The installation meeting of Ribble Chapter No 4558 saw John Whiteside attain the first principal’s chair in an excellent and well directed ceremony. The principal guest was Third Provincial Grand Principal Stanley Oldfield who was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden, Provincial Scribe Nehemiah Tony Hall and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Paul Hesketh. They were supported by the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and acting Provincial grand officer Derek Ishmael.
Unfortunately, the third principal Keith Dowley not being in the best of health and after due consideration, decided he would prefer to stand down for the time being. At very short notice and following receipt of the necessary dispensation from the Grand Superintendent, Terry Turley stepped into the breach as acting third principal with agreement to progress to the second principal’s chair for the ensuing year. As Terry has already served as first principal of the chapter on no less than five previous occasions he brought a wealth of experience to his prospective position of second principal.
The first principal, John Rimmer, began the ceremony by thanking the officers and companions of the chapter for their support and assistance during his year in office. The acting DC Tony Ormiston presented Terry Ward to the acting third principal for Terry Turley to explain to him the duties of that office. Following his obligation to carry out those duties, the scripture reading was given by David Asbridge and the prayer by Derek Thompson.
Terry, as second principal elect, was in turn presented to the second principal John Whitehead who proceeded to inform him of his duties. After reaffirming his obligation, the scripture reading was delivered in an excellent manner by David Winder. On this occasion the prayer was delivered by David Asbridge. Finally, Tony Ormiston had the pleasure of presenting John Whitehead, the first principal elect, to the first principal John Rimmer, with the scripture reading being presented in an equally excellent manner by companion Simon Wright. The associated prayer was delivered by Cedric McIlwaine.
The scarlet robe address was given by John Rimmer, the purple robe address by David Asbridge and the blue robe address by Simon Ward. Each robe address was presented in a faultless manner that was greatly appreciated by all present. The three principals were then declared in office by the acting DC Tony Ormiston. The address to the principals was delivered in an exemplary manner by Derek Thompson and the address to the companions in an equally commendable manner by the principal guest Stanley Oldfield.
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Stanley brought the congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, wishing the three principals well during their coming year in office. Stanley continued by also congratulating John Rimmer for his part in installing his successor as first principal, thanking him for all the work he had done for the chapter and the Royal Arch during his year in office. He concluded the good wishes of the Grand Superintendent by congratulating all the companions of the chapter who had taken part in the installation ceremony.
John, as first principal, then had the pleasure of presenting Stanley with a charity cheque to the value of £100 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Stanley gave his own congratulations and good wishes to the three principals and to the companions of the chapter. He went on to thank Paul Hesketh, for all his work during the evening, particularly as due to circumstances within the Province, he had kindly retaken the reigns of Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies. He continued by thanking the other acting officers, Tony and Derek for their support.
Turning to charitable donations, he reminded the companions of the continuing need to support the Masonic charities, thanking the chapter companions for their very generous donation in support of the WLFC made earlier in the evening. He also noted that it would not be long before the Province would be announcing a new festival that would inevitably divert charitable funds away from other causes. It was therefore essential for the Province to maximise donations to the WLFC before the start of the festival.
He continued on the theme of charity by explaining the forthcoming changes to the Masonic charity system and the formation of the Masonic Foundation Trust. The intended function of the trust will be to act as a source of funds for all the existing Masonic charities should immediate needs demand it. Stanley concluded his response by reminding the companions that although the Province makes a significant contribution to the Grand Charity, overall it is a net recipient of Grand Charity resources.