been an excellent ceremony, where every part of it was well done. He particularly mentioned the work of Joe Collier and then asked the question: “Why is Royal Preston Chapter so successful?” He went on to answer the question by saying it is a very active and vibrant chapter that raises significant sums for charity. As a result of its record, the chapter continues to attract members, making it the largest in the Preston Group.

Moving on, Ian mentioned the enhanced emulation ritual demonstrations that are taking place in the Province all of which is open to adoption by chapters as they see fit. He asked members to remember that ceremonies done well attract visitors. As a means of further cultivating interest in the Royal Arch, he informed the companions that there is to be a ‘Talking Heads’ presentation at the September meeting of Royal Preston Lodge No 333. This is to be followed by a joint convocation in November, which it is hoped will be supported by all the chapters in the Preston Group.

Ian concluded by saying that companions need to promote the Royal Arch, whilst at the same time changing to a modern way of doing things and as such move with the times. To this end, information for new joiners to the Royal Arch has been produced and circulated. Indications are that it is being well received.