There is an old show business saying that the show must go on, and that expression can certainly be applied to the installation meeting of Furness Chapter No 995. This meeting, which was held at Ulverston Masonic Hall, saw the first principal, Steven Ellershaw, alone as the only one of the three principals able to be present.
However, waiting in the wings and able to fill the offices of second and third principals were Peter Gardner and Jim Richards, both of whom are Provincial grand officers and well versed in the installation ritual. Everything else was in place and the chapter was opened in due form and the domestic business was completed.
Following the completion of this business, director of ceremonies Allan Mills and assistant director of ceremonies John Cavin retired to form the procession of visiting dignitaries and then re-entered the temple. Allan announced that John Robbie Porter, representing the Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews and Gary Rogerson both of whom are Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, requested admission.
They were supported by grand officers Alan Jones, Barrie Crossley and David Grainger; along with the Chairman of Furness and South Lakeland Group Alan Pattinson, vice chairman of the group Chris Gray, (who is also a Provincial Grand Steward), Tony Nevinson Provincial Grand Sojourner and other distinguished guests all of whom entered in processional order.
Allan then requested that the companions of the chapter be upstanding. Steven Ellershaw welcomed John Robbie Porter and said what a pleasure it was to welcome him into Furness Chapter.
It was then that Allan rose again and proclaimed Steven Ellershaw as first principal for the ensuing year. Reg Wilkinson will be proclaimed as second principal and Pat Moss as third principal on a future occasion. Steven then appointed his officers. Even though this was a very much shortened ceremony, proceedings ran as John Robbie Porter put it: “Very smoothly”, under the watchful eye of Allan and John as DC and ADC respectively.
Whilst conveying the greetings from the Grand Superintendent, John Robbie also congratulated everyone who had taken part in the ceremony. Steven presented John Robbie with a cheque for £500 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, which was accepted with thanks by John Robbie on behalf of the many needy recipients.
The 35 companions present were then able to retire to the festive board for a roast beef dinner and an enjoyable evening.