The installation meeting of North Meols Chapter No 5828 took place at Southport Masonic Hall and was attended by over 70 Royal Arch companions who witnessed Mike Packingham installed in to the first principal’s chair by his predecessor Mark Matthews in a very fine ceremony.
After the initial business of the chapter had been conducted, David Thomas, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies informed the chapter that Paul Renton, the Second Provincial Grand Principal, was outside and demanded admission. Paul was then admitted in ceremonial style that befitted his rank accompanied by Bryan Henshaw, Chris Hamilton, George Fletcher and Robert Thornton-Davidson.
Once they were all seated Mark and the principals all rose and offered a warm welcome to Paul and the chapter’s distinguished guests and hoped that everyone would have a very enjoyable evening. Mark then handed over the chapter sceptre to Paul who said it would be a privilege to accept it; however, pointing out it is a greater privilege to install your successor, he promptly handed it back and resumed his seat.
Mark Matthews then requested that Dennis Cox remain in the position of scribe Nehemiah and that Brian Ogden occupy the chair of third principal and Brian Forsdike occupy the chair of the second principal for the installation ceremony which they were all delighted to do. The three principals elect were then presented to each of the installing principals in turn by the chapter DC Richard Snape to mark the start of the installation proceedings with Mike Packingham being installed as first principal, John Karran as second principal and Paul Hardman as third principal.
Flawless robe addresses were then given; Mark Matthews to the first principal, Mike Packingham to the second principal and John Karran to the third principal. Mike’s first business was to appoint his officers for the ensuing year which he did with style. Following this, the address to the three principals was superbly delivered by Chris Hamilton, the address to the officers of North Meols Chapter was delivered by Geoff Jackson and the address to the companions was delivered very eloquently by the distinguished guest Paul Renton.
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Paul Renton rose to convey congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison, to all who took part in producing a wonderful ceremony that was rich in ritual and deserving of the lustre of such a fine chapter. Paul added that the evening was very enjoyable and it was clear to see that the companions had obviously put a lot of effort into learning the ritual. He then wished the three principals a very enjoyable year. Paul then congratulated the very confident way in which Mark Matthews installed Mike Packingham as first principal and delivered the robe address; as well as congratulating Richard Snape who successfully managed such a fine installation ceremony.
Mike then presented four cheques to Paul, the first for £371.25 to the Southport Masonic Hall Foundation the second of £371.25 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the third for £400 again to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the fourth for £200 to Queenscourt Hospice. Paul graciously accepted the cheques on behalf of the charities and added that for such a fine chapter this is a very large amount to donate, and on behalf of the recipients he would like to say very many thanks.
Paul and his entourage then retired from the chapter before the final business was transacted by Mike, who then closed the chapter and all retired to the festive board for a fabulous meal of garlic mushrooms, roast lamb with seasonal vegetables, with ice cream for dessert, followed by coffee and After Eight mints.
Following the toast to the grand officers proposed by John Karran, Paul rose and said he was delighted to spend the evening with such a congress of companions – the collective name for Baboons. Joking aside he said it was so great to be there with Chris Hamilton and Bryan Henshaw; who has just been installed as master of Lodge of Perseverance No 155. Paul said that he had attended this memorable installation only surpassed by the story of Chris Hamilton’s installation of his gas boiler.
Paul added that the ceremony upstairs was very dignified and he was sure that this will be carried on by Mike who was a joining member following the closure of his own chapter. He also thanked Colin Jenkins for his company and discovered that Colin was a motorcycle enthusiast adding that although people think motorcycles are dangerous machines the most dangerous part of a motorcycle is the nut that connects the saddle to the handlebars.
With his speech completed Mike rose and thanked Paul for his company and informed the companions that the collection raised £77, the raffle £112 with a donation of £25 brought the total raised on the evening to £214. Closing the festive board Mike added that he would uphold the high ceremony of North Meols Chapter and was looking forward to starting to revise the exaltation ceremony for the next meeting.