It was, as Barry Jameson (Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals) said: “A sad duty for me to have to preside over an occasion of a chapter closure after such a long and proud history.”
Urmston Chapter No 1730, which was originally consecrated on 18 January 1883 by its proud founding members had, in more recent years, sought premise in its attempts to continue its years in existence but for that want of the remaining members the decision was made to close this particular chapter.
The evening commenced at Urmston Masonic Hall by the three principals, Ken Allen (in the absence of Neil Stackhouse) acting as first principal, Peter Harding as second principal and Bob Williamson as third principal opening the chapter and commencing business in a swift fashion to a near closure, when the acting director of ceremonies Terry Marney exited the convocation to re-enter announcing that Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barry Jameson accompanied by grand and acting Provincial grand officers were without and he demanded admission.
Barry entered the convocation accompanied by Mike Adams (group chairman), along with David Durling (group vice chairman) Provincial Grand Standard Bearer and Stephen Rhode Provincial Grand Registrar. Having taken their seats, the summons was continued, whereas it was read that in pursuant to notices of motion, the warrant of the chapter was to be surrendered at the closure of business of this particular meeting, surplus funds were to be disbursed as were the chapter artefacts being disposed of for use by other chapters meeting at the Urmston Masonic Hall.
The charitable standing of the chapter members was of course clearly illustrated by their decision to distribute financial closure donations by way of cheques made out to the value of £600 in favour of Ecclesholme and in addition, £607 being made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Barry rose to enquire of the chapter’s close of business status, all of which were responded affirmatively by the scribe Ezra Terry Marney. The chapter was closed for its final time with those inimitable words, ‘and it is closed’, said by the principal sojourner Wally Fraser.
Barry then took possession of the warrant and centenary certificate, the members, grand and acting Provincial grand officers lined up in a north and south respectively and in recessional order each taking up their chapter artefacts for a final time as Urmston Chapter, filed out of the convocation.
Barry said at the festive board that during the evening, the chapter had experienced a proud existence being brought to a close. Barry reflected on the past times of the chapter’s history where it was consecrated in The Lord Nelson Hotel in Urmston, still a local pub and of the same name, selling equally good beer too. Also the same year as the volcano, Mount Krakatoa had erupted in what is now Indonesia. Barry then went on to refer to the 1983 centenary brochure and recited various times enjoyed by the chapter members, their partners, families and friends. Barry similarly referred to the eventual inclusion of the chapter making Urmston Masonic Hall their eventual permanent Masonic home.
Barry congratulated the members and recalling the past members with affection and gratitude for their foresight in nurturing the chapter and for their foresight over the years of its existence and of course to the current members in having to make their closure decision due to diminishing numbers, which having to have seriously and earnestly considered their options and finally agreeing to bring the chapter to a dignified closure.
Barry brought the best wishes and thoughts of the Grant Superintendent Tony Harrison. Barry said that Tony hoped that all the Urmston Chapter companions would consider remaining members of this Royal Arch supreme degree and earnestly conveyed the thoughts that they remained members of it, either in this Province or indeed another.
The collections from the evening charity plate of the chapter resulted in an intended donation of £57 to the local Delamere Toy Library and the proceeds from a raffle resulted in £50 being donated to the to the Urmston Masonic Hall fund.