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Success of a Red Table Event

On Monday 29th April, Phoenix and Ala Chapter held a Red Table Event at Stowmarket Masonic Hall. Like a number of Chapters throughout many Provinces there are the occasions when Candidates are very limited and you need to consider something more inspiring than another boring lecture.

Henniker Chapter were in a similar position many months previous and Raymond Pascoe, who was the Provincial Almoner/MENTOR, and Dave Lillis who was the Deputy Grand Superintendent and a member of Henniker Chapter suggested holding a Red Table Event at Henniker Chapter. It was a resounding success.  Hence it was suggested that Phoenix and Ala Chapter should hold a Red Table Event during one of their inactive periods.

E. Companion Mike Caddock PDGS, E. Companion John Kirk PTGP and several other members of the Chapter along with minor assistance from Raymond Pascoe and Dave Lillis held a very successful Red Table event.

The interest from junior Craft Masons and senior Craft Masons was incredible. Quite a few myths were disposed of and the statement “Don’t join the Royal Arch until you’ve been through the Masters Chair” was trashed. There are members who still believe in this but his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent who is the Grand Master and the First Principal has said many times that Craft Masons should join the Holy Royal Arch once they have become Master Masons to complete their fourth step in Masonry.  

On Monday 2nd December Phoenix and Ala Chapter Exalted Bro John Edwards who had attended the Red Table Event back in April at Stowmarket.

The MEZ at his Exaltation was E. Companion Mike Caddock who was a former Deputy Grand Superintendent and I was making an official visit, also attending as a guest was another former Deputy Grand superintendent Dave Lillis who had helped in putting the Red Table events together and wanted to see Bro John Edwards being exalted. The Ceremony was very impressive; the officers had practiced well and delivered a first class Exaltation.  They are now looking forward to another Exaltation at their February Meeting. 


Carols for Christmas

The Royal Arch once again hosted The Christmas Carol Concert at Woodbridge Parish Church on Sunday 8th December. The Service was conducted by the Provincial Chaplain, with readings given by our G.Supt. along with other heads of orders. Christmas Carols were heartly sung to the Church Organ which was played by our Provincial Organist.

The event concluded with Mince Pies and Sausage Rolls. along with coffee and tea.

On behalf of all those attended this was a great start to the festive season.

Centenary Warrant

The planning for our Hartismere Chapter meeting began long ago, not quite 100 years ago but seven when we started saving for the beautiful handcrafted goatskin Centenary Warrant.  

Having been compelled to move from the White Lion some 35 years ago, it was decided at the time, to place into store the various Chapter equipment and chattels as we could use the furniture already at Stowmarket.  

A committee was duly formed last year, the original kit dug out of a vast wooden storage box and the work of restoration began.  Among which much buffing and hard graft was undertaken by the old buffers of Elmset to restore the wonderful furnishings back to their original glory; the five platonic bodies and arch re-painted and various staves polished and the plate of gold was brought back to life.  The repaired hand painted silk banners are a sight to see.  

We planned to hold the meeting exactly 100 years after the consecration on the 16th October and as near to our spiritual home as possible. Sixty Royal Arch Masons therefore gathered to celebrate at the Masonic Hall, Diss, with the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, The Deputy Grand Superintendent and the Third Provincial Grand Principle, as well as a host of Active and Grand officers were in attendance.

With the chapter opened and the introductions over, the original Charter Warrant was read by the Provincial Grand Scribe, the Chapter history presented by the Chapter DC, the Centenary Warrant was then read and presented to Zerubbabel by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent.  Centenary Jewels were then given out by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent with evident joy.

The Third Grand Provincial Principle then re-dedicated the Chapter Furnishings and Chattels with evident warmth and solemnity.  

The Chapter was closed in peace and harmony and we all retired to the Festive Board for a sumptuous six course banquet amid much banter, laughter and happiness.  

I’m already looking forward to the next Centenary meeting of the Chapter, but will I live that long?

Richard Styles

Oh What a Night

Companions, Brethren and Readers, It’s not often that you get to witness a ceremony that not only leaves you feeling emotionally charged but also extremely proud that your MEGS  had a part in it and your own Province were instrumental in the whole thing.

