Ulverston Masonic Hall is a purpose built building constructed some 120 years ago and features a large temple with a high ceiling. It is quite imposing. The rich and powerful tones of first principal John Bates echoed around this delightful Masonic chamber as he, in partnership with his co-principals Geoff Waters and Dennis Laird, opened the installation meeting of Vale Chapter of Installed Principals No 5256.
he main guest on this special occasion was the Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris Butterfield. Chris entered the meeting along with a dozen holders of grand rank. One of whom was the local Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barrie Crossley who was fittingly in company with Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Gary Rogerson who is to take over Barrie’s role at the upcoming meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter. Also in attendance was Norman Thompson, Past Grand Superintendent of the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland.
Also in attendance, and adding further gravitas to the occasion, were Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Jason Dell with fellow acting Provincial grand officers David Jopling, Paul Broadley, Graham Lloyd and Ken Needham.
The chapter draws its membership from both the Furness and South Lakeland and the Lancaster Groups so there was representation from all around Morecambe Bay along with some who travelled from further afield including the adjoining Province of Cumberland and Westmorland. They were all able to witness John, Geoff and Dennis install Dave Sear, Chris Brown and Steve Fox as first, second and third principals respectively in fine style.
Being a past principals’ chapter, the ceremony is very much truncated. Nonetheless that presents its own challenges as it is not something you hear too often and is a piece of ritual you are only likely to perform once. Undertaking this work in the presence of so many distinguished and knowledgeable Royal Arch Masons adds to the challenge. The installing principals deserve great credit for the manner in which they went about their duties. Special mention is merited in respect of Geoff who stood in as second principal with less than a week’s notice and performed admirably.
To mark the occasion the principal guest was presented with a cheque for £300 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. It was also pleasing to hear four propositions for joining members being made on the evening.
The new officers of the chapter having been appointed, greetings given and the usual formalities observed the chapter was closed and the journey made upstairs to the dining room.
For many in attendance it was the first meeting following the summer break and this opportunity to catch up with friends old and new was not wasted as the buzz of lively conversation filled the room. The camaraderie of our order is something which should not be undervalued with such pleasant social contact being good for one’s well-being. The meal was roast beef with the usual trimmings followed by a very well received cheese board.
Chris Butterfield, in responding to the toast to the health of the grand officers gave an update on the latest news regarding the Order including the Membership Challenge initiative which is being rolled out. The toasts having been observed and responses to those toasts made it was time to depart from what had been a very pleasant evening of Masonic friendship and ritual.
But for some the work was not over. There are minutes to be written, returns to be made and cheques to be issued. In addition it should not be forgotten that the temple did not lay itself out as if by a spell as in a Harry Potter film. Labouring on our behalf was the aforementioned acting officer Graham Lloyd who not only spent the previous evening laying the room out but was to spend the next morning putting everything away. The chapter being one that meets at various halls around the bay at times relies on borrowing equipment from other chapters and on this occasion, Graham had used that of his own chapter, Thurston Chapter No 2525. His efforts are appreciated.