The Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge was again full to capacity with around 900 brethren attending in the morning and over 540 staying for lunch afterwards.
Prior to the opening the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies gave his briefing to all present, warning that the penalty levied for mobile 'phones ringing during the meeting was a case of vintage champagne! The many distinguished guests, including 20 visiting Rulers of the Craft and another 20 from other Orders, then entered the Lodge in procession, with our own Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David F Macey being escorted into the meeting by his Officers.
After remembering Brethren who had departed to the Grand Lodge above since our last meeting, the PGM individually welcomed the distinguished guests, then everyone else present, thanking them for attending. Various reports were presented by Provincial Officers, together with other formalities and the PGM then re-appointed the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, thanking him for his continued support and for managing the small Lodge support scheme.
The PGM gave special thanks to W Bro Roger Parker, who was retiring following six years service as Assistant Provincial Grand Master, referring to the dignity, enthusiasm and proficiency with which he had always performed his duties, and presented him with his collarette and a special gift as a memento of his time in office. W Bro Roger responded by saying how comfortable he had always been with his duties in Warwickshire and thanked all the brethren for the fellowship and comradeship he had enjoyed. The PGM also thanked W Bro Philip Hall, who was retiring as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to take very high office as Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and for setting such a high bar for his successor, W Bro David Stanford, to follow.
The four other Assistant Provincial Grand Masters were re-appointed, as were several of the acting Officers. The new Senior Warden W Bro Stephen Townsend and Junior Warden W Bro Graham Venn were invested, together with the other new acting Officers, following which Past Ranks were conferred or confirmed for the new and existing Provincial Grand Officers.
In his address to the meeting click here to read the PGM continued his theme of thanks, to include in particular W Bro Anthony Newby and W Bro Chris Grove who were retiring as Provincial Grand Charity Steward and Almoner, W Bro John Hayward and W Bro Bill Clark taking the reins from them. He also referred to the “Ambassador Scheme” and a paper which could be presented in Lodges click here to see
(l-r) John Hayward, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, David Stanford, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies,
Bill Clark, Provincial Grand Almoner
2012 Festival Director W Bro Trevor Sturt pointed out that there were now just a hundred or so days to go before the Festival Celebration Dinner, and gave much praise to all the brethren in Warwickshire who had responded so magnificently throughout, not only for having already exceeded the overall Lodge target of £2,200,000, but for having done so during a turbulent economic environment and with fewer members than when the target had been set. The Celebration on Saturday 22nd September 2012, which would be held at The Clarendon Suites, was already sold out with a waiting list, and as promised by organisers W Bro Eric Rymer, W Bro Peter Wellings and Mrs Jane Rymer was a fabulous treat in store. 144 Lodges had so far achieved or exceeded their target, with 130 of them having received their Festival Maul, for the skilled craftsmanship and production of which many thanks were given to W Bros David Joyce and Merrill Elliott.
The 2012 Warwickshire Festival Jewel is not a permanent one, but the Festival Director outlined how brethren and Lodges could utilise the amounts they had donated in order to obtain permanent MSF jewels by becoming Patrons or Vice-Patrons. He concluded by encouraging support for the WMBA after the Festival had finished, and thanking the Charity Office, the DWG, the Charity/Festival Stewards and all others who had helped so much during the journey, and in particular the PGM for allowing him to address the Annual Meeting, today for his last time.
Following a collection for the 2012 Festival which was made whilst everyone sang "Jerusalem" with great enthusiasm and gusto, presentations towards the Festival were made from the Provinces of Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Oxfordshire, which the PGM received with grateful thanks.
W Bro Brian Holdsworth, Master of Loyal Travellers Lodge 2733 then invited the PGM to hold next year’s meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge (to be held on Saturday 18th May 2013) under their Banner, giving assurance that all necessary arrangements will be made to accommodate members and guests to the high standard of past years.
The PGM was pleased to accept and explained that this was a new initiative aimed at providing additional support and assistance for the Provincial Office with organising the Annual Meeting, and that he had every confidence in Loyal Travellers Lodge (of which he is a member!) being able to provide this.
A magnificent festive board provided by The Clarendon Suites followed the meeting at which the Provincial Senior Warden proposed a toast to the PGM, referring to his unique and relaxed style, and the similarity between his profession as a Head Teacher and that of a Provincial Grand Master, both of which demanded great enthusiasm and energy. The PGM responded by agreeing there were indeed many similarities . . . . . and of course pleasures. He was thrilled with the “buzz” which had continued throughout the meal, clearly demonstrating the noticeable enjoyment of all present.