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Monday 23rd April was a special evening at Chantrey Chapter.

First and foremost an excellent exaltation ceremony and warm welcome to the candidate Raymond Cantwell conducted by the stand-in First Principal Excellent Companion David P.G. Booth, ably supported by his co-principals Christopher E. Bowler and Jason L. Kocsis.

It was quite appropriate, and a complete surprise for Ray, that Excellent Companion David took the chair for this ceremony as he and Raymond have strong personal ties and David was his proposer.

Following the address at the Annual Provincial Grand Chapter meeting, Chantrey followed the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent’s suggestion and delivered an abridged ceremony with E. Companion Barrie W Townsley delivering the signs only, in order to keep the impact of the exaltation ceremony interesting and not overwhelming for the candidate. Companion Cantwell was informed that he would be treated to an explanation of the three lectures in full at some future occasion.

The abridged ceremony was appropriate for the evening as the exaltation ceremony was not the only important business on the summons.

Of equal importance was the celebration of Excellent Companion James D. Smith’s 50 years as a Royal Arch Companion in Chantrey Chapter. Excellent Companion Barrie Tipping, Third Provincial Grand Principal, presented Companion Jim with his certificate in a most warm, relaxed and courteous manner whilst seated in discussion with Jim.

Excellent Companion Barrie told the companions how Jim was exalted into Chantrey Chapter in April of 1968. Jim, as he is known to us, is a retired accountant with many years’ experience and a family man residing only a mile or so from our Masonic Hall at Ecclesall with his dear wife Pam whose current state of health prevents him from attending our meetings on a regular basis. A quiet unassuming individual who is always there to assist in moments of doubt or when opinion was required.
Within four years of his exaltation he was installed as ‘J’ Feb 1972, installing each of his successors until he was installed as  ‘Z’ in the Feb of 1974. Indeed it would appear that as a result of Jim’s dedication to the Royal Arch and in particular Chantrey Chapter in 1978 he was appointed Prov Grand Standard Bearer (Acting) as a first Provincial appointment – quite some achievement!
Once through the First Principal’s Chair Jim recalled being secretary for the Committee at times when changes to the presentation of ritual occurred. His memories are those of spending some time with strong individuals who were past ‘Z’s on the committee and negotiating successfully the route from a stance of “why should we change” to smoothing the transition to the amended presentations.
Barrie informed the assembled Companions that Jim had felt perhaps some of the changes if they had occurred a little earlier would have been beneficial to the Royal Arch and freemasonry in general.

In February of 1988 Jim stepped up to the mark when there was nobody qualified to progress and occupied the Third Principal’s chair for a second time. He was Installed ‘J’ February 1988 progressing through each chair again reaching ‘Z’ in February 1990. He was promoted to Past Provincial G.S.N. in 1988.

Having said how much Jim has done for Chantrey Chapter by ‘passing through these three chairs regularly’, Barrie highlighted that Jim had also served the Chapter as Treasurer for 25 years. Having officially retired he has always remained as a valuable resource and point of contact for cases of difficulty in balancing our accounts!

Finally having presented Jim with his certificate he led the companions in wishing Jim many more happy years as a Royal Arch Freemason.