The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

‘Christmas Cometh’ and it starts at Portal Lodge of MMM No,127, 19th December 2019.

Yes, for me the absolute truth and I have been visiting Portal for around about 33 years to start the festivities singing Carols with the Brethren. Not just Carols as we also sing the Holmfirth Anthem, ‘Abroad for Pleasure’, not heard it, go to Barnsley next December and be enlightened. Another delight is ‘While Shepherds watched’ to the tune of Ikley Moor Bahtat’, or as W.Bro. David Sunderaland informed me , Cranbrook, yes that was the hymn to which it was originally sung.  

An excellent attendance, the Lodge was opened in fine style by the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Tim Westlake and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield,  now well on the road to recovery after his second bout of knee surgery, was welcomed and received appropriate salutations. At this juncture the Treasurer, Worshipful Brother Roger Harvey woke up and the Accounts for the year ended 31st August 2019 were received but later, he gave notice that he would propose an increase in subscriptions from fifty five pounds to sixty pounds, still relatively modes in the light of some being seen in the Province. 

Remaining agenda items swiftly despatched. Any other business and W. Bro. Alan intervened and asked that W.Bro. Ralph Thornton be escorted to the floor, a visibly surprised Ralph I may add, He was then presented with the West Yorkshire Royal Ark Mariner Distinguished Service Award. A very singular honour, list of recipients in the Year Book, and undoubtedly well merited. Unusual for an honour in the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners to be awarded at a Mark meeting but perfectly in order and appropriate, Ralph is a longstanding Past Master of Portal Mark.  Brethren of Portal , why not follow Ralph’s lead have a word with one of the members of Portal RAM at your next meeting, we would be delighted to welcome you to the Fraternity.  

The Lodge was then closed and all adjourned to a most welcome festive Board and to set the seal on a superb evening by singing a number of carols and the Holmfirth anthem previously referred to, I was now ready for Christmas. The Toasts were smoothly and professionally expedited by the Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Ian Schofield to facilitate time for the carols. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master , W.Bro. Alan circulated details of the Provincial Sesquicentenary Jewel, the celebrations to take place in August 2021. It is requested that all should wear the Jewel at the event and they will be available at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in April 2020, cost £25.00. To ensure that none are disappointed, perhaps it would be sensible for Lodges to take orders from their Brethren, those at the meeting receive them at the time, remainder to be distributed.  Finally arrangements have been made with Crest Regalia for them to supply West Yorkshire Brethren at a discount of 20% which will be passed on to the Festival, look no further, details on the web site under the heading ‘Store’. The remaining Toasts completed, the raffle was drawn with W.Bro. Ian Booth taking first prize and choosing a golf item but he does not play golf! no matter he had decided that it was a cheap way of giving someone a Xmas present, Good thinking Boothy.

Smile, be happy , you are a Mark Master Mason.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, PGSD.

Communications Manager.

W.Bro. Brian Harrison returns home to Abbey Lodge of RAM. No.768. Friday, 29th Nov. 2019

Brethren from the four corners of the Province congregated,   including a goodly number of Post Captains in the West Yorkshire Fleet, at Knaresborough Masonic Hall to witness W.Bro. Brian take the helm of the good ship Abbey. Present was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Alan Oldfield who was welcomed by the Skipper, Worshipful Master, W.Bro. David Lees and given appropriate salutations. W.Bro David then opened the Lodge with all assembled on the foredeck, minutes confirmed, a ballot was taken for a joining member Brother Bill Coverdale which proved positive and he was admitted, together with Bro. Garth Rowland, similarly approved at the previous meeting. They were welcomed by W.Bro. David and took their places in the Lodge

W.Bro. Brian, already an Installed Commander, nay he also holds Prov.R.A.M.G.R., and this, therefore, was a short ceremony. Those below the rank of an Installed Master left for a short while, David having paid sincere thanks to all those who had held office in the Year.  W.Bro. Brian then repeated necessary parts of his obligation , was invested with the Collar of W.C. and placed in the Chair of the Lodge by W.Bro. David. Appropriate at this juncture to mention that David has been seriously ill of late, spending a number of weeks in hospital. In the light of this, his performance was admirable, a stunning display of commitment, tenacity and determination, he was not going to let the Lodge, or his Brethren, down and he did not.

