Brethren I must begin by thanking you once again for attending our Annual Meeting here in Great Queen Street in such excellent numbers. We seem to go from strength to strength and show I think, though I am rather biased that the Order is in good heart. Today is a day of celebration for us all, but especially for those of you who have been honoured by promotion in or first appointment to Grand Rank, either way Brethren your new rank will have been well deserved. I have congratulated you all individually, but I must also do it collectively for it demonstrates your commitment to our Order and I hope that you and your guests enjoy it to the full for many years to come.
Those of you who read the agenda and I hope Brethren that you do, will have noticed that we have again increased our membership of the Order, this time by 234. This is most encouraging as it is well over 1 member per Council, but as I say each year we can’t afford to be complacent, we must make every effort to encourage the right Gentlemen to join the Craft and then, when the time is right, move further up the Masonic ladder and hopefully join our Order.
These figures Brethren obviously prove that we had another busy year in the Order and though it has been rather an ‘annus horibilis’ period for the ‘boss’, the rest of the officers have, as we would expect, stepped into the breach and done an excellent job, for which I thank you. The wheels fell off at the end of November when I had a slight mishap 5 days before I was due to go to Athens to Consecrate Enosis Council. Luckily R.W.Bro Malcolm Slater was in Athens on K.T. business and ‘volunteered’ to act as Consecrating Officer , for which I, the Grand D.C. and the Grand Secretary, were all very relieved, all went very well and Enosis No 276 was Founded. On the 19th January, Deiniol Council No278 meeting in Bangor, North Wales, was Consecrated by the Deputy Grand Master, who also Consecrated Nine Kings Council of Installed Masters No 277 on the 14th February, to meet in Thames Valley. Also in February the Deputy Grand Master went to Northumberland and Durham to present a 50th Certificate to R.W.Bro Brian Orpeth White to mark his admission into the Order in Royal Kent Council H on the 30th January 1968.
The year has also seen the appointment of 3 new District Grand Prefects. On the 2nd December the Deputy Grand Master installed R.W.Bro John French as the new District Grand Prefect for Surrey in succession to R.W.Bro Ray Hussey. On the 22 August I had the pleasure of Installing R.W.Bro Danny Guy to be the new District Grand Prefect for Northumberland and Durham in succession to R.W.Bro Peter Croft and only on Saturday I went to Oxford to Install R.W.Bro Ian Baily as the District Grand Prefect for Thames Valley in succession to R.W.Bro Ron Bridger. All 3 District Grand Prefects have given long and devoted service to the Order and I place on record my personal thanks for their devotion and friendship over many years.
The fact that the Order continues to grow is due in no small measure to the enthusiasm shown by all the District Grand Prefects, which is evident in the support which they give to each other by attending District meeting and special events around the country. It means that my job is so much easier knowing that any request for help is answered by a resounding ‘no problem’. The same has also been true of all my officers, who have continued to work hard for the Order even when the ‘Boss’ was relaxing on a pair of arm crutches!
The Executive Committee have also been working hard over the year and have updated the Constitutions and Regulations of our Order in Relation to Complaints, Irregularities, Disputes and Appeals. All changes which we feel will make for a smoother running of the Order should any problems arise in the future and I thank you for accepting them; they are very important.
Once again, our Annual Meeting has been well supported by the Heads of the other Masonic Orders and I thank them for giving up their valuable time to be present today. They are all well known to you, will you please refrain from the usual applause till I have completed what, as usual, is quite a long list:
From the Mark Degree, we welcome the Pro Grand Master, V.W.Bro Ray Smith, who I had the pleasure of appointing to Grand Rank today.
From the Knights Templar, we welcome the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, R.W.Bro Paul Clement.
From the Red Cross of Constantine, we welcome the Grand Sovereign, R.W.Bro Graham Flight
From the Royal and Select Masters, we welcome the Grand Master, R.W.Bro Kessick Jones
From the Scarlet Cord, we welcome for the first time, the Grand Summus, R.W.Bro Ian Currans
From the Operatives, we welcome the First Grand Master Mason, R.W.Bro Nigel Willows
From the K.B.H.C. we welcome their Grand Master, M.W.Bro Michael Herbert, our Immediate Past Grand Master
From the S.R.I.A we welcome the Supreme Magus, R.W.Bro John Paternoster
From the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and Order of Holy Wisdom, we welcome the Grand High Priest, Bro Christopher Maiden.
R.W.Bro. Barrie Roy Mansell, District Grand Prefect
W.Bro Roy Allan Mitchell, P.G.St.B.
W.Bro Ian Michael Crawford, Dist. P.G.St.B.
W.Bro. Eddy Bamford, Recipient – P.G.I.G.
W.Bro. Txema Olega-Zalvidea, Recipient P.G.I.G.
W.Bro Jean Verbist, Recipient G.J.D.
W.Bro. Louis De Bouvere, Recipient Grand Steward.
R.W.Bro. Neil Wynes Morse, District Grand Prefect for N.S.W. & A.C.T.
V. W. Bro. George Vasilogeorgis, Recipient P.G. Reg.
W.Bro. Albert Henry Daniels, P.G.St.B
W.Bro. Huite Rietveld, P.G.J.D.,
Right Venerable Bro. Glen A. Cook, G.S.W.
M.W.Bro. Madhavan Chellappa, the Grand Master of the AMD in India
Lastly, I bring you the best wishes of our Past Grand Master, M.W.Bro Tim Lewis. He and I talk regularly and now have more in common, the use of sticks and crutches, he sends his very best wishes to you all and though he is not here in person he is most definitely here in spirit and I will in due course pass on your regards.
Brethren I do hope that you have all enjoyed the day’s events and that you feel that the trip has been worthwhile. Much planning is required for these meetings by both the Secretarial and D.C’s teams and both have worked exceptionally hard to make the day such a success and on your behalf I must express my thanks for another job very well done.
Brethren I close by thanking you all for the help and support you have all given me over what has been a rather difficult year. I wish you and all your Councils another happy year, for you all make my task so enjoyable. Brethren, refreshment calls when I hope to find out more about what is going on in our Order.
God bless you all.