Divisional Conclave
If it’s the first Saturday in September, it must be the Divisional Meeting for the West Lancashire Division of Red Cross of Constantine, and today Saturday 7th September it was!
Once again, Park Hall Hotel at Charnock Richard was the venue and arriving at around 10am, the Knights of St Helena Conclave who were stewarding the Car Park were on hand to make sure we didn’t end up in the wedding that was due to take place in the complex.
On entering the Lancastrian Suite, the room was ready for our meeting and the Marshal and his Deputies were practicing the parade of Conclave Banners, a new feature in this year’s proceedings.
The Full Dining Room
There was time to catch up with the many friends and colleagues, some of which we hadn’t seen since last year. Then Stephen Gregory the Divisional Marshal called on our attention and delivered the now mandatory address informing us what we could expect to happen as the processions entered the Hall along with the usual ‘mobile phone’ request.
In no time at all we were called to Order and the Procession commenced with the Past Deputy Intendant General, Past Intendants General, all three of them, were escorted to their places. The Visiting Intendants General were then escort to their places all to the rapturous applause of the West Lancashire knights present.
Then we were off! The Conclave banners formed a magnificent sight as they headed up the ‘Team’ procession with the Intendant General, R .Ill. Kt, Mike Walker at the rear. The banners were placed in their rightful place behind the North and South flanks of the auditorium and the team lined up to allow the ‘Boss’ to take his seat. Following which they dispersed in a very orderly manner to their respective seats.
The Indendant General R.Ill.Kt. Mike Walker proposes the Loyal Toast
The Conclave was opened, and business was begun. The Deputy Intendant General V. Ill. Kt. Fred Hargreaves delivered the Memoriam making mention of three, well know knights, former members of the team and making a special mention of a fourth knight. V. Ill. Kt Ralph Dumbell. Ralph had been a most enthusiastic member of the Team and was Commander of the Sepulchre Guard for many many years. Nothing was too much trouble for Ralph, he just got on with it!
The admin bits of the meeting were discharged with alacrity and we were soon ready for the new Team to be appointed and invested.
Fred was, of course, reappointed as Deputy Intendant General with Mike paying tribute the amount of support work the he carries out in the background. Then onto Divisional Eusebius and Geoff Gill, (you remember when he was Deputy Marshal)  was appointed and Installed, Nice Hat Geoff!
It was then like clockwork with the Marshal, Stephen  Gregory and his new Deputy Geoff Jackson, assisted by members of the Sepulchre Guard parading the recipients to  the Intendant General to be Invested. Towards the end three knights received promotion.
The Intendant General addressed the meeting in a measured address which covered all that was needed to be said.
The Conclave was closed in accordance with our ritual, the precepts being delivered by the Ian Clark the Sub Prelate in an impeccable manner.
Once the Team had been assembled the Intendant General was escorted out followed by the Distinguished guests.
On retiring to the dining room, we had time for a drink before being served another first-class meal by the staff of Park Hall.
All refreshed we were on our way home by 3 O'clock, what a pleasant day!
Words and pictures courtesy of Ill. Kt. Mike Beesley PGPref.