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Derbyshire Royal Arch’s contribution to the Craft Tercentenary was held this evening at the Derbyshire Principals’ Chapter Installation meeting in Derby.

What an evening!

First, EComp David Bacon gave a tour de force as MEZ, unexpectedly occupying the chair of MEZ for the whole evening due to the illness of the MEZ-elect Richard Moss.
Secondly, EComp John McDonald occupied the chair of installing H at a few hours’ notice and thirdly, after EComp Bryan Tynan and EComp Denzil Phillips CM had been installed in the chairs of H and J respectively, the Chapter was closed and the Cheshire demonstration team took over the temple.
We were then treated to a demonstration of an 18th century Royal Arch catechism by the Cheshire team. This is a manuscript by John Tunnah, a member of a Bolton Chapter in the 18thC, which was discovered by the late EComp Neville Barker Cryer. I believe the references to four candles and Liverpool Football Club were not in the original document – surely John Tunnah was a Bolton Wanderers fan?

The demonstration was superb, and the Past Second Grand Principal, George Pipon Francis, commented that this was what Royal Arch Masonry should be about – a memorable evening, an enjoyable evening and an informative evening. All in all an excellent way to present further knowledge of the Royal Arch.

Every companion present was given a commemorative booklet of the text of the manuscript, kindly produced and donated by Comp. Mark Lee of St.Oswald Chapter.

The festive board, with around 150 dining, was fun with David Bacon in fine form. We had four birthday boys (Allan Collier, Bob Poxon, Keith Heap and Malcolm Tate) who in order to enjoy their champagne and cake had first to endure being serenaded by the companions. No gain without pain! Many happy returns from us all.

I’m sure that our visitors from other provinces, including the Grand Superintendent of Nottinghamshire and Provincial Principals from Cheshire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire West Riding, all enjoyed the evening (because they told us so). Our sincere thanks go to them and especially to the Cheshire team for performing the demonstration for us – only the third time ever, and the first time outwith Cheshire. They already have other bookings, but thanks to our recently-retired Deputy, Tony Higton, we got ’em first!

The whole evening ran very smoothly, not least due to the expertise of EComps Niall Johnson and Philip Bowler.

Finally, I can report that Denzil had a jolly good night’s sleep after the exertions of the day.