Frank Philip (Phil) Gardner was warmly welcomed as the representative of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, when he visited Rowley Chapter No 1051 installation convocation and witnessed what he described as a ‘relaxed and happy’ ceremony, held at Lancaster Masonic Hall. Phil was accompanied and supported by Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, vice chairman Scott Devine, grand officers Jim Wilson, Peter Mason and Frank Clarke, together with acting Provincial grand officers Andrew Bartlett, Tony Cassells, Peter Pemberton and Chris Larder.
On entering the chapter, Phil was introduced to three principals by the chapter director of ceremonies Doug Willoughby. First principal John Berry welcomed Phil and expressed his wish that he hoped he would have an enjoyable evening. Phil replied that ‘he was delighted to be attending the convocation at Rowley Chapter, but for an awful moment he had thought he was going to be asked to do the ceremony’, much to the amusement of all the companions present.
Following the valedictory address from the first principal to his officers, the three principals-elect were duly obligated and then installed or inducted. The ceremony saw Anthony (Tony) Woof Jackson, as a past first principal, renew his vows, Daniel Crossley take the purple robe of second principal and Phil Irving the blue robe of third principal.
The robe addresses were given by Tony Dickinson (address to first principal), Paul Seacy (address to second principal) and Paul Morgan the blue robe address.
As the ceremony came to a close, Phil Gardner was eager to bring greetings from the Grand Superintendent. Phil was sure that had Tony been able to be present in person, he too would have enjoyed an excellent ceremony and would have wished to congratulate everyone who had taken part and to give his best wishes to the companions for an enjoyable year.
Phil was also delighted to receive a cheque in the sum of £750 in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival, which entitled the chapter to become a ‘Patron of the Festival’. The first chapter in the group to attain the honour.
At the festive board held in the Rowley Court banqueting suite, Phil was able to bring his own congratulations and good wishes to the companions of Rowley Chapter and to bring them up to date with the latest news from the Province.
Phil began by expressing his delight at witnessing Tony being placed in the chair of first principal again. He had known Tony for a long time and it was great to have a ‘natter’ with him during the festive board.
Phil reiterated his earlier observation that it had been an excellent convocation and congratulated John Berry for his work, as well as Peter Pemberton and Daniel Crossley for their part in the ceremony in installing the second and third principals respectively.
Moving on, Phil updated the companions on the latest news and initiatives of the Province, including the MCF 2021 Festival and membership. Phil offered his personal congratulations and admiration to Rowley Chapter for achieving ‘Patron’ status and then regarding membership, he concentrated on the message that once we do get new members, give plenty of encouragement and get them to come to every meeting so that they feel part of the chapter.
In conclusion, Phil thanked the group officers for all their work and expressed his wish that Rowley Chapter have a wonderful year.
Following a very complimentary toast to the three principals by John Berry it was announced that the raffle had raised £221.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.