First of all, Worshipful Master, please accept my thanks for this invitation to address the members of our Lodge. I see this as an appropriate opportunity to let the senior members know how I think the Province has progressed at this, the mid point in the Mark year and – perhaps more importantly – what is coming up in the next few months.
Brethren, it is my understanding and interpretation of the activities around our Province, that London Mark remains in extremely good heart. Without going over old ground too much, since last July we have consecrated 2 new Lodges; and there are on the horizon another 2. Khalsa Mark Lodge on 7 March – dedicated to Sikh principles which are just so masonic in their outlook and philosophies; and Metropolitan RAM Lodge, which we hope to consecrate on 25th April.
So far as significant anniversaries are concerned, we have already celebrated Piscator’s 50th last December and Macdonald Lodge’s 150th last October. Coming up is Keystone’s 150th celebrations on 14 May. There are individual milestones to celebrate, too. On Wednesday this week I have a FTV to Sanitarian Lodge to present a 60 Year Certificate to a sprightly 94 year old called George Keen; and at Foundation Lodge on 23 March I will have a 50 year Certificate for Bro. John Temple.
On the social side you can read all about the successful October Mess, End of Year Party and Burns Weekend on the website; and hopefully you have in your diaries the Spring Mess Dinner on 21 April when we will have a talk from that celebrated TV presenter, Mark Smith, on the subject of the Victoria Cross. There are only 25 spaces left at the Union Jack Club for this event – so if you want to be there you need to act quickly.
Before that dinner there is one of Attilio Grandani’s famous ‘James Bond’ evenings, here at MMH on Saturday 18 April. Flyers are available tonight for that event, Brethren, and I would encourage you to support the Province’s social functions, as much as your pocket money and her indoors will permit!
Speaking of money leads me to charity. I am pleased and very proud to say that there continues to be a steady flow, from London Brethren, of donations to the MBF – the Mark’s main charity and it has been my great pleasure to present collarettes to Masters and Commanders whose Lodges have achieved various Patronage levels.
Brethren do feel free to wear your MBF collarettes at Lodge meetings and at London Festive Boards if you wish. Hopefully these will generate curiosity in others and perhaps inspire them to follow your example by taking up a small regular direct debit amount to the MBF, so that they can achieve their own collarette.
Just to finish off this mention of charity monies, Brethren, you must all remain deeply aware of the huge success of the Mini Bus Appeal, run during the time of my predecessor (what was his name?). The current Executive continue to explore an appropriate London beneficiary for our forthcoming Provincial Appeal – so if you have any monies lurking in your Lodge benevolence or charity accounts, hang on to them just now, until we have reached a decision.
Finally Brethren, arrangements for our Provincial Annual Meeting on 9 July are advancing steadily. This year we will be honoured by the presence of the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro. John Prizeman. The Summonses are printed and the first recipients will be those to be appointed and promoted at that meeting. Letters of Appointment will be issued very shortly. I am pleased, however, to announce now some of the key individuals who will have active and very practical duties to discharge next season:
In reverse order:
Provincial Almoner – David Nunn, who takes over from Peter Brindle following his recent appointment as District Grand Master in Hertfordshire of Royal & Select Masters. Peter has kindly accepted Provincial Grand MO for London.
Provincial Junior Warden – W. Bro. Ray Johnson
Provincial Senior Warden – W. Bro. Gavin O’Sullivan
And to fill the vacancy of APGM which will arise when W. Bro. Cliff Sturt retires in rotation having given my predecessor and I sterling service over the past 4 years, I am delighted to advise that W. Bro. Howard Markham has accepted my offer.
Brethren, I am sure that you will want to show your support & appreciation for these appointments in the usual manner – and of course if you want to know the make-up of the rest of next year’s team – well, you’ll just have to come along on 9 July to find out!
And one last final very important message, Brethren. This Province is 30 years old this year. And on Tuesday 17 November we will be holding a black tie Anniversary Dinner to celebrate this milestone. It will be held at the RAF Club on Piccadilly. In attendance there will be the Past PGMs MW Bro. Ray Smith and RW Bro. David Ashbolt. Full details will be issued in due course along with a booking form – but please put that date in your diaries now: 17 November.
Worshipful Master and Brethren, thank you for your brilliant and continued support of our wonderful Province of London and for your kind attention during this Address. I look forward to speaking to as many of you as possible at the Festive Board and throughout the year at our Mark Meetings and elsewhere.
Mark Well Brethren.