‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is an old colloquial phrase from the southern states of the USA and one that is highly appropriate to the team of Clifton Chapter No 703. At the chapter’s installation meeting at the Masonic hall in Blackpool all three principals remained in office for a further year. David Hall continues to sport the blue robe of third principal while Ian Robertson and Chris Walpole retain the purple and scarlet robes of second and first principals respectively.
One thing that brands a great team is the special individuality of each of its members, producing ceremonies that simply ooze with personality. David Hall, a silver-haired mild man with a kindly face and willing smile is a person whom one would suspect to be most content when a young enthusiastic toddler is kicking penalties and David feigns a fumbled save as custodian of a couple of pullovers so that the budding Beckham can excitedly celebrate the winning goal of a world cup final.
Ian Robertson is an articulate speaker of astute intellect who exudes efficiency in whatever activity he immerses himself, an efficiency that is not a conscious effort but one imprinted in his DNA; it comes that naturally to him. Chris Walpole, the jocular host of ready wit is as relaxed and comfortable in the first principal’s chair as a kitten wallowing in sunshine. Who would wish to break up such a perfect trio?
As all three principals were remaining in their important offices for a further year, the installation ceremony was a simple, speedy proclamation, elaborated by only a few addresses and the idiosyncrasies that are peculiar to Clifton chapter. Martin Haines, a proven master of ritual, performed the robe address to the first principal with such perfection as seems to be second nature to him. Following his example, Phil Holmes was spot on in his recitation of the robe address to the second principal and Peter Louth gave a sincere robe address to the third principal.
As if all had been injected with a dose of superbness, Vernon Broadhurst performed an exemplary address to the three principals and Ernie Gavan rounded off the formalities with a fine delivery of the address to the officers of the chapter.
Observing and thoroughly enjoying the ceremony was David Harrison who was representing the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Supporting David were Supreme Grand Chapter officer Bill Eardley and Peter Bentham, Chairman of the Blackpool group of lodges and chapters. Also in attendance was John Turpin, vice chairman of the Blackpool group and a small but select number of Royal Arch Masons.
No doubt inspired by the excellence of the preceding performances, David delivered the address to the companions with that comfortable ease that makes perfection look a simple task. Conveying the Grand Superintendent’s best wishes to the companions, David congratulated the members of the chapter for their sound judgement in retaining the principals in their current roles to preserve stability and enable younger members to gain further experience and become more fully acquainted with the practices and rituals of Royal Arch Masonry. He was further delighted when handed cheques amounting to a total of £600 as charitable donations, shared equally between Highfurlong School, Talking Newspaper, MacMillan Nurses, and Brian House.
Retiring to the festive banquet in elevated mood and showing little respect for the commencement of Lent, the companions enthusiastically tucked in to their meat and recommended healthy five-a-day portions of seasonal vegetables, followed by a less than healthy serving of delicious sponge pudding. As the wine flowed freely, the mood of the evening became even more relaxed and the personalities in the chapter proved that a great team is a collection of great individuals. Sometimes it is a pity that other winning teams do not retain their offices for a much longer period than a single year.