The Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher (Chris) Butterfield received a very warm welcome from the companions of Heysham Chapter No 4108 when he attended their installation convocation, held at Morecambe Masonic Hall, as principal guest. Accompanying Chris on his visit were fellow grand officers Tom Holroyd and Philip Gardner, together with acting Provincial officers Neil McGill, Nigel Parrish, Jim Richards, Mike Jenkins, David Tattersall and Stephen Jennings.
Once the first principal Richard Routledge had duly opened the chapter, the director of ceremonies Paul Craddock announced that the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals stood without and sought admission to the chapter. The customary words of welcome were given with enthusiasm by Richard on behalf of the three principals and Chris responded in a similar manner. In advance of the installation Richard thanked all the members of the chapter for their help, support and encouragement during his year in office.
The installation ceremony itself was scheduled to be a fairly condensed affair as Richard Routledge, Joe Emmerson and Ken Needham were being proclaimed as first, second and third principal respectively for a further year. The whole occasion was conducted nevertheless with gravitas as befitting an installation. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chris rose to give the traditional greetings of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Chris congratulated the three principals on agreeing to stay in office for a further year in order to assist the chapter. With a smile on his face and with an eye on how long the abbreviated ceremony had taken, Chris observed that it had been a fantastic ceremony but he added that: “My reply at the festive board, however, will probably be longer”. Chris was delighted to receive a cheque for £256.50 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, together with notification of donations made by the chapter to Animal Care £50 and Morecambe Masonic Hall £50, which together with the recovery of gift aid on the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity donation, totalled £428.10.
At the festive board, Chris in response to the toast to the grand officers took the opportunity to bring his own greetings to the chapter and to offer his own personal congratulations on the way the ceremony had been conducted. “In a ceremony”, Chris remarked, “in which the three principals stay in office, it can sometimes be a little disjointed as there are no official rules as to what can and can’t be done but this evening Heysham Chapter have demonstrated the perfect balance by including essential elements of the ritual where necessary but then, quite rightly, excluding those parts not strictly required”.
Chris moved on to convey a number of essential messages close to the heart of the Grand Superintendent. Topics Chris expanded on included the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, in respect of which he was delighted to see so many of the companions present wearing the festival jewel, especially as the official launch of the festival is not until later in the year at Provincial Grand Lodge. It was hoped, Chris remarked, that “the companions will support the new festival so that we can give an amount worthy of the Province’s size, not forgetting that as a Province we get back from charity more than we contribute”.
In the next topic, Chris touched upon the new enhanced workings which several chapters in the group were either already incorporating some of it or were considering doing so. Chris reiterated that the inclusion of the enhanced workings was not mandatory but it was there to ‘try and make the ceremony more enjoyable and understandable to candidates’. Staying on the topic of candidates, Chris pointed out that it was important to make sure that fellow Masons, especially new Masons, were made aware of the Royal Arch and then said: “Hopefully we will see new members join this very colourful order”. In conclusion Chris thanked all the acting Provincial officers for their support as well as the help he had received from the Scribe Ezra Alan Gregory and the director of ceremonies Paul Craddock.
One further essential element to the evening’s proceedings was the announcement that the raffle had raised the princely sum of £196.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.