Following great success in 2014, Stoneleigh Park, in the very heart of Warwickshire, was once again the venue for the 2015 Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, with some 700 members attending the meeting, and over 350 staying for the splendid lunch afterwards.
After welcoming everyone present, and opening the Lodge, the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro David Macey paid tribute to Brethren who had departed to the Grand Lodge above since last year’s meeting. He then individually greeted the distinguished guests and thanked them and everyone else present for attending.
Various reports were presented by Provincial Officers, together with other formalities, including the re-appointment of the Deputy and two of the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, following which the PGM paid tribute to W Bros John Emms and Eric Rymer, the two APGMs who were standing down following long and devoted service to the Province. Two new APGMs, W Bros Philip Hall and Christopher Rogers were then invested and duly proclaimed. The new Wardens were invested, their predecessors having been gratefully thanked, after which various acting Officers were re-appointed, together with new ones for the forthcoming year, following which Past Ranks were conferred or confirmed for the new and existing Provincial Grand Officers.
The PGM led a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday after promoting W Bro Fred Clarke to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, this very day having been Fred’s 89th birthday.
In his address to the meeting click here to read the PGM congratulated those who had received preferment in Provincial Grand Lodge, reminding them of the further great things expected from them, together with those who had received preferment within Grand Lodge. After thanking the retiring team of Acting Officers for all their support, in particular W Bros Stuart Esworthy, Keith Marchington and Peter Wellings, he announced the winners of this year’s lectures competition, W Bro David Joyce and Bro Gerard Somers, expressing his amazement and admiration for their content. They will deliver their papers at the June meeting of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, where they will also receive their prize winners’ trophies.
He then referred to the Strategy for Freemasonry which the Membership Focus Group has devised, to make Freemasonry fit to celebrate its Tercentenary in 2017 with confidence in its future, following which he quoted an inspirational address given by the PGM for Nottinghamshire. The address homed in on the absolute necessity these days to introduce change wherever needed, but stressed the need to embrace it with positive management and without fear.
Emphasis was placed upon the need for every lodge to introduce its own Three Year Plan, with seminars being held around the Province from September. Reference was also made regarding the sale of the Clarendon Suites, with an appeal for help as regards haulage, storage and manpower. The tercentenary celebrations in 2017 were outlined, as were various aspects of our charitable activity, especially regarding the PGM’s Famous Five initiative and the establishment of a relief chest at UGLE.
The PGM concluded by expressing his thanks to the Provincial Grand Secretary and all his staff, especially Wendy and Pam in the office for their hard work in organising the day, and to the Provincial Tyler, his team, the Provincial DC and everyone else who had taken part in ensuring the success of the annual meeting.
Following a collection which raised over £3,500 for one of the Famous Five charities (Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital), which was made whilst everyone sang "Jerusalem" with great enthusiasm and gusto, Rokeby Lodge 4118 invited the Province to hold next year’s meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge (to be held on Saturday 21st May 2016) under their Banner, giving assurance that all necessary arrangements will be made to accommodate members and guests to the high standard of past years, which the PGM was pleased to accept.
At the festive board the new Provincial Senior Grand Warden W Bro David Greenwood proposed a well received toast to the Provincial Grand Master, which included reference to the PGM’s many attributes and popularity within the Province, together with an element of sympathy for his future hopes for the aspirations of his beloved team, Sunderland Association Football Club. The PGM responded in true style, pointing out that aspirations may be challenging, but should always be realistic!
David is a professional Hotel Manager and also provides Management and Training Consultancy services. He is a member of the Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management Association, as well as being a member of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters. Married to Sian, they have no children.
He was initiated into Rokeby Lodge 4118 (Rugby) in 1989 and became Master in 2001. He was appointed as a Provincial Assistant Grand DC in 2007, re-appointed the following year, promoted to Past Provincial Grand Registrar the year after and then returned to active duty as Provincial Deputy Grand DC in 2010, again re-appointed the following year. His Craft pursuits include membership of a Leicestershire lodge, as well as the Warwickshire Installed Masters and DC’s lodges, in addition to his activity in the Royal Arch, Mark, and Antient and Accepted Rite.
David is extensively involved with the management of the Rugby Masonic buildings and a variety of local activities, and is a Grand Lodge ambassador for Freemasonry Cares.
His hobbies include Street and Grand Theatre, and as a qualified pyrotechnician providing plenty of whizzes and bangs at social events and local charities.
The toast to the visitors was proposed by the new Provincial Junior Grand Warden W Bro Ian Hart, who, following much advice, had determined to keep his greetings brief. This he achieved admirably, at the same time fully expressing great appreciation to all of our guests for their support, as embraced by a delightful poem he delivered, which had been penned by his wife Vikki.
Ian is a former fireman, having spent 24 years with the service in Hereford and Worcestershire, working mainly between Redditch, Bromsgrove and Evesham. A back injury led to his retirement from the service in 1999, following which he joined a company, helping them promote motorcycle communication technology, travelling around the country demonstrating their equipment, finally retiring from work in 2005. He has been married to Vikki for 23 years, and has a son and daughter from his first marriage.
Prior to his ten years service as Provincial Grand Tyler, Ian was initiated into Bedford Lodge 925 in 1996, also joining Friendship Lodge 5909. He is also a founder member of both the Mike Hailwood Lodge 9839 and the Michael Price Lodge 9853, as well as being a member of four Royal Arch Chapters.
He has sat as a JP in the Black Country since 2001 and his hobbies include motorcycling (where he is an advanced instructor), coarse fishing (being actively involved with the MTSFC) and previously, SCUBA diving.
A magnificent photo library taken on the day by W Bro Simon Grove can be seen here