Address by The Most Worshipful Grand Master
Thomas Firth Jackson
to the Annual Assembly of Grand Council
Tuesday 24 October 2017
Brethren may I begin by congratulating all those of you who I have had the pleasure of either, appointing for the first time or promoting in Grand Rank. I know that all of you have deserved your honours and hopefully it will encourage you to even greater exertions in the future. I know that we have other business to transact at these annual meetings, but you and your friends will, I am sure, remember today for a long time to come. I know I still have happy memories of my first visit to London for a Grand appointment. I don’t remember much about the ceremony but I do remember walking here on a wet day looking down into the gutter and seeing a wet £20 note waiting to be rescued, sadly it has been a one off.
Our Order has had another splendid year, beginning in January when I went to John Barr Council in Cumberland and Westmorland to present a 50 Year Certificate to W.Bro. James Wise; a splendid event with Cumbrian hospitality. In March we Consecrated the Goose and Gridiron Council No 275 to meet here in London, another splendid occasion. Our membership has grown considerably over the year with 260 new memberships, which equates to over 1 Candidate per Council. Brethren we can only achieve these excellent results if we continue to encourage gentlemen to join the Craft, for without this first step, we and all the other Masonic Orders will begin to fall in numbers, I therefore urge you all to be diligent in this matter, new blood is essential.
Like last year we have also seen the retirement of 2 District Grand Prefects, namely R.W.Bro. William Seddon in West Lancashire and R.W.Bro. Ray Clare in Essex, both of whom have worked very hard for our Order and I wish to place on record my thanks for their commitment and support. In consequence of this, I installed on the 20th September in Preston, R.W.Bro. Paul Snape to be the District Grand Prefect for West Lancashire and on the 29th September in Southend R.W.Bro. Jeffrey Conway to be in charge of Essex, two splendid occasions. We wish them both well for the future and hope that they enjoy their new role
Only on Saturday we had a very busy day at Mark Masons’ Hall when a party from Greece completed all 5 Degrees in one day, quite an occasion Brethren and I am looking forward to going to Athens on the 28th November to Consecrate their new Council. All this work was carried out by the Grand Master’s Centennial Council and organized by R.W.Bro. Stephen Ayers, to whom I am most grateful it was a day to remember.
Our year began by me presenting a 50 Year Certificate and it has ended on the same high note by me also presenting one to R.W.Bro. Terry Bowler.
I have already mentioned how well our Order is growing; this has only been achieved because of all the hard work put in by the District Grand Prefects. They are a dedicated bunch who not only work hard in their own Districts but also travel considerable distances to support each other at their District meetings. I know it makes a great difference and shows genuine commitment to our Order and I thank you all.
I said at the beginning that we have had rather a quiet year, with most of the work packed into the last few weeks, even so my team of officers have given me splendid support over the year and I hope that they have enjoyed the experience as much as I have
Brethren, I thank you all for your support and friendship not only today but over the last year, continue to enjoy your Allied Masonry to the full. Brethren, I get the feeling that it is now past high time I therefore ask you to cease labour and join me at refreshment.
God bless you all.