Companions of Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516 produced a fine display of the passing of the veils ceremony as part of their meeting at Westhoughton Masonic Hall. Membership of the chapter is open to companions who have held the Provincial rank of ‘steward’ in the Province of West Lancashire. The chapter regularly work demonstration ceremonies.
The chapter logo says ‘knowledge’ and the members of the chapter taking part in the demonstration clearly had the knowledge and worked a very professional ceremony. The passing of the veils was, up until around 1834, part of the exaltation ceremony into the order and is still worked in Bristol and Irish chapters so this was a great opportunity for Chorley Group companions to witness the ceremony on their doorstep.
At the meeting the companions of the chapter were honoured with the presence of Deputy Grand Superintendent Danny Jones, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Paul Renton, along with Peter Lockett the group chairman and Tony Hall the vice chairman. Both companions also hold acting rank in the Province – Tony is Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah and Peter is Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.
As the companions assembled in the room they were greeted by various props including a large frame like construction that had been purchased from a local auto parts supplier. Not something normally seen in Masonic surroundings, but along with an elegant golden arc of the covenant, set the scene for a perfect demonstration.
Stuart McVernon was the candidate taken through the ceremony with David Harrison, first principal of the chapter and other companions of the demonstration team providing an informative narration and explanation of what was taking place. Robert Fitzsimmons is the director of ceremonies for the team and he made sure the ceremony went off perfectly. The demonstration team received a long round of applause from all of the companions present and Danny Jones thanked everyone for a fantastic display that was well acted out with eye catching props.
The meeting ended with a request for volunteers to help dismantle the huge structure which had dominated the chapter room along with the thanks from David Harrison to all the team who took part: Robert Fitzsimons, Chris Gleave, Ian Stirling, Les Preston, Eric Kos, Bill Fairman, Stuart McVernon, Paul Brandlee, Ian Beecham and Barry Eliman. These companions had come from all over the Province and dined with all the companions who had come along to see the demonstration. As part of the meeting Stuart McVernon was elected as first principal for the following year and he said that the work of the team would continue in his year in office.
Also at the festive board were the latest companions to receive promotion in Provincial Grand Rank; Bob Duff, Brian Blanchfield, Peter Lawler and Phil Powell who had received their promotions at the meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter. David Harrison closed the proceedings with thanks to those who had taken part and to those who had attended the meeting.