On Friday 11th October a retinue of Suffolk Royal Arch Companions were invited to an Installation meeting at Caversham Chapter No 3831 in the Province of Oxfordshire. The actual meeting place is in the Masonic Hall Henley Road Reading, a really lovely and well decorated Temple.

As any sane person will tell you, don’t venture out on a Friday because only mad people drive on a Friday and that was certainly the case for us. The journey from Suffolk to Reading was horrendous, pouring rain and heavy traffic. However, the reason for this journey was to see E. Companion Michael Boswell, the son of our Grand Superintendent, Installed as MEZ in the Caversham Chapter. Michael was exalted into the Holy Royal Arch by his father and I was fortunate enough to be there on that occasion and it was quite spectacular.   

We arrived with enough time to dry off and get ready, but as we were getting ready a few Grand Superintendents started to arrive followed by even more and then the Second Grand Principal Russell Race arrived. The D.C. directed us all to our reserved seats, the temple was packed. The organist was playing some beautiful music, very appropriate for such an occasion, the DC called us to Order as the Principals entered and opened the Chapter.

The DC then called us to order as the Second Grand Principal with 10 Grand Superintendents and Past Grand Superintendents, as escorts, were escorted into the Chapter. He was offered the Sceptre which he accepted and gracefully returned. The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent J Hilditch was then offered the Sceptre which he accepted, the minutes were then approved and he outlined the procedure for the meeting. The MEZ Graham Howe then resumed the chair and invited our own Grand Superintendent, David Boswell, to take the Chair. If someone says “his eyes were like organ stops” then that is exactly how David’s son Michael’s was.  The installation ceremony was full of emotion; I don’t think anyone didn’t feel a touch of emotion and pride as David Installed his son.

I, Ralph Robertson and John Kirk had a very small part to play in delivering the readings, prayers and H & J Robe addresses and we felt quite proud that Suffolk was intimately involved in such a special occasion.

Once everyone had been installed and the officers had been invested our MEGS, David, gave an address to the Three Principals which is quite unique because it’s very seldom done and is extremely fitting, it reminds the Principals of their duty to the Companions and the Royal Arch.

The convocation ended with both Russell Race and David Boswell being made Honorary Members.

As you would expect, the festive board was itself exceptional and the 12 Suffolk Royal Arch Companions who were invited took wine with “Your Excellencies we will take wine with you” in fine harmonious voice.  Something I don’t think they have seen before but I have no doubt they will witness it again when they come to us for a visit. 

Without any shadow of doubt this was a truly wonderful ceremony, a father installing his son. I guess we all have a vague memory of our own installations but this one will be with those of us who witnessed it for many years to come and for Michael and David I have no doubt that over a glass or two of something they will be able to share that lovely bond of friendship which Freemasonry and the Royal Arch embodies.  God Bless them.

Copy – Ray Pascoe


Saturday 21st September 2019 saw the MEZ of Phoenix & Ala Chapter at Stowmarket, Excellent Companion Peter Farthing, accompanied by the Scribe E, Excellent Companion Codge Barber, attending the launch of the Stowmarket ASD Saturday Club Sensory Library at the Community Hub, Stowmarket. 

This Group supports families with children suffering with Autism.  This launch was to show the new Sensory Library which will provide a variety of items which are designed to help a child or adult adjust to, or cope with, sensory challenges. 

The library contains all manner of items which can be loaned to families for a period of time, just like at a book library.  Phoenix & Ala Chapter were delighted to donate £500.00 towards the costs of the library and the Grand Superintendent was pleased to add an additional £250.00 to this donation.  Our picture shows Excellent Companion Peter Farthing handing over the cheque to the Group organisers.

Copy Ex.Comp. John Kirk


For some time Laconic Lodge have wanted to sponsor a Holy Royal Arch Chapter and during 2018 a total of 28 Founders signed the Petition and after Supreme Grand Chapter had deliberated the new Chapter with the name SPARTA Chapter No 9771 was granted a warrant which was dated 8th April 2019.  As I have been informed the basic precept of Laconic Lodge is brevity and so Sparta Chapter has continued in this vein with the motto “Per breviloquium” meaning “Through brevity of speech”

On Friday 2nd August at Bury St Edmunds on a beautiful and warm summer day in excess of 140 Royal Arch Companions gathered to witness the consecration of the new Chapter. I personally think it is highly unlikely that a consecration like this will ever been seen for some considerable time to come and those who attended will remember this for the rest of their lives.

