In the normal run of events the installation meeting of Abbey Chapter No 1225 would have involved different personnel taking the prominent roles.
Circumstances conspired to prevent things going to plan at the ceremony held at Barrow in Furness Masonic Hall in the presence of Chris Butterfield Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals representing the Grand Superintendent.
Adding lustre to the occasion were two acting officers of the Province in the persons of assistant director of ceremonies John Torrance and steward David Smith.
First principal Bob Carr has not enjoyed the best of health recently and was unable to take part in the ceremony. However the chapter were extremely pleased that he was able to be present and observe proceedings. Tony Nevinson took over as installing first principal, a role he performed with great style.
In the grand scheme of things Doug Smith should have moved from second to first principal but work changes ruled this out. The pharmaceutical giant who employs him has promoted Doug to a role with a European and African wide responsibility which precludes him from making progress in the chapter at this time.
This meant that Tony Cassells could eagerly avail himself of the opportunity of returning to the post of first principal once again. His original stint in that role in 2013 had been blighted by health issues and he was looking forward to a year without any medical problems so he could enjoy a full and active term as head of Abbey Chapter.
Derek Forrest asked to remain as third principal as other upcoming Masonic commitments would conflict with his planned year as first principal.
Stepping into the breach as second principal was Brian Clarke. These changes in the dramatis personae could barely have been envisaged at the last installation meeting when an established succession plan was thought to be in place. Abbey Chapter, as with many other lodges and chapters, is fortunate in being able to call upon past first principals who are willing to be recycled when an unexpected hiatus occurs.
For his efforts Tony Nevinson was immediately promoted to the position of director of ceremonies to replace chapter stalwart John Marriott who had overseen the first part of the ceremony.
Chris had to sing for his supper and undertook the delivery of the address to the companions. The address to the three principals was given by Ken Griffiths and that to the companions in office by Derek Leviston.
To mark the occasion Chris was presented with a cheque for £1,225 made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.