Over 90 members and guests assembled at the Palace, St Anne’s to witness and assist at the installation of the new principals of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No 8966. The chapter was to be honoured by the presence of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Not however, before the members honoured him first!
The chapter was opened by Keith Jackson and the normal business was dispensed with. A ballot was then taken to elect Tony as an honorary member and unsurprisingly it proved unanimously in his favour. Likewise, a ballot was taken to elect four new joining members; these being Jim Gregson, John Wright, Antony Hill and Peter Maxwell. This also proved unanimously in favour of each of the candidates. The new joining members were then welcomed into the chapter by the three principals and Antony Hill responded on behalf of them all.
The director of ceremonies Norman Thomas and his assistant John Chesters then retired to take their place in the entrance of visiting dignitaries. Shortly after, the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley entered to announce that the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison was without and demanded admission. Keith Jackson responded that the members of the chapter would be honoured and delighted to receive him.
On entering, Tony was supported by his Deputy Grand Superintendent Danny Jones, Past Deputy Grand Superintendent Steven Reid, Second Provincial Grand Principal Peter Elmore and Third Provincial Grand Principal Stanley Oldfield. They were accompanied by the Chairman of South Fylde Group Ian Ward, several Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, along with many grand and Provincial grand officers and other distinguished companions. Keith welcomed the Grand Superintendent into the chapter and was pleased to inform him that he had been elected an honorary member. He then offered Tony the sceptre which was graciously but swiftly returned.
The three new principals elect were then installed in fine style. David Randerson, himself an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, was installed as first principal; the Chairman of Blackpool Group Peter Bentham was installed as second principal and Ian Ward was installed as third principal.
The principal’s robes were then explained in magnificent addresses by John Lee, Bill Hembrow and John Chapman. The new officers for the ensuing year were appointed and invested and the ceremony was excellently concluded by Peter Elmore who delivered the address to the companions.
Tony Harrison then congratulated the principals and the companions on an excellent ceremony of installation. He also congratulated all of the new chapter officers on their appointments. David Randerson then presented him with a cheque for the sum of £300 on behalf of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for which Tony expressed grateful thanks on their behalf. He later praised the chapter for using gift-aid envelopes.
The companions then retired to the banqueting room where they partook of a fine meal consisting of chicken liver pate, salmon with seasonal vegetables, brandy-snap baskets and coffee with mints.
Peter Elmore entertained the companions with an enlightening and entertaining toast to the Grand Superintendent’s health, which covered their almost parallel careers in Freemasonry. He amusingly quoted from a copy of an old wild-west wanted poster for the purpose of apprehending one ‘James Anthony Harrison’.
In his response, Tony was pleased to note that he didn’t look anything like the man on the wanted poster! He then thanked everyone for their good wishes and for making the very kind consideration of electing him an honorary member of the chapter. He added that he looked forward to an opportunity to attend a future meeting. He thanked all of the senior officers for coming along to support the new principals and officers of the chapter. He particularly praised the deputy directors of ceremonies Barrie Crossley and Neil MacSymons for keeping everything on track.
Tony continued by complimenting the chapter on a slick ceremony of installation and thanked the new principals for the work they do for Freemasonry on the Fylde in their Provincial and group offices. He also thanked Keith for the manner in which he had installed David and also Peter Greathead for standing in at the last moment to install Ian as third principal. He concluded by urging the companions to encourage members to join the Royal Arch but in a sensible and responsible manner.
Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Tony Hall responded to Ian Ward’s toast to the Provincial officers, by complimenting the chapter on a most enjoyable meeting, for which they could be justly proud. He made special mention of the three companions who presented the robe addresses. He was also heartened to see so many joining members, including a particularly good choice of honorary member.
Keith Jackson toasted the new principals in his own unique and amusing fashion. On a more serious note he wished all the very best of good health during their term of office. This toast was followed by the song to the three principles, sung with joy and gusto by Godfrey Hirst.
In thanking Keith for his toast, David Randerson thanked him for all the work he had done during the year. He also thanked him for the way he had conducted the installation ceremony. He thanked Tony for accepting the invite to attend and for the support he is giving to the Royal Arch in general. He praised the support of all the senior officers and the other grand and acting Provincial grand officers. He lauded the companions who delivered the robe addresses and he made particular note of the very hard work of Duncan Smith, Ken Jones and John Robbie Porter for ensuring the smooth running of the meeting. A very fine evening was brought to a close by Steve Smith who proposed the janitor’s toast.