There were seven Grand Superintendents, eight Deputy Grand Superintendents and many heads of other orders in attendance. The consecrating team was as follows: 1st Principal; Tony Henderson MEGS of Bedfordshire, 2nd Principal; James Sharpley, MEGS of Hertfordshire, 3rd Principal; John Keeble, MEGS of Buckinghamshire and Scribe N Steve Allen, MEGS of Norfolk.

David Boswell, MEGS of Suffolk was installed as founding MEZ

Ian Yeldham, PGM of Suffolk was installed as founding H and

Bill Dastur, MEGS & PGM of Cambridge was installed as founding J.

The whole ceremony was a wonderful mix of sincerity, humour and of course brevity.   

The festive board was a very dignified mix of humour, sincerity and great enjoyment. The speeches didn’t quite adhere to the motto but justifiably they acknowledged the hard work gone into getting the Chapter up and running and the support from the founders and the 120 guests who had supported this amazing consecration.  There was a candle of remembrance which was lit just after the Grace to keep those dining mindful of friends and Companions unable to be with us or whom we had lost. The candle holder was solid silver which had been purchased by Laconic Lodge and presented by the founding Scribe E, Brian Simpson, on behalf of Laconic Lodge to the Chapter during the 3rd and 4th Rising. The candle was extinguished prior to the Janitors toast.    

There are often times when, in the cold light of day, you think to your self “ is the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch really at one with each other” ? The consecration of Sparta Chapter was certainly an example of the unity in the Province of Suffolk between the Craft and the Royal Arch as well as the deep friendship shown by the support from the Rulers of seven Provinces and their willingness to help fellow Rulers in the Province of Suffolk in the consecration of Sparta Chapter.

As a mere founder myself congratulations must be given to Brian Simpson, the founding Scribe E of Sparta Chapter, for taking the challenge to get this Chapter up and running, it is no easy task and there are more hurdles than you can imagine when starting from a plain sheet of paper to receiving  the wonderful Charter of the Chapter.

Well we now have 31 Chapters in Suffolk and long may our increase in numbers be.   

Text Copyright Ray Pascoe – Photo Copyright

Families in Need

The members of Felix chapter decided at their Christmas meeting to donate a sum of £100.00 to FIND (Families in Need), this sum was further enhanced by a matching donation from the discretionary fund administered by the Grand Superintendent on behalf of the Provincial Grand Charity.

Subsequently a cheque for £200 was presented by Ex Comp Jason Flower Z of Felix Chapter to Maureen Reynel MBE founder and Chair of FIND at their current headquarters in Hinds Road Ipswich. During the Christmas period they packed sufficient boxes and individual presents to distribute to 1,000 families, groups such as YMCA and Shaftesbury, and individuals. 40 families in need in Felixstowe were recipients of support during the Christmas period and continue to be supported throughout the year.

FIND has been in existence for over 25 years and because of changing times and the every increasing need for food banks and other basic necessities of life FIND is now with the assistance of many local organisation and people embarking on a new phase of expansion and will be moving to a new home currently owned by Ipswich Borough Council. Planning permission has now been granted and many local firms have given free their services to convert and fit out this new facility. To help meet the financial challenge they have launched “FIND 50” to encourage groups and individuals both small and large to each raise or donate £2,000 for the “FIND 50 £100,000 Lifeline appeal” and over £34k has been raised so far.

Further information of the work of FIND and how you can all help is available on
March 2019

You’re a Freemason, can you keep a secret?

I was asked a similar question to that but not in the way many would expect. As Scribe of Adair Chapter one of my senior companions was reaching close to his 50th year in the Holy Royal Arch.  He had recently received his 50th year certificate for the Craft and on the 13th February 2019 he would have been a member of the Holy Royal Arch for 50years.

The Companion in question was Jeffrey Vertigen, he had been Director of Ceremonies for Adair Lodge for many years, he not only knew the Ritual and the Rubric but he knew how to command the Lodge and get the best out of the members.

