Full House at Annual Meeting
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.
Fun and Enjoyment
The Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Jonathan Spence, was guest speaker at the Warwickshire Installed Masters' Lodge 4538, as reported on their website (see here).
A synopsis of his talk, in which he emphasised the importance of humour, will appear in the next Provincial Newsletter.
GBP 1 million for Air Ambulances
The Freemasons Grand Charity (FGC) 2012 Air Ambulance grants (£192,000 in all) have now been approved - bringing the total given since 2007 to over £1 million.
To celebrate, FGC has created a commemorative video presentation. They have worked in partnership with the rescue services that receive funding from FGC to produce it. Click here for full details of the grants and to watch the video.
This highlights FGC funding only, with lots of Provinces giving many thousands of pounds in additional funds for their regional rescue services.
The work of the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance can be seen here. They have recently extended their fundraising activities by opening twelve shops across their coverage area.
WNAA in action above Warwick Castle
GBP 3,159,870 and the Band Played On
Tags: 2012 Festival
A quite astonishing celebration saw the even more astonishing (and still rising) figure of £3,159,870 presented at the 2012 Festival Banquet held at The Clarendon Suites in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The celebration was the culmination of seven years hard work and fun by Warwickshire freemasons in raising funds for the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF).
The Banquet was an absolutely splendid affair, the beautifully decorated ballroom being filled to capacity with round tables of happy groups of “Last Night of the Proms Festival" goers. Patriotic bunting and Union flags surrounded the room, with ample supplies of hand waving flags forming the centre-piece to each table, which were used frantically later on in the festivities. The event was initially oversubscribed, but cancellations ultimately allowed everyone who applied to attend.
Distinguished guests included the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham, the Assistant Grand Master and his wife, together with the President and the Chief Executive of the MSF. After an excellent meal, the speakers heaped praise upon the Brethren of Warwickshire for having achieved such a magnificent result in economic circumstances which had become increasingly difficult since the launch of the appeal in 2005.
Responding to the plaudits with his usual infectious enthusiasm, the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, announced how totally astounded and amazed he was at the figure the Festival had achieved. He had hoped that the £3 million mark would be reached, but to exceed it so well was beyond his wildest dreams. He gave a long list of thanks to all those who had been involved in achieving such a remarkable result, to the work of the MSF, to the distinguished guests present and especially to W Bro Eric Rymer and his wife Jane, and W Bro Peter Wellings for their work in managing the Festival Banquet.
The PGM left the stage to rapturous applause, and baritone W Bro Cliff Bull took charge of the proceedings, leading everyone into singing their hearts out to many well known traditional “proms” type songs, with video footage of the recent Olympic achievements being shown on giant screens situated around the room. There was hardly a dry eye in the house, or anyone left seated at the end.
Finally, the President and his accompanying guests left the banquet, whilst the rest of those present danced in the aisles and sang the night away until well after midnight to the entertainers “The Full Sha Bang”.
What an evening – the words amazing, astounding, achievement, proud, incredible, massive, fantastic, and thank you were used over and over again, and with due cause. A truly magnificent way in which to celebrate the “Last Night of the Proms Festival".
Copies of photographs taken at the event may be purchased from the splendid gallery kindly produced by W Bro Charles Davis, which can be seen online by going to www.professionalphotography.me.uk/p147988877.
George Beech connection
VW Bro Victor Keene has received an email from Edmund William Beech (William preferred) who is the great grandson of George Beech JP, who was Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire from 1913 to 1918.
Bro William is to be installed into the chair of the Ryburn Lodge 1283 on Wednesday 28th November 2012 and hopes that some brethren from Warwickshire could attend to represent the Province. There used to be a George Beech Lodge, sadly this has closed but there may be some former members who would be interested in visiting.
Ryburn Lodge meets at the Masonic Hall, Willow Royd, West Vale, Greetland, Halifax HX4 8AH. They meet in the afternoon around 2.30pm.