The Companions of the Chapter, the Officers of the Delegation and the Visitors
Wednesday 16th March 2016, Radcliffe Masonic Hall saw the sad closure of the Radcliffe Chapter No 2701.
Whilst it was indeed a saddening affair it was also an appropriate celebration of the Chapter and its members past and present.
EComp David Thompson with the Chapter members and the District Officers
EComp David Thompson and the Companions of Radcliffe Chapter
The chapter room had the expected vibrant decor of a Royal Arch Chapter and the ceremony itself was both emotionally and expertly delivered. As well as the closing of the Chapter, this was Radcliffe’s last installation which saw EComp David Barlow, PProvDepGSwB, installed as First Principal, EComp Peter Morgan, PProvGSwB, installed as Second Principal and EComp Patrick McEvoy installed as Third Principal.
On top of that EComp David Thornton, PGStB, APGP, Scribe E of Radcliffe Chapter was attending his last ever private Chapter meeting as the APGP for the Western area. May I take this opportunity to thank David for all he has done for our area. I have known him only a short time but he has, without doubt, been an influence on my RA Freemasonry……..a positive one I should add. Thank you David on behalf of myself and all the companions of the Bury District and Western area.
David gave a brief update on significant events within the Chapter since 1995. To read this in full please follow this LINK. I strongly recommend this to your reading.
EComp David Thompson receives the Warrant of the Chapter from the Three Principals
ECompanions Peter Morgan, David Barlow and Patrick McEvoy
The ceremony and social board was graced with many visiting companions along with a Provincial Delegation. Radcliffe Chapter was honoured by the presence of EComp David H Thompson, PAGSoj, The Second Provincial Grand Principal for East Lancashire who always brings a certain panache to the proceedings. EComp Thompson read the closing Eulogy, which was fantastic. Again please follow this LINK to read the Eulogy in full. It is heart felt to say the least.
I mentioned panache, another example of which was the ceremony ending with all the companions parading out the room, EComp Thompson being the last to leave, carrying with him the Charter of the Chapter. As he left the room he switched off the lights one last time and closed the door on Radcliffe Chapter No 2701………..
A small gesture but very poniant.
The social board was the celebration and what a celebration it was. Amazing company, heart felt speeches and good company.
It occurs to me that since joining the District team, I have attended closures of Chapters and Lodges which I have never visited and always leave wishing it was not closing as I’d like to visit them again. A loss and fault on my part. I shall be endeavouring to visit more Chapters and Lodges. I often say it is the backbone of Freemasonry and I stand by that. Visit Chapters, chat with like minded companions, make new friends and you never know, if a struggling Chapter has more visitors every meeting then maybe it won’t close.
The closure of any Chapter or Lodge is both regrettable and a reminder that the recruitment drive is of importance to every single Freemason be that Royal Arch, Craft or any of the Other Orders. Speak to friends and associates you feel appropriate, attend the recruitment seminars, let people know what an amazing fraternity we are part of.
I hope and I am sure that the companions of Radcliffe Chapter No 2701 felt that we, the visiting companions, contributed to a respectful celebration as much as we felt welcomed and honoured to be invited.
EComp Leigh Rickett
© 2016, all text and images contained in this post are the property of the author and photographer respectively.