EComps Norman Clarke and Paul Aspinall, Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, in disguise as Craft Masons for the meeting

On Friday 14th March, 2014, the East Lancashire Royal Arch Presentation Team once again ventured onto “foreign” soil. On this occasion they crossed the A6 and travelled into the Province of West Lancashire in order to perform “Crafty Companions” for the brethren of Cleveleys Park Lodge No 7540 at its monthly meeting at Cleveleys Masonic Hall.

On this occasion the team were accompanied and supported by two of the Team Vice-Presidents, EComps Norman Clarke and Paul Aspinall, both PGStB and Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals. On this occasion, as the work was being done in a Craft Lodge, they were both regaled as Past Officers of United Grand Lodge.
As soon as the usual business of the Lodge had been completed, the Worshipful Master, WBro Peter Clay, called off the Lodge and invited WBro Norman Clarke to introduce the team. Norman, in what was his last attendance as a Vice President of the team, promised the brethren that they were in for a treat and an enjoyable performance which tracked some of the history of the Royal Arch and had inspired its ritual.

John Cavanagh, who is the Leader of ELRADT, then entered the Lodge Room and assumed the role of Narrator. He encouraged the members of Cleveleys Park and their visitors to join in with the performance. John announced that he and the team were there to entertain as well as to relate the historical saga of the Royal Arch and that their hosts too should join in the fun as each different character appeared. There were even prompt cards encouraging the audience to “Boo” or ‘’Hiss’’ the villains and to ‘‘Cheer’’ the heroes.

The Members of ELRADT who took part in the performance were, (L to R), EComps John Cavanagh, Keith Swettenham, Bob King, Mike Williams, Alan Baxendale, Chris Cunliffe, WM Peter Clay, Kevin Hall, Roger Holland, Terry Bailey, Dennis Heskett and Graham Rawlinson

In total, thirteen members of the team took part in the performance relating the stories of various biblical figures who play a part in both Craft and Royal Arch Ritual. Moses, Zerubbabel, Solomon, Hiram of Tyre and a certain artificer in metals put in an appearance in a performance which, “displayed pathos, drama and above all great humour. As the ‘back story’ which John Cavanagh told leading to the building of King Solomon’s Temple and its eventual destruction unfolded, the audience was taken on a memorable journey through time and its connections to and relevance with Freemasonry. Villainous Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, as he ordered the people to be taken into bondage was soundly booed. The dramatic performance of the prophet Jeremiah on the other hand drew rapturous applause.” (Bob Boal of the W Lancs Publicity Team)

After the conclusion of the Presentation the Worshipful Master, Peter Clay, on behalf of the members of the lodge and its visitors thanked John and his team for a very entertaining evening which had also gone a long way to a greater understanding of the place the Royal Arch occupies in Freemasonry.

The members of Cleveleys Park Lodge together with two of their guests

If you would like to read Bob Boal’s article about this meeting, from the West Lancashire
perspective, on the West Lancs Website, then follow this link: