The installation meeting of Skelmersdale and Waterloo Chapter No 1380 took place at the Southport Masonic Hall and was attended by almost 20 Royal Arch Companions who witnessed Peter Heijstraten installed in to the chair of first principal by the groups vice chairman Phil Stock.
Peter, born in Holland, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (2013) which was presented for his work with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Peter grew up and lived in a large 19th century house less than 500 metres from the iconic Peace Palace. His working career started in the field of anesthesiology in the Red Cross Hospital in The Hague. This then took him on to Red Cross Hospital and St. Antonius Hospital where he worked in various departments for a number of years. He then started new business ventures, and with friends, founded Liberty Holland Ltd, based in The Hague and London, an import and export company. In addition he also started GYOS and BORK Deployment Agency, specialising in IT and qualified professional hospital staff where he worked as a consultant. It was whilst working here that he was invited to apply for a post at the United Nations where he won the Nobel prize.
Peter had always been fascinated in Freemasonry and philosophy and first came into contact with Freemasons at his time at Liberty Holland. He travelled around the world and although he had time during his travels to read up on Freemasonry, there was no time to join a lodge.
It was not until he relocated to the United Kingdom that he found the time to fulfil his interest in Freemasonry. It was via his wife’s family that he came into contact with Freemasons in Southport and he soon joined Thornton Lodge No 8008, and is a valued member and currently IPM. It was not long after he was raised to the third degree that Peter was invited to join the Skelmersdale and Waterloo Chapter where he has filled every position in his run up to this ceremony.
After the initial business of the chapter had been conducted by Phil Stock, Paul Renton Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and representative of the Grand Superintendent was made most welcome.
Paul was accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers including acting Provincial officers Neil Latham Provincial Grand Treasurer and Alan Jervis PrGStwd.
Phil offered a warm welcome to Paul and the chapters distinguished guests and hoped that everyone would have an enjoyable evening.
The three principals elect were then presented to each of the principals in turn by DC Tom McKenzie to mark the start of the installation proceedings, with Peter Heijstraten being installed as first principal, Chris Taylor as second principal and Bill Gallagher as third principal.
Readings at the various times during the ceremony were given by Graham Chambers and Paul Renton.
Peter then appointed his officers for the ensuing year with style and confidence.
Paul rose to convey congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison to all who had taken part in producing a sincere ceremony under difficult circumstances, and wished the three principals good health to sustain them through their year in office. Paul also congratulated Phil Stock for stepping in at extremely short notice to undertake the work of installing first principal.
Peter then presented three cheques to Paul, the first for £100 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the second for £100 to the 12th Crosby Scout Group and the third for £50 to the Southport Hall Foundation.
Paul and his entourage remained in the chapter until all business was concluded, after which all present retired to partake of the festive board.
Besides Freemasonry Peter also enjoys amateur radio and has the call sign M0MGY, (the call sign MGY is the historic call sign of the Titanic) and he is also the Chairman of the Southport and District Amateur Radio Club.