THURSDAY 21 MARCH 2024, at 3.00pm

Thursday 21st March 2024 saw the annual convocation of The Provincial Grand Chapter of East Lancashire at St Georges Hall, Blackburn.  The meeting was held in the presence of many distinguished companions and a good many companions from across the province.

EComp Robert Frankl, MEGSupt bade welcome to the many (35) distinguished guests from other Provinces and Orders.

Distinguished Members of our own Province were also welcomed,

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master Companion John Griffin

The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters:


Rev’d Canon Richard Hawkins      Peter Hegarty                     

David McGurty                                Paul O’Carroll

EComp Frankl also welcomed the Principals of our Chapters in East Lancashire and the many newly exhalted companions present.

The ME Grand Superintendent then announced the sad passing of those Officers of Supreme Grand Chapter who have been called to higher service:

Comp Ian Ronson

Comp Brian W Taylor

Comp Roger Norris

Comp Peter Hewitt

together with Past Provincial Grand Officers’ and a number of Companions of private Chapters.

A period of silent standing was then observed by all present in memory of departed merit.

The ME Grand Superintendent informed the meeting that EComp Harvey Basger retires from the  office of Deputy Grand Superintendent on this day and expressed his thanks to Harvey for his service and to his wife Beverley for her support also.  The MEGS then invested EComp Basger with his collarette of a Past Deputy Grand Superintendent.

The ME Grand Superintendent then appointed and installed EComp Paul Gareth Bowen PAGSoj as Deputy Grand Superintendent.

The ME Grand Superintendent then appointed and installed EComp, Professor Anthony John Freemont, PGStB as the second Provincial Grand Principal.

The ME Grand Superintendent then reappointed EComp David Hudson PGStB as the third Provincial Grand Principal.

The ME Grand Superintendent then reappointed:

EComp Peter Douthwaite PGStB

EComp Steven Boyle PGStB

EComp Peter Faulkner

EComp Dr Mo Afsa

As Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals.

The ME Grand Superintendent then placed on record his thanks to EComp Aubrey Oldham PGStB for his service prior to his retiring from office as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals this day.

The ME Grand Superintendent then appointed and invested EComp Andrew David Taylor as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals.

The ME Grand Superintendent then appointed and re-appointed the Royal Arch Area Officers and thanked them all for their work in this important role.

The ME Grand Superintendent then addressed the meeting.



When I stood here this time last year, I spoke about the Strategy for Freemasonry which had been launched just a few months earlier.

We can once again reflect on the Strategy, but now with the benefit of more than a year’s experience of it.

As you know, it is a strategy that affirms the unique relationship between the Craft and Royal Arch – ‘ One Journey, One Organisation’. Our  One Organisation has been reflected in many ways, both by United Grand Lodge, Supreme Grand Chapter, and here in our Province. The appointment of MEComp Sir David Wootton as Second Grand Principal is one of the very recent illustrations of that.

But today, I want to focus on another aspect of the Strategy, and that’s membership.

It would be foolish of me to reach any conclusions based on 1 year alone  – it’s a 7 year strategy for a reason, but there is cause to be cautiously optimistic that the direction of travel may be starting to turn, both for the Royal Arch and the Craft.

We’re not yet in positive territory, but we should be encouraged that the Strategy is effective, and have the confidence to endorse and apply it, as we go about our masonic business.

I’m grateful to those with responsibility for its implementation, but also to all of you here, as well as our members not here, because everything you do for, and in our Chapters and Lodges is a contribution, and collectively ensures we continue as a flourishing Province.

Archway is a web-based resource created by Supreme Grand Chapter which was launched at the end of last year, to provide guidance and assistance for Chapters to grow and shape their future. Last month, EComp Freemont sent us all a guide explaining its purpose, use, and content. If you haven’t already done so, I do urge you to read the Guide, and at least dip your toes into Archway itself. I think you’ll be impressed.

An Archway meeting will be held at Rochdale Masonic Hall on 29th April. I am attending, and I hope to see many of you there.

Companions, the fundamentals remain unchanged. I’m sure you’re familiar with them, but they’re worth repeating:

Talk about the Royal Arch to the brethren in your Lodges who are not yet members, and encourage them to join when the time is right for them.

Encourage   fellow Companions who are not currently members of a Chapter to consider joining and help them find one that’s suitable.

Look after the Companions in your Chapters, particularly the newer members. Do all you can to ensure that they, and you, find membership of this wonderful Order enjoyable and fulfilling.

I’m delighted to tell you that our Festival 2026 total currently stands at £1.4million, taking account of future receipts from existing Regular Payment Contributions. We are well on the way towards our target of £2.4million and I am very proud of the generosity of East Lancashire – our Chapters, Lodges and, of course, our members.

I do ask Companions and Brethren who have yet to make an individual personal contribution, to do so, if their circumstances permit. Any amount will be very much appreciated.

In a few moments, I will have the honour and privilege of investing newly appointed, reappointed, and promoted companions. Companions, these appointments have all been carefully considered, and are well deserved. I congratulate you all and wish you well in your offices and ranks. I hope today is enjoyable and memorable for you and for the Companions here to support you.

Can I encourage you to consider joining East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Chapter No 3747. It provides an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with companions and senior officers from across the Province. I joined 20 years ago when I received my first Provincial appointment and have always valued and enjoyed my membership.

Companions, thank you for attending today, and for your attention to this Address.

I hope this Meeting serves to further energise us, so that we all leave here with a spring in our step, and a determination to play our part in the continuing prosperity of this Province of East Lancashire, which is so dear to us, and of which we are so justly proud.

Thank you.

The ME Grand Superintendent then proceeded to appoint Officers of Provincial Grand Chapter.  There were a total of 116 honours conferred this year and details of these appointments and promotions can be found HERE>.

Before closing Provincial Grand Chapter, the ME Grand Superintendent expressed his thanks to all those Companions who had worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth operation of Provincial Grand Chapter 2024.

Selected photographs from the days event can be viewed HERE