De Grey and Ripon Chapter No 1356 is a very distinguished chapter and the companions of the chapter are very much looking forward to the celebration of 150 years of continuous history since 1875. The companions and guests had come together to celebrate the annual installation of a new first principal and to welcome Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris Butterfield, on his first visit to De Grey and Ripon Chapter.
First principal David Colling welcomed all to the chapter and proceeded to open the chapter in fine form, assisted by second principal Stephen White and third principal Peter Dodd, who on this occasion was deputising for Graham Fairley who could not attend. Adam Kennaugh, the chapter treasurer, was deputising as scribe Nehemiah. Overseeing this fine chapter fell to the very capable hands of director of ceremonies Steven Williams, who is also the immediate past first principal.
Provincial Deputy Grand director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall, announced that the Deputy Grand Superintendent stood without. First principal David stated that the chapter would be delighted to receive him. A number of very distinguished guests had assembled to attend this celebration. Chris Butterfield was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Malcolm Alexander, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Andrew Whittle, Mersey Valley Group Deputy Chairman David Atkinson and group vice chairman John Gibbon. First principal David, on behalf of the three principals and indeed the chapter, welcomed Chris and hoped that he enjoyed the ceremony, and the festive board afterwards.
David Spear, as presenting officer, then presented Keith Lindsay as third principal elect to third principal Peter Dodd who conducted the ceremony superbly. The distinguished guests also took part in the ceremony with the readings to the third principal performed by David Atkinson and the prayer conducted by scribe Ezra, William Carter.
David Colling then requested that Albert Hogg honour the chapter and occupy the chair of second principal. David Spears then arose again and presented Stephen White as first principal elect. On this occasion, the second principal elect is to be installed at the next convocation. It was the turn of David Colling assisted by both third principal Peter and director of ceremonies Steven, to install his successor Stephen White as first principal.
Andrew Whittle performed the reading to the first principal, with the prayer again read by William Carter. Stephen, is having a busy year, having been superbly installed as first principal, it swiftly follows his installation as master in Derby Lodge No 724 in November 2022.
The installation of the principals having concluded, the companions were welcomed back into the chapter by the director of ceremonies, Steven proclaiming them for the ensuing year. The address to the companions of the chapter was given with dignity and aplomb by Malcolm Alexander. The address to the three principals being equally furnished by Peter Dodd.
First principal Stephen thanked the Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris and Provincial team for attending this wonderful ceremony and celebration. Chris responded saying he brought the congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews to the chapter for a wonderful ceremony, and David Colling rose again and presented a cheque to honour the charities to Chris. The chapter made a very generous donation of £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Chris thanked the chapter companions for what he described as a remarkable donation.
Following the first rising, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies formed the procession and the Provincial team, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and distinguished guests retired.
The festive board was a lively affair, and the delightful meal of vegetable soup, roast chicken and sticky toffee pudding, kept the companions and guests occupied, with the room filled with the warm camaraderie which characterises the nature of De Grey and Ripon Chapter.
Malcolm Alexander gave the toast to the Grand Superintendent and Chris responded on behalf of Mark with thanks, and congratulated the chapter on a fine and very enjoyable ceremony. The chapter then presented Chris Butterfield, Malcolm Alexander and Andrew Whittle with flower bouquets, in token of their appreciation and thanks for honouring the chapter with their attendance. Gifts were also presented to Ian Halsall and David Atkinson in thanks for their participation in the ceremony.
With the janitors’ toast bringing an end to the happy proceedings, the future of De Grey and Ripon Chapter is very promising and everyone is looking forward to hearing more about this chapter’s celebrations in the future.
Article by Mike Fox and Bill Carter.