The Brethren below the rank of an Installed Commander admitted, W.Bro. Brian was duly proclaimed as W.C. and the Keystone collarette was explained in fine form by W.Bro. Kevin Lloyd and presented to Brian by W.Bro. David. This then gave rise to one of the highlights of the ceremony, the Exhortation in the hands of W.Bro. Les Davy which he delivered in a clear, precise and measured manner,  a delight to witness. The Appointment and Investiture of the officers was then despatched, no surprises other than one of the longest presentation addresses I have ever heard and this was to W.Bro. Paul Clark, the Organist! 

The Installation now complete, attention turned to the Agenda and a Past Masters Jewel, richly deserved, was presented to David by W.Bro. Les Davy who, in passing, mentioned that David is , of course, the Junior Vice president of the Leeds and District I.M.A. At this juncture, we were set to move to closure when  the Deputy. P.G.M., W.Bro. Alan called W.Bro. Ron Moreton on to the floor when to the surprise, and delight of all, W.Bro,Ron was presented with the West Yorkshire Royal Ark Mariner Distinguished Service Award. A very singular honour, list of recipients in the Year Book, and undoubtedly well merited. It left Ron virtually speechless which very few of us have ever seen before. The lodge was then closed.

The Festive board was a delight and I have seldom seen anything as good with five courses, tea/coffee and mints., replete was the word The Toast to the Province was in the capable hands of the Lodge D.C., W.Bro. Richard Stone who praised the Provincial officers, and their Grand Lodge colleagues, in  being there when required and with the fund of expertise and experience they possess , maintaining the Lodge on the right track. He considered also the commitment of the Rulers in in supporting all the Lodges. In response W.Bro. Alan, emphasised that , whilst all is well with the Festival, it is still paramount that all Lodges bear in mind the need to qualify for Grand Patron Gold Award to ensure the Province is similarly confirmed. In respect of the Festival Festival, only one major event next year, the Masonic Cycle Challenge in June 2020, 400 miles, for details see the web site home page.  Finally arrangements have been made with Crest Regalia for them to supply West Yorkshire Brethren at a discount of 20% which will be passed on to the Festival, look no further, details on the web site.

A pleasure to see W.Bro. Gerry Barker present but sadly the only Commander in the Chair to attend. Can I remind all Worshipful Commanders that, accompanying the delight of being the Boss comes the obligation to represent your Lodge around the Province. Hopefully see many more of you in 2020.

What a wonderful Fraternity of which to be a member.

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith, PGSD.

Communications Manager.

Installation at Truth Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.137, The Mould is broken !

The Installation took place at Greenhead Masonic hall on Thursday, 21st November 2019 when the Senior warden, Brother Argthur Wainwright was placed in the Chair by W.Bro. Graham Daniel, the last two W.M’s being of the recycled variety.

W.Bro. Graham opened the Lodge in due from, the minutes were approved and, upon a report, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies was admitted and informed W.Bro Graham that the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. wished to join the party which was immediately granted. He entered accompanied by W.Bro. Chris Oldfield, Elected member of the Charity Committee and an appropriate escort.  The gavel was duly offered but whilst the P.G.M. was delighted to be present he was not sufficiently delighted to take the Ceremony.

Bro. Wainwright was presented by W.Bro Alan Jones,  the Installing Master then obligated his successor, explained the Signs and Secrets,  invested him with the Collar and Badge of his Office and placed him in the Chair of Adoniram.  W.Bro. Walter Pell explained and presented the Keystone Collarette followed by W.Bro. Tom Jenkins with the meaning of the Working Tools, in both cases not a ritual book in sight. At one point apparently a butterfly landed on W.Bro. Arthur which was captured by W.Bro. Steven Spooner who had the presence to show it the door, perhaps not such a good idea as it was quite warm in the building and close to freezing outside.; well poor butterfly what will be will be!

The appointment and Investiture of the Officers for the Ensuing year then took place, no surprises but? It should be noted that W.Bro. Graham having stepped into the breach a year ago gave the Lodge some scope to see Brethren on the ladder giving W.Bro. Arthur his opportunity after only three years as a Member. There surely will be repetition in 2020 as the Inner Guard, Bro. Steven Lester made the monumental leap to Senior Warden. I intend to be back at Truth in a years time, join me.  The Addresses then followed, that to the WM by W.Bro. Richard Brooke, Wardens,  W.Bro. Walter Pell Overseers,  W.Bro. Richard Brooke, you cannot keep good men down. and the Brethren by the PGM, all in superb fashion. A cheque  was handed over to W.Bro. Chris Oldfield  by the Charity Steward, W.Bro. Philip Dunn who proudly proclaimed that it ensured that Truth Lodge had now qualified as a Grand Patron Gold Award Lodge, well done. The Provincial qualification draws ever nearer. 

