Several years ago, at a lodge installation at which South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward was representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, the brethren listened to Phil Houldsworth make a comment during the ceremony to his assistant secretary that his job was akin to ‘Chewbacca’ and that he had to protect Han Solo (Phil) from the brethren. Every time Ian and Phil have met since that time Ian always asks where the ‘Millennium Falcon’ is parked and that evening was no exception when Mike Burnett, the director of ceremonies introduced Ian to Phil as the representative of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison at the convocation meeting of Blackpool Chapter of Fellowship No 7692.
Phil, as first principal, along with his fellow principal’s Jim Finnegan and Tom Houldsworth (his uncle) opened the chapter with their usual flair and sure footedness. Ian Ward, along with his fellow grand officers Harry Cox and Geoff Pritchard, accompanied by John Turpin Chairman of Blackpool Group and his vice chairman and Royal Arch lead David Cook entered the chapter room. Also joining them were acting Provincial grand officers Peter Maxwell and Martyn Jones. Once all had been seated, they were treated to a superb ceremony of installation ably delivered and directed by the installing first principal, Phil.
All three principals did a marvellous job of installing their successors; Tom Houldsworth proclaiming Brian Burgess-Dicks as third principal, Jim Finnegan proclaiming Tom as second principal and Phil installing his good friend Jim, as first principal. Each part of the ceremony was a feast for the eyes and the scripture readings and prayers delivered by Arthur Caldicott and Paul Hunter respectively were a pleasure to the ears.
What can one say about the addresses to the robes? With only three days’ notice Neil Higgins gave a faultless recital to the first principal. Brian Rimmer was equally impressive with his address to the second principal and Phil Houldsworth delivered the blue robe address to round off an estimable display.
Following on from this fine display of ritual, the address to the three principles was delivered by none other than Richard Gosling, the address to the officers of the chapter was delivered by one of the finest ritualists in the chapter Tom Houldsworth, and the address to the companions of the chapter was conveyed by Ian Ward in his usual confident style.
At the completion of the installation, the now immediate past first principal Phil, handed Ian a set of cheques for the following amounts; to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival £250, to NSPCC(Blackpool) £245, Masonic Hall Building Fund £103 and to Rosemere Cancer Foundation £40. Ian thanked the chapter for its generosity and informed the companions that the cheques had been gratefully received and would be faithfully applied.
After the closure of the convocation the brethren retired to the relaxing atmosphere of the club bar where they exchanged funds for the Masonic hall with beer and wine, knowing that their convivial festivities and inebriations was going to a good cause. After a sumptuous meal at the festive board Ian congratulated all that took part in the ceremony that evening and noted that the force is strong in the chapter especially with the new team of principals guiding the ship.
Then, following an excellent rendition of the song to the three principals by John Darrrell accompanied by Phil Bolton on the organ, and on conclusion of the janitor’s toast all went their separate ways and dispersed across the Fylde coast or even to a galaxy far, far away!