The installation meeting of Preston Portcullis Chapter No 6316 proved a special occasion for the chapter as the principal guest was the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Tony was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden, the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and grand officers Bill Seddon, Ian Greenwood and Stan Rigby. The occasion was further supported by acting Provincial grand officers Jim Miller, Paul Hesketh, Paul Astley and Gowan O’Hagan.
The chapter was opened by the three principals in the customary fashion and the administrative business of the chapter concluded in a timely manner. The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Paul Hesketh entered the chapter to announce the presence of the Grand Superintendent who entered in due form accompanied by group and acting Provincial grand officers. He was warmly welcomed by the first principal Peter Ledder, who continued by offering his sceptre to Tony. Thanking Peter for his kind gesture, Tony quickly returned the sceptre saying he was sure it was in good hands.
Prior to the installation ceremony, Peter thanked all the companions of the chapter for their help and support during his enjoyable year in office.
The installation itself commenced with the chapter director of ceremonies, Brian Woodburn, presenting Mike Fisher to the third principal for installation as the new third principal of the chapter. Gordon Smith delivered a full and excellent ceremony in preparing Mike for his chair. The relevant scripture reading was given by Malcolm Sugden. Paul Astley temporarily occupied the third principal’s chair to allow Gordon to be presented to Paul Hardman for installation as the second principal. Again, an excellent ceremony followed preparing Gordon for his chair. The relevant scripture reading was given by Harold Sutcliffe. Eddie Taylor temporarily occupied the chair of second principal to allow Paul Hardman to be presented to Peter Ledder for installation into his chair as the new first principal. On this occasion the scripture reading was given by Gary Woods.
Companions below the rank of an installed principal were invited to retire from the chapter for a short while whilst a conclave of installed principals was declared, during which the three principals were, in turn installed in their respective chairs. The conclave was closed and the companions invited to return.
The three principals were then proclaimed by the DC Brian Woodburn, as first, second and third principals of the chapter respectively. The scarlet robe address was eloquently presented by Terry McGill, the purple robe address in equal manner by Eddie Taylor and the blue robe address in similar style by Paul Astley. Paul appointed his officers in an expeditious manner thanking all the recipients for their previous and anticipated future contribution to the operation of the chapter and in doing so, brought the ceremony to a close.
The Grand Superintendent rose to congratulate the three principals on their appointment and the work of Peter Ledder had carried out as the retiring first principal. He congratulated all those who had a part to play in what had been an excellent ceremony. Paul in turn rose to thank Tony for his kind and generous comments and had the pleasure of presenting him with a cheque to the value £250 in support of the MCF 2021 Festival.
Later in the evening, Ian Cuerden rose to welcome and thank Tony for his attendance here in the Preston Group. He provided an amusing and anecdotal tribute to him that was received with great humour by those present. In reply, the Grand Superintendent thanked the chapter for the toast to his health remarking that he always feels very well at around 9pm in the evening when Masons throughout the Province toast his health.
He went on to say how much he had enjoyed the ceremony earlier, thanking the grand officers and Provincial grand officers for their support. He particularly thanked Paul Hesketh, Paul Astley and Gowan O’Hagan for their attendance as acting Provincial grand officers and the work of the chapter DC and ADC, Brian Woodburn and Ray Lamb respectively.
He went on to congratulate the Preston Group Vice Chairman Geoff Saul, on his impending promotion to Grand Rank in the Royal Arch.
Turning to the Royal Arch in general, Tony requested that members go back to their own Craft lodges and approach those brethren who are not yet members of the Royal Arch and offer them encouragement to take that next step in their Masonic progress. He reminded everyone that they are all recruitment officers and the Craft is where the Royal Arch obtains its members. He invited all the companions to attend his chapter meeting in Southport where four chapter members; Peter Ledder (group secretary), Gary Woods, Ray Lamb and Terry McGill were all to receive appointments or promotions.
He went on to thank the chapter for the generous donation made to the MCF 2021 Festival made earlier. He encouraged those who have yet to do so, to support the festival by signing up for the Festival Jewel. His thanks extended to those who have supported the tercentenary events to date, asking them to please continue to do so. Tony concluded by asking everyone to, above all, continue to enjoy their Masonry. At the close of the occasion, Paul had the pleasure of presenting Tony with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Maureen, hopefully, to provide some compensation for having to spend another evening without his company.