May I welcome you all, once more and thank you all so much for turning out in such great numbers to support us.
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 Richard Barker who retired today as an Asst. APGM; W.Bro John Hayward as Prov.G Ch.Stwd.; W.Bro. Peter Sorrill Prov. Grand Mentor; W. Bro. Hosey Davoudian as Asst. to the Prov. G. Reg.
Congratulations to all within our Province who were appointed to Grand Rank last Month; namely David Butcher PAGDC; David Greenwood PAGDC; John Walsh PGStB; W.Bro Michael GrillagePGStB.; W.Bro. Peter SummersPGStB.;. Also to those who were promoted namely: David Satchwell PJGD; Nigel BurtonPJGD and our very own Richard V Wallis to PJGW.
This last Masonic Year has been very special indeed. I reflect upon last years’ PGL held at Great Queen Street; upon MFest300; the ‘Desk & Chair’ at Stratford; the many Classic 300 rallies; other special events; and the culmination at the Royal Albert Hall.
We must build upon this momentum Brethren.
To that end we embarked, last August upon FOUR carefully planned initiatives:
- The first saw Christopher Rogers and myself revamping the Vising Officer Scheme to make it more effective and to give your Lodges more help and support.
- The second saw the Dep. PGM Michael Morris take charge, as a result of this re-vamp, of an exit strategy to help you with resignations, and prospective resignations. This has, already, had a powerful impact upon reducing our losses to membership through resignation.
- APGM David Stanford has been appointed Prov. Membership Officer. I have singled out a very senior member of the team to show just how important this is to us all.
UGLE have produced for us all a very powerful guide to help Lodges at every avenue of the process from identifying candidates, interviewing them and then looking after them. This, online, reference guide is called the Members Pathway.
He will introduce you all to the Members Pathway in seminars in September.
- Also as part of this process he is in charge of an initiative to take our message of Freemasonry out into YOUR communities. We have an information packed gazebo which will be staffed by ten trained volunteers, brethren and their ladies. It can go into any pre-booked spot in your area and talk to people about Freemasonry in Warwickshire. If you want it in your town get in touch with David Stanford.
- The Mentoring Scheme has been re-vamped by David Stanford to build upon the success of his predecessor Peter Sorrill, by ensuring a higher level of support and encouragement. For example any Brother who does not attend his Lodge being contacted by two different people to let him know we care.
Brethren all of these initiatives are designed to offer you as WMs and Lodges the total help and support of the Province in improving your membership.
The help is there for you; just ask!
All job descriptions of the Senior Executive have been re-written specifically to help you even more.
We cannot do it for you, but we can offer you all of the encouragement and support that we can muster.
The Education and Development Group, led by APGM Peter Manning has been very active throughout the year.
The new Provincial tie originated there and we launch it today to replace our former tie, which served us well for 17 years. The sales from the proceeds of the ties will provide a contribution to the 2023 Festival.
The EDG has also completely re-designed our website which is due for its launch in September. A whole new fresh feel with lots more information and better access for us all.
They have also been working very hard on improving our communications with you all and we are beginning to see very positive results from that.
As you are aware we run a Masonic papers competition each year. The committee, chaired by W.Br. Keith Marchington have chosen the following winner:
- Winner: For those above the Chair: W Bro Chris Rogers, APGM
- In second place: W Bro Ian Dipple, a recently Installed Master
These will be presented at a forthcoming meeting of Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge No 4538.
Our Five of Nine Club continues to prosper and is one of the most vibrant New and Young Masons Clubs in the country.
At the recent AGM Carey Burke was voted in as the new Chairman and we wish him and all of his very enthusiastic committee continued success. I would personally like to thank W Bro Dan Thomas, the retiring Chairman for all of his hard work in ensuring the fantastic success that this initiative has had since its conception. Brethren if you have a young Freemason in your Lodge I strongly advise you to ensure that they become 5 of 9 members.
We finished our Famous Five appeal for local Charities in December and I delighted to tell you that we raised, in total £160k for these local Charities. Brethren I am so grateful, and you should be very proud of your generosity.
In January David Greenwood launched our 2023 Festival Appeal for MCF in a most stimulating and memorable way. He will be giving us regular updates on our progress, but the initial message remains Brethren sign up for your regular giving through Direct Debits please!
The alms collection today will be in aid of our 2023 Festival.
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 in the Provincial Office for their hard work. Provincial DC Peter Clarke for his tireless work in ensuring that his first Annual Meeting was such a success. To the Provincial Stewards team for their tremendous help, and the Provincial DC’s 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.