“I hope you have enjoyed the evening as much as I have”, were the words used by the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison when he attended the regular and installation convocation of Carnforth Chapter No 4951 at Kerneforde Hall, Carnforth, as their principal guest.
This special evening was further enriched by the presence of Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Christopher (Chris) Butterfield, grand officers Christopher Band, Peter Mason, Frank Clarke, Keith Kemp, John Robson and Keith Lowson. Also supporting Tony on this occasion were the Lancaster and District Group Vice Chairman Neil McGill, group secretary and assistant secretary Scott Devine and Chris Larder respectively, together with the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah David Barr and fellow acting Provincial grand officers Paul Thompson, David Tattersall and Steve McClintock. Coordinating events effectively both in the temple and at the festive board was the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcom Bell.
On being introduced to the Grand Superintendent as he entered the chapter, the first principle Chris Isherwood welcomed Tony and as is traditional offered him the sceptre. Tony replied that he was looking forward to an excellent ceremony and with that in mind I will return the sceptre.
Tony, having taken his rightful place in the chapter, Chris Isherwood rose to give his valedictory address, in which he thanked the companions of the chapter for all their hard work during the last year and hoped they would continue with the same commitment for his successor.
Each of the three prospective principals were in turn presented by the DC Roger Nevinson, to receive the benefit of installation, following which Philip Newby was installed as first principal, Jim Stewart took the purple robe of the second principal and Peter Wood the blue robe of the third principal. The robe addresses to the first, second and third principles were delivered in fine fashion by Richard Blenkharn, Fred Frobisher and Kevan Isherwood respectively.
The address to the three principles was conveyed with style by Christopher Band, that to the chapter officers was equally well presented by Chris Brown, whilst the address to the companions was presented by Chris Butterfield with precision and ease.
At the completion of the ceremony, Tony Harrison rose to offer his congratulations to the three principals on achieving their respective chairs and hoped they had the good health to enjoy their year in office. Tony was exuberant in his praise, noting that the companions must have been doing their homework to produce such a splendid ceremony and was thrilled that he had had the opportunity to be present to witness it.
It was with great pleasure that Tony received notification of charitable donations made to the MCF 2021 Festival amounting to £771 (which included £321 in white envelope donations). In recognition of the chapter’s contributions to the festival, Tony presented them with a certificate denoting their status as a Vice Patron of the MCF 2021 Festival.
At the festive board, held in the Kerneforde Hall Banqueting Suite, Chris Butterfield responded to the toast to the grand officers by congratulating the chapter officers for all their hard work in making the ceremony so enjoyable and echoing Tony’s sentiments by hoping they have a healthy and happy year ahead.
Chris then moved to toast the health of the Grand Superintendent and expressed his delight at being in his company, adding that Tony is ‘on home turf’ and has been a visitor to this chapter and Masonic hall on many occasions and was sure he probably knew everyone in the room, a reflection on his dedication and approachability.
In his reply to the toast to his health by Chris, Tony acknowledged his delight on being in his own patch and reiterating his earlier comments on what an excellent meeting he had witnessed and congratulated all who had taken part.
Tony thanked the grand officers for their support, with a special mention for Chris and his fellow Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals in their drive to increase membership of the Royal Arch. For Tony, it is of particular importance to inspire master Masons to join the Royal Arch, as it completes their Freemasonry and suggested that we all consider ourselves as ambassadors and go back to our lodges and tell them what an excellent evening we have had and encourage their interest.
Moving on to discuss the MCF 2021 Festival, Tony expressed his appreciation for the money donated to the MCF 2021 Festival by the chapter and was grateful to all the companions who had made the pledge to support the festival, but for those who haven’t, he hopes they will in due course. In conclusion, Tony expressed his hope that the companions of Carnforth Chapter had another wonderful Masonic year ahead.
Responding to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, David Barr extended congratulations to the DC and his team of officers for a ceremony that everyone thoroughly enjoyed, adding that personally it has always been a pleasure to visit the north of the Province and hopes the companions of Carnforth Chapter would have an enjoyable year and remember this evening for many years to come.
Following the toast to the three principals by Chris Isherwood, a delightful performance of the ‘Principals Song’ was rendered by Fred Fox, with stirring accompaniment by David Tattersall. Responding to these tributes, Phil Newby thanked his fellow companions for assisting in producing a wonderful evening and expressed his desire to enjoy his year in office and visit as many chapters as possible.
The enjoyment of the evening was further emphasized by the announcement that the raffle had raised a total of £260 and the charity collection £182.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.