The following is the Investiture Address given by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Stephen Martin Blank at The Floral Pavilion, New Brighton on Thursday 23rd July 2015
Most Excellent Past 2nd Grand Principal, Companions all,
I’m delighted to see so many here on this warm and sunny morning in New Brighton. It’s a little strange I have to admit, finding myself Installed here as Grand Superintendent only 4 months after I was invested as Deputy Grand Superintendent. And here I am in sunny Cheshire whereas in March it was rainy Blackburn in East Lancashire. But greater powers were at work, the transfer fee was agreed and once personal terms had been settled it was a done deal. My agent is sunning himself in the South of France and spending his fee.
ECompanion Bramley is new to his role in Cheshire, as I was in East Lancashire. He has great plans for the Royal Arch in Cheshire, plans I am only too happy to endorse, so I was equally happy to reappoint him.
The Craft, Festival and Ter-Centenary will take up a lot of my time in the first few years so it’s good to know Royal Arch is in good hands with him, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal and the hard-working APGP’s. Can I say how sorry I was that EComp Phil Rowland who I have appointed 2nd Provincial Grand Principal is not able to be here to be invested and installed? For some reason he considered being with his wife on a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 to be more important quite right too! Thanks to E Companion Keith Rogerson for standing in as acting 2nd Provincial Grand Principal. But let’s not forget E Comp Rev Barry William Jobber 3rd Provincial Grand Principal who is here and has been duly installed.
I’m looking forward to getting to know the senior RA team. I understand the percentage of Craft members who are in Royal Arch is high in Cheshire. We need to keep an eye on the number of Exaltations but one of E Comp Bramley’s ideas is to host the “Talking Heads” presentation, which is a 35 minute playlet by presenters from Metropolitan Grand Chapter. This is planned for Saturday 27th February 2016 and will be hosted by the Cheshire Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No: 3449 at Ellesmere Port. Where possible, each member will be invited to bring with him a Master Mason who will thus be introduced to the Royal Arch. At the same time it will assist existing Companions to appreciate and to understand more about the Order.
We will be following the Pro 1st Grand Principal’s lead and suggesting that the Royal Arch should be the first other Order a Craft Mason joins when he is ready to do so. I am not in any way against joining other Orders; I know how much pleasure Brethren get from them, especially here in Cheshire, but a new MM, when he is ready, should join RA first. I also want to encourage movement between Royal Arch and Craft roles and vice versa and to do that we need the biggest pool of eligible talent we can generate.
I have many people to thank today, some of whom are leaving Office and some who are continuing. First and foremost the Past MEGS Steven Adcott who for 6 years in that position dedicated himself to the Province of Cheshire. Little did I think when I helped Install him six years ago in this very hall that I would follow him! Next is EComp David Eshelby who served over three years as ProvGSE and EComp Alan Glazier who has acted as ProvGTreasurer – we’ll be seeing him in his new role this afternoon. EComps Mike Leese and Rod Gamwell take over as ProvGSE and ProvGTreas respectively effective immediately.
Thanks to all the APGP’S who are continuing in Office but especially today one of them, E Comp Ken Mallon and his team for their hard work in setting up the venue; providing stewarding and transportation. Also Liz Wright, Karen and Elaine from the Office who have had to deal with this extra event in the middle of the summer break, ProvGDC’s team for excellent work, of course I must thank E Comp Spence for Installing me, ably assisted by GSE, GDC and his team not forgetting the G Janitor.
Finally I would like to thank our many guests, in particular the bus load from East Lancashire I will say more about all of our guests at lunch.
Companions, let’s have a good time today and carry on having a good time, enjoying our Royal Arch Masonry. Thanks to many of you for your good wishes, I promise I will work hard for you and your Chapters; with your support for me and for my team, we can, together, achieve great things.
Stephen M Blank