I congratulate those of you that I have had the pleasure of appointing or promoting today. These ranks of course have been conferred upon you to recognise the sterling work that you have done within your Lodges. However it also points out the further support you will be expected to be giving to the Province to support this special year and to further aid the progressive developments that we initiate within Warwickshire.
I thank the retiring team of Acting Officers who have been magnificent in their support throughout the year. You have set an enviable standard for this Year’s Officers to emulate and I know that you have all enjoyed it enormously.
I particularly wish to thank W Bro Bill Clark who today retired after five years as a truly great and caring Provincial Almoner. Thank you Bill for all that you have done, and the way in which you have done it. Thank you too to Anne for all of her support.
Congratulations to all within our Province who were appointed to Grand Rank last Month; namely Mike Reeve PAGDC; John Harris; PAGDC; John Handley PAGDC; Andrew Sweeney PAGDC; Joseph Masouck PAGDC and Peter Manning PJGD; whilst Michael Irving was promoted to PAGDC for his continuing services to our Province.
As I have already alluded to this is a special year for all of us as we celebrate 300 years of the founding of UGLE. We have many events planned throughout the year which started with us supporting a wonderful consecration of the Masonic Memorial Garden at the National Arboretum so very well organised by the PGL Staffordshire.
Today kicks off Warwickshire’s celebrations and thank you, once more for your support.
We consecrate a new Lodge; Collegiate Lodge, in Coventry on Saturday June 3rd. Please get along if you can.
Our annual Church service is on Sunday 11th June where we parade down the High Street in Warwick to the church.
Asst PGM Trevor Sturt, and his team have been working tirelessly to ensure that our MFest weekend is a success, and I offer them all huge thanks. We could still do with more of you attending on Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th June, with all of your families. So please get onto the website and respond to the recent information sent to you to ensure that we get a great Warwickshire turnout.
On Sunday July 2nd we consecrate the desk and chair that we have sponsored at Shakespeare’s New Place Garden, and this is an event not to be missed. When we add to that the four Classic Car rallies taking place in our region, the celebratory service in the Royal Albert Hall on October 31st followed by celebratory dinners at our Masonic Halls the following weekend, we shall have a wonderfully busy year.
It will only be successful if you all support these events that have taken so much time and care to put together.
The Education and Development Group, chaired by Asst.PGM Peter Manning, is currently putting finishing touches to the refreshment and updating of our Lodge three year planning initiative. This is entitled 2020 Vision: the future of MY Lodge. This will be explained during a number of seminars to be held throughout the Province in September.
This initiative will then be collated by the Dep PGM, Michael Morris. So watch it Brethren he will be after you if your returns are tardy!
The Visiting Officers scheme, so well organised by Asst PGM Chris Rogers will make sure that all Lodges have the help and guidance that they require.
The museum and library, led by Asst PGM Richard Barker will soon all be relocated into our Masonic Centres. I thank them for their help and cooperation and indeed Richard, and I suspect Karen, for all of the hard work they put into this project.
Thanks must also go to W Bro Mike Tarrent for so kindly storing all of our artefacts and furniture these past two years.
Last year, at our annual meeting, I launched our new Young Masons’ club; called the Five of Nine Club. Under the Chairmanship of Dan Thomas, and with his massively enthusiastic committee, they have had an outstanding year, outstripping all of their membership targets. Well done to you all and we wish them continued success. Indeed they have been chosen to hold the National Young Freemason’s’ Conference in October this year in Birmingham. A real feather in the cap for Warwickshire.
As you are aware we run a Masonic papers competition each year. The committee, chaired by W Bro Keith Marchington have chosen the following winners:
- Winner: W Bro Ian Slesser - "The Candle and the Flame".
- In second place: W Bro Dr Mike Grillage - "Veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols"
- Winner: Bro Paul Fernandez-Montes Stoneleigh Lodge "An informal history of Stoneleigh Lodge"
- In second place: Bro R Scott - "Why is the number 7 so important?"
This is the last year of our Famous Five Charities, and today our collection will be for the Air Ambulance.
The way, in which you have supported these five local charities, whilst we have been out of festival, has been magnificent. I thank you all for your generosity and I am so proud to be associated with brethren as generous as you.
Finally I thank each and every person who has worked so hard to make today such a success. To Prov Sec Mike Reeve, Wendy and all of the staff for their hard work. Prov DC David Stanford for his endless meticulous work in liaising with the team here to make this all work, and to Caroline for putting up with it all. To the Prov Stewards team for their tremendous help, and the Prov DCs for the ceremonial.
In fact thank you all for coming to make this significant day so special.
It is a privilege, and pleasure to be your Provincial Grand Master. I thank you for all of your support and urge you all to continue to enjoy your Freemasonry, and do tell others how wonderful it is.