His progression in Adair Chapter was a little low down on his to-do list but with some very positive encouragement from Trevor Youngs, the Director of Ceremonies for Adair Chapter, Jeffrey started to make regular attendance and progressed through the three Principals Chairs and successfully installed his successor in October 2018.

During the autumn of 2018 Most Excellent Grand Superintendant (MEGS) David Boswell said he would like to attend Adair Chapter and present Jeffrey with his 50 year certificate but in view of the programme of visits by his Executive he didn’t want to clash with any visits but did want to make a possible flying visit, present the certificate and then leave. Hmm seemed ok to me and Dave Lillis but in order for these things to go to plan you need people to do as they are told, ensure the right people are in the right place without giving anything away.

The Deputy Grand Superintendant (DGS) Dave Lillis, who like me was also in on this, was making an official visit on Wednesday 13th February 2019. He was fully up to speed with what would happen. We would open the Chapter, his ADC would make a Report, DGS Dave Lillis would be escorted in, he would be offered the Sceptre and hand it back, the Escort Party would sit down and we would proceed with the rest of the agenda. Only Dave Lillis, myself and the Chapter DC, Trevor Youngs, knew that MEGS David Boswell may arrive and present the Certificate.

We had completed the best part of the agenda and were now in the Risings;

First Rising.  “Nothing to report”  said I.

Second Rising. MEZ had just stood up when there was a heavy knock on the door. Every one looked astonished at such a heavy smash. Scribe N did his usual and told the MEZ there were two well know Companions outside who would like admission. The companions started talking amongst themselves who the hell is that said one, then in came the Provincial Scribe Nick Le-Grys followed by the MEGS, David Boswell, in his very Posh Regalia. Eyes on organ stops and Jaw dropping was followed by “oh my god no one told us about this.”

David approached the MEZ and said good evening most Excellent, he was offered the Sceptre but declined saying he an important duty to do. He asked the Chapter DC to present Jeffrey Vertigen. David then gave an excellent history of Jeffrey’s Craft career and of his steadfast determination to progress through the offices in Adair Chapter. He congratulated him on 50 years in the Craft and then presented him with a framed certificate celebrating 50 years in the Holy Royal Arch this received rapturous applause. He was then presented with a lead crystal cut glass tumbler as a personal token of appreciation for his support of the Royal Arch and Chapter.

Jeffrey gave very emotional and heartfelt thanks to MEGS for taking the time from his busy schedule to come and make this personal presentation and he was deeply honoured and he really appreciated what has been done. More applause. Jeffrey was then shown back to his seat, a little shell shocked

MEGS then turned to the MEZ, Phillip Dunnett , and Said “Most Excellent I shall now take the Sceptre” and sat down. He turned to his DGS, Dave Lillis, and said DGS please occupy the Chair of Haggai, he then looked at me and said PSGP please take the chair of Joshua.

At this point most of the companions, if not all of them were wondering what was going on.

MEGS then knocked and opened Provincial Grand Chapter.

He called his DC and said “Please bring E. Comp Jeffrey Virtegen to me”. “Jeffrey you have worked hard for this Chapter and your years, as a Member of the Holy Royal Arch, has been commemorated by the presentation of a certificate recognising 50 years but my Scribe E has another certificate for you, and I appoint you a Past Grand Standard Bearer in the Provincial Grand Chapter of Suffolk.”  Well this received wonderful applause. Jeffrey wasn’t quite lost for words but he did look a little stunned. He thanked the MEGS for the honour and he was quite overwhelmed, almost like a night at the Oscars. He was escorted to his seat with applause and just sat there looking at his certificate.

MEGS, David Boswell, closed Provincial Chapter, the Sceptres were returned to the Principals and he thanked the Principals and the Chapter for letting him take over for a short time. He wished them well for their feast at the festive board and retired from the Chapter to rich applause.

MEZ then said “well where were we before we were interrupted”. I replied that we were still in the Second Rising.

We completed our convocation and retired to the Festive Board where many of the companions were saying “Well I’ve never seen anything like that before wasn’t it great, and it’s the first time I’ve seen Jeffrey almost lost for words”

What a night to remember.

Raymond Pascoe Scribe E of Adair Chapter and Provincial Almoner/mentor.

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