William de Irwin Chapter achieved its centenary on 21st February 2020. Plans had been made to celebrate the achievement on 25th March 2020 but, as history will record, the event had to be cancelled because the whole country, indeed the whole world, was brought to a standstill by something hardly any of us had heard of previously but will now be embedded on our memories forever, the Coronavirus.
For several months a small team from the Chapter worked to arrange the meeting which would have been the enthronement of E & P Bro. Chris Millard as M W S by E & P Bro. Tim Highmore. Tim would have relinquished the chair some 3 weeks earlier than the regular enthronement date in order to be able to receive a member of the Supreme Council, the Grand Prior Most Illustrious Bro. Revd. Dr. John R. H. Railton 330 accompanied by the Ill. Bro. Matthew Burrows AGDC 310. Now, it seems that Tim will have to hang on to the chair for sometime yet.
The event had been fine tuned in every respect. The summons had been prepared and approved by Supreme Council. A history of the Chapter had been written by Ill. Bro. Syd. Brailey 320 with him reading it was an important part of the proceedings. The minutes of the 21st February 1920 were to be read and a presentation by the Grand Prior of the Centenary Warrant was to have been the highlight of the evening.
The minutes of 1920 depicted a very Grand affair, with a Chapter of Supreme Council itself being held in the Masonic Hall in Weston-super-Mare headed by Very Puissant Bro. Edward Nash – Lieutenant Grand Commander of Supreme Council 330 accompanied by no less than 3 Most Illustrious and 3 Very Illustrious brethren. The meeting culminated in the enthronement of Ill. Bro. Kenneth R. Thomson 300 as the first M W S of the second era of the Chapter. The first era being from 1869 – 1895 when the warrant was delivered up to Supreme Council.
The festive board too was to have been a very special occasion with an extra special menu. The table would have been adorned with a table place mat (inset) that had been designed by Ill. Bro. Michael Greaves 310 and kindly purchased by the M W S elect E & P Bro. Chris Millard. The place mat did get one airing though, at a Sunday Lunch designed to provide a celebration event for the ladies just a few days before the actual date of the anniversary.
So what now? No one knows when this disease will finally allow us to continue with our normal lives, but we live in hope that somehow there will be an opportunity to rearrange the event during 2020 so that this part of the history of the Chapter will not be delineated by something we cannot even see – the Coronavirus.