The Provincial Grand Master’s Address
Provincial Grand Lodge
Freemasons’ Hall, London
28th September 2016
Oddly enough Brethren I almost decided not to turn up today.
Last week I had a preview of the new Provincial website and when I looked at the calendar entries for this week it was totally blank, so I thought that this meeting had been cancelled.
Luckily however, Jim Harrison e-mailed me to say that the launch earlier this week had been successful and that ALL calendar entries had now been correctly recorded – so here I am. We are all most grateful to Bro James Davis for his work on this project.
I congratulated Jim on two counts, first that the new website was up and running ahead of schedule and secondly, that he had managed to restrain Bro Tom Golds from prematurely blasting the news all over Twitter before I had a chance to publicly announce the launch here today.
I recommend that you take a look at the website – I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.
This is the fourth occasion on which I have addressed you as your Provincial Grand Master and each year I have announced the retirement of one or more senior members of the Executive.
This year is no exception and whilst it is with sadness that we acknowledge the retirement of VWBro James Young as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, I must, on behalf of every member of Hertfordshire, express our most grateful thanks to him for the great services he has rendered towards the continuing success of this Province.
James has held active office for twenty years and his support and wise counsel have been invaluable in the management of the Province of Hertfordshire, not least in his editorship of Provincial News.
He is the archetypal “good egg”, with the addition of a wicked sense of humour and an unrivalled collection of dreadful jokes. Thankfully, James will remain a familiar sight in the Province, especially at Lodge Meetings held on Saturday evenings whenever “Strictly Come Dancing” is being broadcast.
In thanking him for his extensive contribution to the Province we wish him and his wife, Ann, every happiness in his semi-retirement.
I am delighted with the progress being made for the 2019 Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys under the able Chairmanship of W Bro Dick Knifton.
A number of very successful events have already taken place, in particular the Family Fun Day in July which I have mentioned in my foreword to the brochure for today’s meeting. Further activities are being planned which will, with your continued generous support, result in a final figure worthy of this Province.
The huge amount of work undertaken by W Bros Chris Noble and Stew Willett in the organisation of many of these events, supported by their every increasing army of volunteers, too numerous to mention, is legendary and I am most grateful to all of them for their unstinting efforts.
By the time of our next Annual Meeting we will have commemorated the 300th Anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Our own celebrations will centre on the service at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban, the joint Family Fun Day being organised with Middlesex and a banquet to be held later in the year for our wives, partners and friends.
All of these events are in addition to the many and varied functions being organised directly by United Grand Lodge and which are widely publicised in “Freemasonry Today”.
To all of those Brethren who have received appointment to or promotion in Provincial Rank today I offer my warmest congratulations together with my thanks for the services which they have already made to Provincial Masonry and for those further services they are yet to make.
Most especially I congratulate W Bro David Ferris and W Bro Neil Connolly on their respective appointments as Deputy and Assistant Provincial Grand Master and look forward to working with them in the coming years.
Brethren, a large number of masons have been involved in the organization of this meeting: W Bro John Vasquez and his team here in Great Queen Street, the Provincial Grand Secretary and his staff at Fleet House and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies together with his Deputies, Assistants and the Board of Provincial Stewards. On your behalf I thank them all for their work in producing the excellent meeting that we have enjoyed here this afternoon.
And finally Brethren I thank each and every one of your for your attendance and support here today. The warmth of your friendship and the goodwill I and my Executive Officers receive when visiting your Lodges is most generous and does so much to strength the epithet, “Happy Hertfordshire”.
May God bless you all.