Fleetwood Chapter No 3711 came in for lots of praise from Second Provincial Grand Principal Peter Elmore who described the work he and Assistant Provincial Grand Principal David Randerson saw enacted by the three principals and other companions as “excellent” and “a stunning performance.” He told David: “They’re good, and you can chalk them off on your list.”
Peter and David were accompanied by grand officer Stuart Thornber, North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith and acting officers PrDGDC Neil MacSymons, PrPGSoj David Leadbetter and PrGStwd David Barr.
These acting officers too got into the act as part of the ceremony, which was conducted with much good humour, by performing what Peter was later to describe as a Morris Dance as they took their seats, but he said that by the end of the evening they and the chapter were quickly “waltzing gracefully.”
Installing principal Mike Brayshaw, after welcoming his distinguished guests, was soon in action performing his duties faultlessly and with great warmth during the ceremony which saw John Wright assume the first principal’s chair and, in turn, he and second principal Robert Thompson welcoming Derek Wilson into the third chair. Derek is no stranger to high office in Fleetwood Chapter having previously been first principal in 2002.
During the installation of the three principals, sojourners Harold Hargreaves, Chris Carnell and Andrew Curtis read from scripture and Chris, Jim Moon and late substitute Dennis Smith, ADC, gave the Robe Addresses in colourful fashion.
As the installation unfolded Fleetwood Chapter’s Robbie Heywood, senior officer and last surviving founder of the chapter, addressed the three principals in time honoured manner.
After the appointment and investment of officers almoner Tony Alderton formally addressed them with his own unique version of the address, learned in a chapter elsewhere, and which added to the special occasion.
Peter Elmore gave the address to the companions and, following announcement that the ceremony of installation was complete, done with a wide grin from Mike Brayshaw, Peter brought the greetings and good wishes of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison to John Wright, his co-principals and the companions of 3711 and heartily congratulated the chapter on the manner in which the installation had been done.
Thanking him for his words the new first principal presented Peter with cheques destined for worthy local good causes. Red Marsh School for severely disabled children received £200 and Fleetwood Coastwatch Station received £50. Peter thanked the chapter on behalf of the eventual recipients.
Mike Brayshaw was presented with his past principal’s jewel by Scribe E Bob Boal as the first pleasant duty John Wright had to perform.
At the very fun filled festive board which followed, Peter Elmore responded at the toast to the grand officers.
He spoke about the enjoyment he and his colleagues had derived from the day praising the efforts of every companion involved, particularly Mike Brayshaw as installing principal, and that the successful results of the day were a credit to the efforts of the DC Alan Wilkinson and his ADC Dennis Smith.
Turning to current issues affecting the Royal Arch he spoke about such matters as improving membership from the present 48% of potential members from the Craft in West Lancashire.
He spoke too about the innovations which were currently being piloted in the Province which would enhance the dramatic effects of ceremonies in what is already the most colourful degree of Freemasonry.
He underlined too the importance of Gift Aid in Masonic charitable giving
Peter also thanked the acting officers for supporting him and Fleetwood Chapter. He congratulated the companions who had received honours, going on to say that he looked forward to seeing them and a good contingent of supporters from Fleetwood Chapter on April 8 at the excellent facilities provided for Provincial Grand Chapter at its new venue in Southport.