Well Brethren all, this is it. My final Letter to you all as your PGM. It has been a wonderful 8 years, leading this very special Province – arguably the jewel in the crown of the Grand Lodge of MMM and its Districts and Lodges Overseas. Naturally, as we inch closer to the date when my successor will be installed on 11th July, I have mixed emotions. Sadness in giving up the Office which it has been my privilege and pleasure to hold for so many years but also feelings of satisfaction that I am handing over to VW Bro. Tom Quinn a Province in good heart and made up of so many committed, enthusiastic and generous Mark Master Masons.
Since the publication of my last Letter there have been ups and downs for the Province. Having lost one Past PGM last December, RW Bro. Roeinton Khambatta, I regret I have to write about the passing of another giant in the annals of our Province, RW Bro. David Ivor Williams who died in hospital on 17 June. David was PGM for 10 years and was the PGM who gave me my first Provincial appointment in 1998. His passing is doubly sad, as I was due to present David with his 50 Year Certificate on 26th June, before his own members and a large Delegation of Provincial Officers who had signed up to attend at Prince Leopold Lodge, which was his Mother Mark Lodge.
During the past couple of months there has nevertheless been some very enjoyable news to communicate. The previously-defunct Sydenham Lodge has been ‘reponed’ (to quote the formal terminology) and now operates under the name of Cenabis Bene. The list of Petitioners seeking to be Founders of Locomotion Lodge has almost reached 40 (room for one more driver aboard this special train, Brethren!!) and we are almost at the required minimum for Spirit of Rugby Lodge. So come on Brethren of London! Get your applications to Tom Quinn and make his first few months as PGM truly memorable ones by having two new Lodges to Consecrate. Details are on the website. There are even other activities afoot to form yet another two additional Lodges this coming season, which just proves what a vibrant and exciting Province London continues to be!
On the charity front (something which you all know is dear to my heart) I was absolutely delighted to learn that the 500 Club income this year has mushroomed to £7,500. That’s £3,750 in prizes back to 15 lucky winners in the Province; and just as importantly a similar amount distributed amongst 7 charities – the principal donation of £1,250 going to the Mark Benevolent Fund. Brethren, whilst I must thank Marios Stylianides for all his hard work in promoting this aspect of our charitable giving, I salute you, the Brethren of London, for your continuing generosity. Thank you and well done!
Brethren, as I said above, I am so proud and pleased to see our Province in such good heart. I retire knowing that we have a solid core of members who give exemplary support to their own Lodges, our charities, the Provincial Officers’ Mess and our social events. The End of Year Party is booked for 6th December and the Annual Burns Weekend at Bournemouth, 17th to 19th January, has already started to attract priority bookings. The dining for the 11th July Annual Meeting at FMH Great Queen Street is already over-subscribed but that does not preclude anyone attending the morning Installation (seated by 10.30, please) or the afternoon Provincial Meeting at 4pm. Do attend these if you can, to see the MW Pro Grand Master, our own Ray Smith, install Tom as your new RW PGM and witness Tom investing his Deputy, Tim MacAndrews and his four APGMs.
And one final word of thanks for the extremely generous donations from the London Lodges towards my magnificent retirement gift. Vanda and I are looking forward eagerly to the holiday this will buy on the Orient Express. But I am pleased to report that we will have return tickets and so I will be back with you all, as soon as the conventions of Purdah will permit, to continue enjoying the pleasure of your company, watching your continued success and contributing in whatever way I can, to this wonderful Mark Province of London.
May the Great Overseer bless and take care of you all.