Yes, many of you will recall that I have used my old Grammar School motto to encourage action before, here we go again. I know where I will be on Saturday, 13thApril, the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Bradford Grammar School. I know that many of you will be joining me but some of you have yet to confirm the fact by returning the Luncheon confirmation with payment, bear in mind even if you cannot take Lunch, the Ceremony is still worth the visit.
This meeting is the highlight of the year which is the only time you receive a personal Invite from R.W.Bro.Jim Steggles, G.M.R.A.C to his Lodge and it is an opportunity for you to do the courtesy of reciprocating his visits to you. It also provides an opportunity for you to thank him for his last seven years devotion to you and the Province. I should also point out that both the Assistant Grand Master and the Grand Secretary will attend, and it will be a delight to welcome them
Allow me also to remind Masters in the Chair that one of your prime responsibilities is to represent your Lodge at the Provincial Meeting, if possible with your Wardens and-some Brethren. It goes without saying that Grand Lodge officers together with their colleagues of Provincial Grand Lodge should also appear, they should lead by example. I know that I can count upon you all not to let the Province, that means all of us, down or R.W.Bro.Jim, I look forward to seeing you and more particularly, I hope that Jim does.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.
White Rose Lodge of MMM 1067. The venue for their next meeting on Monday the 8th April, 6.30pm is at Hoyle Court Masonic Hall, Baildon, when W.Bro.Geoffrey Hodges , a Past Master of Corinthian Craft Lodge No.3600 will be advanced. Nothing new about that I hear you say but , as ever, the devil is in the detail. The ‘Signs and Secrets’ will be performed by an up and coming Mark Master Mason called R.W.Bro.James Steggles, yes the Provincial Grand Master, not to be missed , he is good at this. And, at the same meeting, W.Bro.Trevor Bolton, Asst.Prov.G.M. will, hopefully , be accepted as a Joining member.
Two significant coups for the lodge and it would be a delight for them and R.W.Bro.Jim if as many of you as possible attended to make it a moment to remember for the candidate. It is at these moments where the Mark Masonic spirit has to appear and therefore I ask you, particularly the members of the Bradford and Districts Installed Masters Association to take note and give your support.
Worshipful Brother John Brooke was Installed at the Midland Hotel, Bradford on Thursday, 14th March in a simple Ceremony of proclamation, a very safe pair of hands. W.Bro. John is a most competent, quiet man who undoubtedly creates an air of confidence which permeates to his team,, they are in for a good year and , with a ladder of Brethren, some interesting, and no doubt fulfilling, years ahead.
The Lodge had been opened by W.Bro.John in due form when the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Andrew Brown was admitted, he having to vacate his temporary role as Tyler. A short while later, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro.Alan Oldfield together with Worshipful Brother John Maxwell, Elected member the Charity Committee entered with Escort. W.Bro.John offered the gavel but was not surprised when it was returned, on with the Proclamation. This was in the hands of the Lodge D.C., W.Bro.Derek Smart who set about his task with gusto. I did detect, when he was organising the Officers in line to return their collars, that some were creating humour by deliberate ignorance but all in good taste. Installing Officers in place, W.Bro Derek proclaimed W.Bro.John and attention turned to the Dep.Prov.G.M., W.Bro.Alan who presented the Working Tools followed by W.Bro.Algis Vasis with the Lodge Grand Patron Collaret, both very well attended. The Lodge can now look forward to the Gold Award status where it is necessary that all Lodges qualify to ensure the Province is eligible, both presentations delivered with sincere efficiency.
The Appointment and Investiture of the Officers for the ensuing year then passed without issue. There was no address to the Worshipful Master with that to the Wardens submitted by W.Bro.Algis, that to the Overseers by W.Bro.Andrew Johnson and the Brethren by W.Bro.Edward Wilkinson, all three superbly handled. Andrew and Edward are affectionately known as the ‘Ant and Dec’ of Old York T.I. and the next item on the agenda was to ballot for W.Bro.Andrew Jagger and W.Bro.Michael Holgate as Honorary Members, they being similarly identified at Old York as ‘Hinge and Bracket’ This was confirmed being an acknowledgement of their efforts to help Aries when it had difficulties for a number of years, very appropriate recognition of their demonstration of Brotherly Love.
Festive Boards are generally of good quality these days but for sixteen pounds this was up with the best; delicious soup followed by succulent breast of chicken and a pudding for those who wished to indulge, that meant that Tony Mackrell had mine, or most of it, as well. The Toast to the Province was given by Bro.Mark Simmons who, speaking from his own experience, paid particular regard to the members of Aries for their mentoring of junior Brethren, imparting their knowledge and wisdom and giving freely of their time when called upon; essentially the backbone of the Lodge, W,Bro. Alan began by congratulating W.Bro.John on not only having past forty eight years after being advanced into St Hiev, where he has been in the Chair twice, but also in anticipation of his 50th Certificate in two years, hopefully many of us will be there to bear witness, A reminder then that the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting is on Saturday, 13th April, support the Provincial Grand Master but also YOUR Province, details on the web site, Freemasonry being an ageing population led Alan to mention the 3 R’s, Recruitment, Retention and Retrieval. An initiative to give momentum in these areas will be unveiled later this year but, in the meantime, we must support our Craft Lodges as they are our fishing grounds.
He then spoke about the debt we owe to our forebears as we are now the custodians of the Lodges and Province following in the footsteps of Carl Whitehead, Bram Morley, Brian Addy, Alec Keay and Brian Emmett to name but a few. We must uphold their legacy, remain true to our obligations and, by the Magic of the Mark, Mark Masonry will make even better Masons out of Masons.
The Toast to the Charities was given by W.Bro.Algis in his own inimitable style, what else can I say ,it was lecture on the ’wagon wheel’ biscuit, it’s shrinkage and value for money; this was the lead however, into the fact that with inflation all should consider their contributions to the Charities and, if there is scope, consider an increase. This was also mentioned by W.Bro.John in reply as was the confirmation that the Cleeves and Whitehead continues to meet it’s obligations., Almoners Luncheon April 1st and Holiday , Inn on the Prom St Annes, 23rd to 29th June. Four Almoners workshops are to be held this year and are open to anybody but specifically Almoners, Masters and any one considering taking the role, details on the web site. Finally, with Paul Leach about to take up the duties of Provincial Almoner, the Elected member for Aries is now W.Bro. Paul Levy.
Another Mark masonic occasion to savour, Smile and be Happy.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.