The remaining items on the Summons were dealt with including the Almoners Report. This was presented by W.Bro. George Foster who commented that the WM had earlier mentioned two words that very rarely go together, Foster and Brevity and then went on to prove the point On a serious note, George is one of the most capable and committed Almoners in the Province. It is a key role which truly reflects our Principles. 

The Festive Board eagerly devoured, W.Bro. Andrew Taylor submitted the Toast to the  PGM, a man who sets an example to all and who seems to get everywhere in the Province,. Thanking him for his kind words, R.W.Bro. Jim said that it was in 2016 when he was last at Truth and presented W.Bro. Arthur with his Grand Lodge Certificate! A reminder that the 4 R’s initiative is now launched covering the four areas of Recruitment, Renewal, Retrieval and Reinvigoration. Lodge Secretaries have all the detail and it is imperative that a Lodge Coordinator is appointed to manage the process. This is vital to the future success of our Order, ‘The Magic of the Mark’.He also reported that a number of MBF Grants have been made which affect our Province. This month a donation will be made to the Forget-me-not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield, a rapid response vehicle is planned for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a donation to Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield for 20 special syringe drivers together with a new mini bus for Martin House Hospice and the refurbishment of a canal barge for the Mirfield Charity Safe Anchor Trust. A total amount donated into our community by the MBF this year of over £180,000. We should all feel extremely proud to be Mark Master Masons. 

Appropriately this was followed by the Toast to the Charities, eloquently put by W.Bro. Philip emphasising that, in West Yorkshire, we are the envy of all with our dedicated Charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, the Jewel in our Crown. Responding, W.Bro. Chris confirmed all remains in order with the C & W, Almoners Luncheons confirmed for next year and the holiday at St Annes, June 14th to 20th2020. Both are very highly valued by Brethren and Dependants,. The major Fund raising initiative in 2020 will being the Mark Masonic Cycle Challenge 2020. Full details are on the web site. Perhaps give thought to supporting particular riders those, if any, from your own Lodge. Another date for your diary, the Sesquicentenary of the Province in 2021, The meeting will be held on Saturday the 7th of August, one not to miss.

Smile and be happy, you are Mark Master Masons

Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Communications Manager

Season’s Greetings from the Provincial Grand Master

A Christmas Message from the Provincial Grand Master

To all Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners who access this web site over Christmas, I wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful, but above all a healthy and very successful New Year.

2019 saw the Centenary of two of our Mark Lodges, Peace 681 and Halifax 706, and the Dedication of our first Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Banner.
It also saw a host of Social events, although we were all saddened by the sudden cancellation of our Christmas Ball due to a boiler failure at the hotel. It has been rearranged for 5th December next year, so I hope to see you there.

For the Festival, the Perimeter Perambulation raised an astonishing £9,000 and we enjoyed a multitude of Lodge and other Festival events. Thank you all for your tremendous efforts in support of our Festival so far, but please do get involved in organising more of those Lodge events. They will be critical to the eventual success of our Festival in 2023.

2020 will be even busier, with two Lodges celebrating 150 years; Integrity 110 in May and Copley 111 in September.
Lightcliffe 715 also celebrates its Centenary in July and Thorne R.A.M. its 50 years Jubilee in March.
We will also see the birth of the 45th Mark Lodge in the Province when our new Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge is consecrated on 2nd May. And please don’t forget the Provincial Meeting itself on 18th April next year.

We will also see our Recruitment and Retention efforts intensify in 2020, as our quest to safeguard the future of Mark Masonry in West Yorkshire continues apace. This is something in which we can all play an important part by embracing the ‘4 R’s Project’ in our Lodges.

The main Provincial Festival event next year will be the Masonic Cycle Challenge, 400 miles of gruelling cycling over some very interesting terrain. Not for the faint hearted, although you can join the cyclists just for a local section if you wish. You can sponsor the event by clicking on the MC2 link on the Home Page of this web site.

So thank you all for the tremendous support you have given to me and the Province this year. It really is appreciated.
I look forward to working very closely with you all once again in 2020, but in the meantime please take care of yourselves over Christmas and I extend my very best wishes to you and your families over the Festive Season.

God Bless you all – and Mark Well

Jim Steggles