Stoneleigh Park, in the very heart of Warwickshire, hosted the 2014 Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and proved to be a highly successful choice of venue. Nearly 700 brethren attended the meeting, with over 350 staying for the splendid lunch afterwards.
PGM David Macey (centre) in pre-meeting discussions with his new Wardens
After welcoming everyone to the new venue, 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 Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and several of the acting Officers. The new Wardens were invested, their predecessors having been gratefully thanked, together with the other new acting Officers, following which Past Ranks were conferred or confirmed for the new and existing Provincial Grand Officers.
Brethren eagerley awaiting the opening of Provincial Grand Lodge
In his address to the meeting click here to read the PGM congratulated those who had received preferment in Grand Lodge, referred to membership within the Province and reminded lodges of the Deputy PGM’s support initiative. After announcing the winners of the Lectures competition he gave an update on the position at The Clarendon Suites, advising that a very good conditional offer had been received for the building, thanking VW Bro Alan Wellan and his team for all they are doing. The PGM also made reference to the UGLE tercentenary celebrations in 2017, the Freemasonry Cares initiative and the Famous Five charities, announcing that all five would forthwith be pledged £10,000 from the progress so far made with the appeal.
He 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 day.
Following a collection for one of the Famous Five charities (Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust), which was made whilst everyone sang "Jerusalem" with great enthusiasm and gusto, Greville Lodge 4773 then invited the Province to hold next year’s meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge (to be held on Saturday 16th May 2015) 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.
There then followed what had been a very closely guarded and moving presentation of the Provincial Grand Master’s Certificate of Merit, the first he had presented, with hearty congratulations and many thanks to W Bro Garry Malpas, who was retiring after ten years outstanding service to freemasonry in Warwickshire in a variety of capacities. These had included office as Assistant Registrar, Registrar and Assistant Secretary, in addition to his ubiquitous enthusiasm around the Province and his regular participation in the Lodge Support Team visits, which presentation was duly proclaimed by the Provincial DC.
Before closing, the PGM made special mention of the Provincial Grand Master for Gloucestershire, RW Bro Adrian Davies, who was shortly to retire, congratulating him for the example he had set during his term in office, especially for the success of his out-of-festival achievement (which raised £1.5 million) and his sense of humour, wishing him and his wife Angela well.
Festive Board - Meet the Wardens
David Greenwood (l) and David Butcher
At the festive board the new Provincial Senior Grand Warden W Bro David Butcher proposed a well received toast to the Provincial Grand Master, reminding everyone present that Stoneleigh was the seat of the then PGM Lord Leigh from over 160 years previously. He also congratulated our present PGM on his appointment to the UGLE Board of General Purposes, and made humorous reference to his love of Sunderland Association Football Club. The PGM responded entirely in character with due comment about Aston Villa Football Club, concluding sincerely with the wish that that all present continued to enjoy their membership and thanking them for his toast.
W Bro Butcher spent all of his career in banking and leasing with the Nat West/RBS Group, including ten years in Germany where he ran a number of subsidiary companies. Married to Valerie they have three sons and two grandchildren.
He was initiated into Greville Lodge 4773 (Warwick) in 1976 where his father was then Worshipful Master. His career took him away from the area but he became Master in 2002 and again in 2007. He was appointed as a Provincial Assistant Grand DC in 2009 and promoted to Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2011. He is also active in the Royal Arch and in Mark.
David has a keen involvement with the children’s hospice movement as Chairman of Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust and he is also a trustee of the national charity, Together for Short Lives.
His hobbies are golf, narrow boating and keeping fit at his local gym.
The toast to the visitors was proposed by the new Provincial Junior Grand Warden, W Bro David Greenwood, who had obviously spent some considerable time investigating the attributes, reputations and fame/infamy of each of the Provinces represented. This resulted in an ingenious and entertaining presentation which followed his welcome back to Stoneleigh Park in the Heart of Warwickshire for the first time in 93 years.
W Bro Greenwood 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.
Past Wardens Peter Sorrill (l) and Peter Manning being put to useful task stewarding.
In order to facilitate the meeting Provincial Grand Tyler W Bro Ian Hart, assisted by W Bros Rodney Burlton and David Hill (both accomplished Tylers themselves), and support teams from host Unity Lodge, spent two days moving equipment and setting up the meeting room. This entailed the use of an 18 tonne lorry, kindly provided by W Bro Clive Hampson, to transport everything from the Clarendon Suites, including staging, thrones, pedestals, the “Lodge in a box” (which is huge, containing candles, gavels, ashlars, columns, wands, swords etc etc), banners, standards, carpet, flowers and any number of other accoutrements. Greville Lodge were of course taking careful note and will undoubtedly exceed expectations at next year’s meeting!
(l-r) Rod Burlton, Ian Hart, David Hill in the huge meeting room at Stoneleigh Park