The companions of Great Eccleston Chapter No 8895, were delighted to welcome Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher (Chris) Charles Butterfield, as the representative of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, at their installation convocation held at Wyrebank, Garstang. Accompanying Chris on this special occasion were fellow
grand officers David Rhodes and Malcolm Worsley, together with acting Provincial grand officers Paul Thompson and Stephen McClintock.
The chapter was opened by first principal Bob Whittingham and as soon as the normal business of the chapter had been completed the assistant director of ceremonies Stephen Hogg entered the chapter to announce the arrival of Chris and his attendant companions.
Following the entry procession and the customary exchanges, the three principals set about the task of installing their successors in an excellent ceremony that was a credit to them all. Neil Hartley was obligated and installed into the third principal’s chair by Scott Devine, who received his installation into the second principal’s chair from Harry Robinson. Harry was in turn installed into the office of first principal by Bob Whittingham.
The robe addresses were presented in a clear and efficient manner by Les Newlands, Steve McClintock and Brian Stoddart.
Following the appointment of the chapter officers, Chris delivered the congratulations and best wishes of the Grand Superintendent, adding that it was Tony’s sincerest wish all three principals and members of the chapter should be blessed with good health to enjoy a happy and fruitful year. Congratulations were proffered to both Bob, for the warm manner in which he had installed his successor and to all who had taken office.
On completion of the address by Chris, Harry Robinson rose to thank him for his kind words and asked him to convey the best wishes of the chapter back to Tony. At this point, Chris was presented with a cheque for £400 made payable to the MCF 2021 Festival, which together with £253.22 collected from the white envelope scheme, made the magnificent sum of £653.22. Chris thanked the chapter for this marvellous sum of money, adding: “On behalf of those who will ultimately benefit, thank you all.”
At the festive board held in the Wyrebank banqueting suite, Chris in response to the toast to the grand officers, was able to convey his own best wishes and congratulations to the chapter. Chris was expansive in his praise for the companions who had taken part in the ceremony, particularly for the work undertaken by the immediate past and installing first principal Bob, who had installed his successor in a delightful, warm and friendly manner. Further praise was offered to Harry, Scott, Neil and the companions who had presented the robe addresses.
Moving on to the topics the Grand Superintendent wished to be conveyed to the companions, Chris began by mentioning the Royal Arch. There are still many Masons who had not taken the ‘fourth step’ in Freemasonry and joined the Royal Arch. Chris urged the companions present to all act as ambassadors for the Royal Arch and encourage those Masons who have not joined, to do so. Currently membership consists of just over 40% of Craft Masons in this Province (slightly more in the Lancaster and District Group), meaning just under 60% are missing out on the completion of ‘Pure and Ancient Freemasonry’.
The second topic Chris touched upon concerned the MCF 2021 Festival. He began by expressing his delight at seeing so many companions wearing the Festival Jewel but wanted to encourage all those who had still to make the pledge to consider it over the coming months. If companions signed up today it would cost as little as 25p per day over the course of the festival and for which they will be given a Festival Jewel they can wear with pride, in the full knowledge they are supporting someone less fortunate than themselves.
Chris finished his address by thanking the officers of the chapter for all their work in making the installation ceremony such a success, with particular thanks to the scribe Ezra Alan Robinson and the DC for the evening Stephen Hogg. Further thanks were proffered to the acting Provincial grand officers Paul Thompson and Stephen McClintock for their support and also to the group officers for all their hard work in making the group such a success. Particular mention was made of the group chairman Jim Wilson who is to retire at the next Provincial Grand Lodge meeting. Jim had put in an enormous amount of effort over the last 10 years and he will be sorely missed.
Bob Whittingham proposed the toast to the three principals and the ‘principals song’ which followed, was performed with style by John Chesters, with excellent accompaniment by Malcolm Worsley. Harry, on behalf of the three principals, thanked all those who had taken part in the ceremony before presenting Chris with a bouquet of flowers for his wife. A wonderful evening was rounded off by the announcement the raffle at the festive board had raised £188.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.