On a very warm September evening, the companions of Willington Royal Arch Chapter assembled at Willington Masonic Hall to welcome the Grand Superintendent John Thompson accompanied by his provincial officers, on their first full team visit of 2023.
This was an extra special evening for the Chapter, not only being honoured with a full team visit, but also witnessing the exaltation of Ben Shirley of Willington Lodge.
The three principals opened the Chapter, with Peter Smith acting as Z for the evening. The first business was to welcome back a rejoining member, Clifford Slater. The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies then announced that John and his team were at the door, and then followed the procession into the Chapter room.
Peter welcomed John, and his team then took their places to witness the exaltation of Ben Shirley, performed excellently by the Officers of the Chapter.
During the 2nd rising the Chapter presented John with 3 envelopes containing cheques or “promises of bank transfers”, each with £100 going to Durham Benevolence, the Durham Masonic Fishing Charity and Durham TLC. In the 3rd and 4th risings the Scribe E. read out a thank you card from Angela Hall, the wife of Alan Hall, for the gifts she had received from the Chapter for hand crafting coloured surrounds for each of the principals’ pedestals.
The Chapter was then closed, and all retired to the festive board where a meal was served befitting the special occasion, which was ably served by the members’ wives.
In response to his toast John thanked the Chapter for a wonderful evening and hoped that everyone felt rested and refreshed after the summer break. He went on to thank the Chapter for their donations and said that rather than use his usual cue cards to write his response he had been able to use the donation envelopes as there was nothing inside them, that was until he opened the one for the fishing charity which did contain a cheque.
John hoped that Ben enjoyed his exaltation ceremony and appreciated the setting of the chapter resembling the temple in Jerusalem, and the great lengths they had gone to in making the “temperature” in the room the same as it would have been in Jerusalem.
The Provincial Team were thanked by John for turning out in full and supporting him.