The AProvGP EComp David Thornton with the Companions of Starkie Chapter

Starkie Chapter was consecrated on 18th September 1952 and it was only in September 2012 that they celebrated their diamond jubilee. On 11th March 2015 the Chapter looked back with pride at what it had achieved over its history of some 62 years but this was tinged with sadness that the Chapter had found it necessary to close due to diminished membership and the lack of prospects for the future.
All the Companions who met at Rawtenstall Masonic Hall were determined to be upbeat when the Chapter met for the last time.

All those Companions who attended

After the Principals had opened the Chapter and the minutes of their previous meeting had been approved, there was a knock on the door.  It was reported that EComp David Thornton PGStB Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals (AProvGP) was without with a Provincial Delegation and sought admission. The Companions stood to order whilst EComp Thornton and his delegations entered the Chapter Room where he was welcomed by the First Principal EComp Edwin Hardman. EComp Thornton thanked the Companions for their warm welcome and then introduced those Acting Provincial Officers of the Year in Western Area together with “Mr Rawtenstall” EComp Derek Pilling PGAssSoj and EComp Roy Fairhurst the Bury DORA.

The AProvGP’s with the Chapter Principals and IPZ with the Provincial Delegation

The necessary proposals in connection with the closure of a Chapter were made and unanimously approved. One of the outcomes was that two cheques were presented by the First Principal to the AProvGP – one for £700 to ELMC and another for £500 to the 2015 Festival.  EComp Thornton thanked the members of the Chapter for their very generous donations.
There then followed the installation of the Principals elect. The First Principal EComp Edwin Hardman then installed all three Principals namely EComp John Cross as First Principal, EComp Stewart Longworth as Second Principal and EComp Stuart Shaw as Third Principal.  The First Principal then invested EComp Hardman as the IPZ of the Chapter. The ceremonial performed by EComp Hardman was word perfect and was done with feeling and understanding.
EComp Tom Crompton, the long serving Scribe E, then gave a brief history of the Chapter highlighting the significant and interesting events which had taken place over the previous 62 years.
After the various risings, the First Principal EComp John Cross closed the Chapter for the final time.
He then handed to EComp David Thornton, AProvGP, the Charter of the Chapter stating that most of the Companions of the Chapter had joined or were about to join the day time Chapter of Unitas Fratrum which also meets in the same Hall.

The AProvGP receiving the Charter from the First Principal accompanied by the Second and Third Principal and the IPZ

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The Charter of Starkie Chapter No 1634

He thanked the Companions and stated that he would ensure the Charter was delivered to the Provincial Office (only a short distance downstairs!!) for onward delivery to Supreme Grand Chapter in London.
EComp David Thornton then read out a closing eulogy which was in the form of a poem, a copy of which was given afterwards to all members of the Chapter as well as to visiting Companions. This is reproduced HERE.
The visiting Companions then formed a guard of honour at the door of the Chapter through which the members of the Chapter retired to acclamation with the Chapter’s First Principal being the last of the members to leave.  The visitors then retired with the EComp Thornton AProvGP the last to leave – Charter in hand – where upon he turned out the lights and closed the door.
A very enjoyable social board then took place where everybody was able to reflect on the occasion and share experiences and stories.

EComp Edwin Hardman IPZ (left) and EComp Ian Schofield DC (right) relaxing at the social board having both done a superb job

Everybody then left for home in a very positive frame of mind.