The new Chorley Group Webmaster, Jayson Jackson, was installed as first principal of Coronation Chapter of Westhoughton No 7258 on a day which also saw the chapter attain Grand Patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival.
Westhoughton’s Brookfield Hall was the setting for this Royal Arch meeting which was attended by many distinguished companions, with many being members of the chapter. One of whom was Ian Higham, Third Provincial Grand Principal of the Province. He introduced Malcolm Warren who was on this occasion representing the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Malcolm was accompanied by three acting Provincial grand officers, Mike Greenhalgh, Andy Wiltshire and Barry Dearden.
Other dignitaries who were later described by Malcolm as the ‘Three grand originals’: being Ken Shaw, Frank Wilkinson and John Robson. He was referring to the previous status of all three of these companions all being past Chorley Group Chairmen. The Chorley Group on this occasion was represented by Peter Allen, vice chairman, also a member of the chapter. Don Hesketh, group secretary, was in attendance and took part in later in the ceremony.
The chapter was opened very smoothly by Jeremy Dootson, assisted by Malcolm Lunt. With the opening business concluded Malcolm retired briefly before returning accompanied with a procession of distinguished guests and visitors.
Jeremy Dootson then invited Stephen Gregory to act as installing first principal, most fitting as it was Stephen who proposed Jayson into Freemasonry. Jayson was presented to him and the installation got under way with Andy Wiltshire delivering the preliminary addresses perfectly. The scripture readings given during this part of the installation were read by David Parker and Keith Bennett with much sincerity. Gerald Butler was obligated as second principal and Mark Howard as the third principal. However, Mark did try to escape during the ceremony only to be captured, returned and duly installed.
Following a most sincere and polished ceremony by Stephen, he placed Jayson into his chair. Similarly Jayson installed Gerald who in turn installed the retrieved Mark Howard. The robe addresses were superbly delivered by Don Hesketh, David Bridge and Dave Parker. Malcolm Dewhurst gave the address to the newly installed principals, Stephen Gregory addressed the officers and finally Malcolm Warren gave the address to the companions of Coronation Chapter of Westhoughton.
Malcolm then brought the greetings of the Grand Superintendent and thanked all the officers for delivering a very good and enjoyable ceremony of installation. He congratulated Jayson, Gerald and Mark who then in turn discharged their first and very pleasant duty.
This duty was to present Malcolm with donations totalling £900, upon receipt of which he praised and thanked the chapter for their generosity. Two beneficiaries, Ecclesholme and Firwood School both received £100 each.
It was however a third donation of £750 to the MCF 2021 Festival which meant Coronation Chapter of Westhoughton is the first chapter in the Chorley Group to achieve Grand Patronage of the Festival. Malcolm is one of the Regional Charity Stewards and he thanked the chapter, before calling upon the new Chorley Group Charity Steward, Allan Shields to present the Grand Patron certificate.
Allan the previous group webmaster, said it gave him great pleasure to present the certificate to Jayson, thanking the chapter on behalf of the Province and the MCF for their generosity shown towards people both within and outside of our Masonic order.
Jayson then appointed and invested his officers for the year and concluded the meeting following which the brethren retired to the festive board.
There were a goodly number of visitors among who were Stephen Greenhalgh and Gary Smith, first and second principals respectively from Horwich Chapter No 2324 along with their past first principal Colin Preston who presented Jayson with a travelling bottle. The red bottle sporting the ‘Triple Tau’ and generously filled with wine by the companions is similar in some respects to the ‘travelling gavel’ often seen passing from one Craft lodge to another. The travelling bottle has been established by Ezra McGowan, a companion who has done much work for the Forget Me Not charitable organisation. The plan is for it to be presented by visiting principals to chapters, who are in turn encouraged to drink the contents of the bottle, re fill it and then pass it on as a most sociable gesture.
Following the toasts, Ken Shaw responded with thanks on behalf the grand officers, making mention to the fine style in which the robe addresses had been delivered earlier during the ceremony.
Malcolm during his responses also congratulated the chapter officers and members on the delivery of a very good ceremony of installation. He thanked the three acting officers for attending with him and took time to promote the Royal Arch in general and in particular asked the companions to look at attending Provincial Grand Chapter in October. Malcolm also thanked the chapter for its support of the MCF 2021 Festival stating that we should all be wearing a jewel with pride.
Stephen Gregory conducted a lightening quick raffle which generated a further £227 for those in need as well as remarkably quick toast to the health of the three principals.
Jayson’s response was equally quick but sincere and thanked everyone for their attendance, hard work and companionship. He then thanked Malcolm for visiting the chapter and presented him with a lovely bouquet of flowers for his wife.
Mike Harrison closed the evening’s proceedings with the final toast which signalled the end a wonderful evening of Royal Arch Masonry.
Article and pictures by A Shields.