Well, here we are almost at the end of another year, which has been packed with events and activities and it’s time to take a moment to reflect on our wonderful Mark Province of London and the many activities embarked upon throughout 2017.
The year started with our principal social event, the Burns Weekend at Bournemouth. The function room at the Highcliff Marriot was nearly filled to capacity and once again we were well fed and looked after by the staff there; and of course right royally entertained on the Saturday evening by Tom and Eunice in their unique style plus of course the usual Toasts and dancing to midnight. Those who have managed to secure a ticket for this coming January’s event can be assured of a similarly high level of enjoyment.
The MBF Walk in May was another huge success of organisation and fund raising. I make no apologies for again congratulating Bill Divall who was the main driving force behind this highly enjoyable fund raiser – a total of £437,934 of which London Mark Brethren contributed over £63,000. Staggering!
On the partying front our End of Year Party at London’s Imperial Hotel was another huge success. The maximum capacity of 180 revellers enjoyed a fun evening and at the same time raised over £1750 for our Charities. The theme was 1950’s and 60’s any many of those attending really took it to heart and joined in the fun in a variety of costumes. Have a look at the photos and see for yourself.
On the Mark Masonry front we have consecrated yet another new Lodge – Gallipoli – and the year has seen Banner Dedications, record attendances on Full Team Visits headed by myself and Official Delegations headed by my Deputy and four APGMs. There have been Awareness Presentations held by Lodges to encourage membership applications and in April, London was well represented at the Grand Master’s Lodges of Instruction Festival in Northampton, when a coachload of us travelled “North of Watford” to support that feast of Royal Ark Mariner and Mark ceremony and ritual.
On that point I am delighted to announce that during the year I awarded four Silver Pins for Excellent Advancement Ceremonies. Three of them are still to be presented at the next Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge – and on that point here’s the date for your diaries – 12th July 2018 at Great Queen Street. 2pm start. Do make sure you come along to this great spectacle which is the climax of our Mark Masonic season. Last July we had some 800 brethren in Grand Temple, all there to support colleagues receiving Provincial Honours and to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of Freemasons’ Hall, enjoy the Processions, the brass band contributions and dine afterwards in the Connaught Rooms.
Brethren all, I remain indebted to you for your continued and enthusiastic support of the 2018 Festival Jewels (lapel badges). This is a gratifying indication of your continuing generosity towards Charity which sits at the heart of every Masonic Order of which we are Members. On my visits to your Lodges and dropping in on your Festive Boards, I have been heartened to see so many of you proudly and voluntarily wearing your badges and MBF Collarets. The main MBF Charity focus this coming year is to provide 52 new state of the art ambulances and support vehicles to the St John’s Ambulance Association throughout England. The target is some £3m. I know that London Brethren will continue to support this worthy cause as we move through 2018.
Brethren, I could continue at even greater length on our successes during the year but I am conscious that many of you are on the eve of many other Festive Season activities so I will end here by directing your attention to our new and improved website and encourage you to refer to that on a frequent basis. It contains a wealth of information about what is going on in this wonderful Mark Province of ours. The Photo Galleries section in particular demonstrates the happy and friendly atmosphere which pervades all aspects of our Mark Degree. The various articles provide all the detailed information you could possibly want concerning the many activities and events taking place.
Time now for me to send you all my very best wishes at this special and for many, poignant time of the year. Our Province is made up of Brethren of many Faiths, so the members of my Executive join with me in sending you all the compliments of the Christmas Season – however you may celebrate it; and of course our fondest hopes for your continued health, prosperity and happiness in 2018.
Looking forward to seeing you again in the New Year.