Neptune’s voyage reaches final destination

Neptune Chapter No 1264 has surrendered its charter, which was issued on 2 February 1927, being consecrated on 13 April of the same year, its first meeting being held at the Exchange Station Hotel at 3.45 p.m. That first meeting would have been some occasion, with the consecrating first principal, the then Provincial Grand Master John Hearn Burrell, assisted by second and third principals Llewellyn Crawshay Bailey and George Alfred Forshaw respectively. Llewellyn Bailey would later succeed John Burrell as Provincial Grand Master in 1929.

Pictured from left to right, are: (front row) Ted Bickley, Sam Robinson, Arnie Neale, Hughie O’Neill, Ron Ibbs, Bob Hall, Miles Cotterall and Keith Saunders. (back row) Brian Heaney, Ron Basnett, Don Chetwynd and David Kemp.

Pictured from left to right, are: (front row) Ted Bickley, Sam Robinson, Arnie Neale, Hughie O’Neill, Ron Ibbs, Bob Hall, Miles Cotterall and Keith Saunders. (back row) Brian Heaney, Ron Basnett, Don Chetwynd and David Kemp.

Immediately following the consecration, Llewellyn Bailey installed the three principals of Neptune Chapter, first principal George Barclay, second principal Edward Nicholson and third principal William Baybut Procter. The meeting continued with 8 Royal Arch Masons who were members of Neptune Lodge elected as joining members, with another from Minerva Lodge 4002, plus the proposal of 12 other new members (presumably of Neptune Lodge) for exaltation and a further five proposals for joining membership.

Sam Robinson holds the charter as companions retire

Sam Robinson holds the charter as companions retire

Moving on to 2019, Neptune Chapter was opened for the final time in the Egyptian room of Liverpool Masonic Hall with much sadness. After a long and thoughtful period, the members had reached the pragmatic conclusion that this was the correct decision, even taking into account the centenary of the chapter in 2027.

The meeting was opened in due form by Hughie O’Neill, who was standing in for the first principal Tony Christy, who sadly could not attend due to a close family illness. Hughie was assisted by second principal Arnie Neale and for the early part of the evening Ron Ibbs stood in as third principal, until the arrival of Richard Bird who had been delayed at work.

 The chapter was pleased to welcome Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson, accompanied by David Kemp, vice chairman of the Royal Arch for the Liverpool Group. Don Chetwynd gave a short history on the history of the chapter, after which the final charitable donations were given. These cheques, prepared by treasurer Miles Cotterall were in favour of the MCF 2021 Festival £456.15p, Zoe’s Place £300, Friends of Tithebarn £300 and the League of Welldoers £100. They were all handed to Sam for onward distribution.

This being an unusual evening, with no regular ceremony for the chapter to follow, it speaks volumes for the steady work undertaken on the night by the DC Ted Bickley, ably assisted by Keith Saunders, who ensured everything flowed smoothly.

Neptune Chapter cuff-links presented by Tony Christie

Neptune Chapter cuff-links presented by Tony Christie

After assurances had been given that all the books had been audited and found correct, all dues and subscriptions paid and clearance certificates issued, the chapter was duly closed for the final time. Sam Robinson then received the charter on behalf of Supreme Grand Chapter from Hughie O’Neil and at this point the valedictory address was given. This was followed by an extremely touching moment for the members, for unknown to them, the first principal of Neptune Chapter Tony Christie, had commissioned a set of cuff-links for each person. As stated earlier, Tony was unable to be present on the evening due to nursing his wife.

Following this, all present moved into the dining room to partake in a rather misnamed ‘festive board’. However, the mood was not sombre, but rather more reflective, remembering happier occasions and the incredible people of Neptune Chapter throughout the years.

The last supper

The last supper

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