What a superb meeting was had at the February Convocation: The Provincial Team were in attendance and two ceremonies were being undertaken. The caterer had requested an 8:30 start time and so certain parts of the ceremonies were curtailed. Unfortunately E Comp Andrew Kerslake had been suffering with a cold and bad cough and couldn’t take part in the ceremony so the DC, E Comp Adrian Halliwell, asked the Provincial Haggai, E Comp Clive Lambert, if he would take the role, which he was pleased to do.
The Chapter was opened by E Comp Peter Chidzey, MEZ, bang on 6:30pm with all companions seated in the temple, which saved the processing in of MEGS and The Team and the usual agenda items were dealt with quickly. The ballot for Bro Matt Layzell proved clear and the Principal Sojourner retired to entrust him. Bro Matt was then brought into the Chapter and the ceremony continued. During the Exaltation the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Principals did the readings and prayers, MEGS, E Comp John Bennett, delivered the Obligation, DGS, E Comp Alan Holton, the Address, and E Comp Barry Woodside the Explanation of the Signs. Comp Matt was presented by MEGS the Exaltee’s Guide and a set of cufflinks.
Part two of the evening was the Dedication of the Square and Compasses in memory of E Comp Walter Cole, PG Soj. MEGS was presented to MEZ who proffered the Sceptre which E Comp John took and thanked MEZ on behalf of himself and the Team for allowing them to Dedicate the Square and Compasses. The Principals and Officers places were taken by the Provincial Officers under the direction of E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC. MEGS then gave a short introduction of what would be happening and why. MEZ then requested the Square and Compasses to be dedicated. A deputation of MEZ, 3rd Principal, E Comp Jason Vincent, and E Comp Adrian Halliwell formed up in the south and retired from the Chapter. They returned, with the addition of E Comp Andrew Kerslake, H of 1966, with E Comp Adrian bearing the Square and Compasses, which he then took around the Chapter. When this was completed the items were placed on a pedestal and E Comp Adrian read an appreciation of E Comp Walter and his life in and out of masonry. The prayers of Dedication were then given and MEGS then invited the Officers of 1966 to resume their seats. MEZ then thanked the Team for this Dedication Ceremony.
The meeting was then completed and closed at 8:15pm, without a retiring procession, and Companions then adjourned to the Festive Board. The Provincial Team were spread out among the members of 1966 so that a good atmosphere was had throughout. During the Speeches MEZ thanked MEGS and The Team for the wonderful job they had done which would have been really appreciated by E Comp Walter. MEGS responded and thanked the Chapter for allowing the Team to do this Dedication which has never been done for the Square and Compasses before, and talked of how Walter was well known and liked around this and other Provinces. The Toast to the Exaltee was given by E Comp Haggai to which Comp Matt responded thanking the Chapter and the Provincial Team. The Toast to the Visitors was given by E Comp Jim Nicol, Scribe E, and response by E Comp J Peter Layzell, cousin of Comp Matt, with some family history and what a wonderful evening this had been.
On the Parish Notices, MEZ thanked those that had stood in this evening at very short notice, especially E Comp Clive Lambert, E Comp Jim Hill and E Comp Ron Troup, and also Comp Chris Waterhouse, Principal Sojourner, who had learnt the whole of the Sojourners’ parts at a few days notice.