The evening started early at 4:30 for the Provincial Team who were to perform the Ceremony of the Veils. This was the first Team Visit of the current Masonic Year and was a special evening for 291 Chapter, more later.
The Chapter was opened in due form by E Comp David Smith, MEZ, and the first item of the Agenda was the passing to the Grand Chapter above of E Comp Tom E Smith, PPGSoj (Surrey) on 26th July. The eulogy was given and Companions stood to order in respect of departed merit. Once the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed there was an alarm and E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, was admitted. He announced that MEGS E Comp D John Bennett was without with the Provincial Team and he demanded admission. MEGS then entered and was welcomed by MEZ and proffered the sceptre, which on this occasion he accepted. He then explained what was going to happen and the Team took their respective places for the Veils cerenomy. The Chapter was then Called Off.
Supreme Grand Chapter had given permission for the Ceremony of the Veils to be undertaken once a year by MEGS. The ceremony is similar to the Passing of the Veils as undertaken by Bristol Chapters in their Exaltation ceremonies.
Comp Will Human, the candidate for the evening, who had been held up in traffic on the M5, arriving just in time, was received and the ceremony continued. E Comp Barry Woodside, DepGSupt, acted as narrator which saw the candidate progress through the three coloured veils whence he was asked for the passwords and then he retired. This is where the Exaltation Ceremony as we know it would begin.
MEGS then Called On the Chapter and presented Provincial Steward’s lapel badges to E Comps John Kidd and Tony Schofield. The next item on the Agenda was to present a 50 years certificate and lapel badge to E Comp Reg Ferm. MEGS gave a detailed history of Reg’s progress through the Royal Arch culminating in his appointment as PAGSoj. E Comp Reg thanked the MEGS for those kind words and the Chapter for the many years of their company. Two Grand Chapter Certificates were presented to Companions Andrew Cruickshank and Peter Rouse by E Comp Clive Lambert, Third Prov Grand Principal.
MEGS then asked MEZ be presented and was thanked for allowing the Team to undertake the ceremony and returned the Sceptre. He then presented the Chapter with a copy of the Holy Royal Arch Tracing Board, detailing the history and hoped that, should there be a ceremony without a candidate then a member of the Executive would be pleased to give a short lecture on the Board. MEZ thanked MEGS and the Team for a wonderful and informative evening. MEGS and the Provincial Team retired and the labours of the evening continued:
The three Principals for the following year were declared, E Comp Matt Jarvis as Z; E Comp,Chris Perry as H and Comp Jeff Body as J. Likewise E Comp Tony Schofield was declared at Treasurer.
Other elections were then taken and following the Risings the Chapter was closed and companions retired for the Festive Board which was enjoyed by all. The evening’s raffle proceeds were donated to the Burnham Rescue Boats.