Egerton Chapter is not unique. It is a delightful Chapter full of delightful companions – but then so are they all. It is also a Chapter which has rather fallen on hard times, but it is hardly alone in that, either. Egerton Chapter was consecrated in November 1913, and so it celebrated its Centenary about 18 months ago. Unfortunately, like any number of our constituent Chapters it has found itself with an aging, and declining, membership. It was at about the point that these two circumstances began to tell when EComp Tony Freemont joined the Chapter and he set about trying to make a difference, with the intention that the first hundred years would not also be the last.
Tony is an active member of the East Lancashire Royal Arch Demonstration Team and, when it was clear that Egerton could not manage a full Exaltation Ceremony from its own resources, he inveigled the assistance of EComp John Cavanagh, and the rest of the ELRADT Team, to make sure that the Chapter could enjoy a full ceremony. That was back in December when the first new member for some considerable time, joined the Chapter.
So it was only natural that, when another new member decided to join Egerton, the ELRADT were again called in for their assistance. The photograph above shows most of the Companions of Egerton Chapter, and the members of ELRADT who took part in the ceremony on the night. In the centre of the photograph, immediately behind EComp Bowler, the MEZ of Egerton Chapter, you will see EComp Russell Pike who took the part of Z in the Exaltation ceremony. To his right and to his left you will see Companions Goff and Smart who have been Exalted into Egerton Chapter, one in December last year and one in May 2015.
We were fortunate on this occasion to be joined by EComp Edward Barlow PGStB, the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for the Southern Area. He was accompanied by EComp William Wootton who is the other DORA for Audenshaw, Tony Freemont also being Audenshaw’s DORA. EComp Barlow praised the work of the ELRADT in a few words to the Chapter, commenting on both the quality of the ritual that he had witnessed, but also the way in which ELRADT showed how a complex ceremony such as an Exaltation can be split up among extra Companions to make it simpler for every participant.
Now, clearly, two swallows don’t make a Summer, and two new Companions don’t see the rebirth of a Chapter, but at least they make a start. We wish Egerton Chapter all the best in their efforts to grow and flourish and we will remain ready to help out again should we be needed.