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Hardy Companions


March 2018

The regular meeting of Hebburn Royal Arch Chapter on the 27th February was due to be a rather special and busy night but plans changed on the night due to the heavy snow and ill-health.

Second Provincial Grand Principal, Gordon Brewis, brought his team up to Hebburn with the intention of presenting long service certificates to Sydney Harrison (60 years) and Jim Nichol (50 years) but unfortunately both were not well enough to attend.

To their credit, all but one of the provincial visitors had made the journey, despite the snow and ice, and so the business of the evening continued without the distinguished companions.

Gordon noted that he has presented many long service certificates over the past few years but the 60th to Syd is only his second, highlighting what an achievement that is.  Syd is very well known in Hebburn & Jarrow, both masonically and in his work and private pursuits.  Many an initiate has had the light restored only to see their former Head Teacher or Scout Master presiding over affairs, ready to welcome them into the fraternity and always available for sage words of advice – or due admonishment!  Unfortunately Syd is not in the best of health and it seems that one thing after another is preventing him from maintaining his continuous presence in the hall of Hebburn and Jarrow but Gordon took the opportunity to congratulate him on this landmark and asked that the Most Excellent and Almoner pass on his best wishes when they deliver the certificate to Syd’s home.

Likewise, Jim Nichol, a fellow Grand Lodge Officer, was also absent because of his own health issues so Gordon gave a brief resume of Jim’s Chapter career for the benefit of the few who were unaware.  Although Syd has 10 years service on Jim, Syd concentrated on other matters and did not pass through the principal chairs.  Jim not only occupied those chairs but took on Grand rank and, as Gordon noted, held the same rank of 2nd Provincial Grand Principal.  Gordon was hoping to have asked Jim what the province required in his time as he had heard that it was only a one year appointment back then as, in contrast, Gordon is now into his 4th year, and they say that nothing changes in freemasonry.  Jim is also well known outside of the Hebburn lodges, either in his engineering firm or his excellent work with the St John Ambulance, culminating in appointment as a Knight of St John.  Gordon also asked that his best wishes are conveyed to Jim when the Chapter representatives deliver his certificate.

The presentations concluded, Michael Graham gave up his Scribe Ezra pedestal to allow Gordon to present a short task on the Two Scribes and the Building of the Second Temple.

Gordon introduced the talk by stating that the intention of this presentation is to provide an alternative, perhaps, to a demonstration exaltation and suggested that other chapters may wish to contact him to arrange due attendance and presentation by himself or a deputy.  The purpose of the talk is to build on the oft recited ritual and provide some background information to some of the words we deliver to our exaltees.  The talk was duly delivered in an eloquent and informative fashion, filling in some of the chronological gaps of the story we tell and improving the general insight and understanding of the ritual as a whole.

The historic background duly delivered, Gordon restored Michael to his post and allowed the regular business of the evening to be continued and completed.

At the back of everyone’s minds this evening was, unfortunately, the weather and with the formalities completed downstairs, Gordon gave his personal thanks to his hardy team of provincial officers for their efforts braving the elements to travel to Hebburn and wished everyone a safe journey home.

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