At the convocation of Royal Preston Chapter No 333 Owen Thomas, a master Mason of Ingol Lodge of St Margaret No 8544 was exalted as a member of the Royal Arch. The occasion was honoured by the presence of the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, Ian Cuerden.
Owen was by no means a stranger to the Holy Royal Arch having recently attended a presentation of ‘Talking Heads’ which explained to him as far as possible everything one could reasonably know prior to being admitted. It obviously whetted his appetite and it was with considerable enthusiasm that he approached the evening’s ceremony.
This venerable yet progressive chapter, gracing Freemasonry in Preston for nigh on 200 years, shows no reluctance in bowing to modernity and following the delightful opening address incorporated many of the recommended elements from the recently produced enhanced ritual to the undoubted benefit of the candidate. To this effect, Peter Donnelly explained the workings of each part of the ceremony to Owen prior to its enactment.
In keeping with the chapter’s current principle of, where possible, sharing the work, the ceremony, was split into three parts, the first part, with Mike Jones taking the first principal’s chair, involved the second assistant sojourner, Melvin Johnson.
For the second part Joe Collier assumed the position of first principal, working with the first assistant sojourner, John Clulow.
For the third part, Howard Linaker, resumed his rightful place as first principal and, working with the principal sojourner, David Poulter, completed the exaltation ceremony.
The ceremony was supremely well worked and made a great impression on Owen, the first of several young candidates hoping to join this season. A friendly atmosphere pervaded throughout combining a relaxed enjoyable ceremony with the dignity it demanded.
Ian complimented all who took part in what had been an excellent ceremony. He went on to present Owen with an informative booklet from the Preston group containing information for newcomers to the Royal Arch. He also took the opportunity to congratulate Owen on his entry into the Royal Arch, wishing him many happy years furthering his Masonic knowledge.
The customary gift aided collection was then taken in support of Masonic charity that raised approximately £55.
The convocation was concluded by Patrick Bracewell reciting the beautiful words of the valedictory address reminding us all that “every creature has a just claim on our good offices.”
Later in the evening, Owen’s proposer, Geoff Saul, during his toast to the candidate, pointed out that although only recently joining Freemasonry as a member, Owen had been assisted by the organisation for a considerable part of his life. His education had been overseen by the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and it was this body that had supported him through his schooling, even to further education at UCLAN. Whilst there, he met his partner and, although having originally been brought up on the Isle of Sheppey, felt he had sufficient reason to stay in Preston.
As part of the festive board activities, a ‘Chorley Raffle’ took place raising almost £83 in support of the local Air Ambulance Service.