We are fast approaching not only the end of the year but the end of this decade of the “teens”. Probably like myself, you are wondering where the time has gone but as I reflect on the 3 months since I penned my last Newsletter and the whirlwind of Mark and other masonic activities I have been involved in with you all, it is not surprising that the time seems to have flashed past.
Amongst the many highlights of this quarter, we have held our Annual R.A.M. Assembly when some 50 deserving Brother Royal Ark Mariners were invested with Provincial Rank. It has also been my great honour and privilege to represent London at the Annual Provincial Meetings of Berkshire, Dorset, Kent, Devon and Middlesex – thereby presenting Mrs Quinn with little seaside holiday weekends to Weymouth, Torquay and Margate! Within London it has been my pleasure to lead FTVs to Meridian, Scots, Aegean, Eclectic & Empress Britannic, Piscator (50th Anniversary Meeting), Bon Accord (where I had the pleasure of installing the new WM) and MacDonald’s 150th Anniversary. In terms of Provincial Mark ceremonial, the pinnacle this quarter was surely the consecration of two new Lodges – Locomotion and Spirit of Rugby; whilst from a Grand Lodge perspective it was a great honour for me to nip over to Bucharest (as you do!) to assist at the consecration of the new Romanian Inspectorate, acting as Grand Chaplain, and then to lead the Grand Master’s Lodge of Instruction as we Advanced the Assistant to the Grand Master of Romania (Craft) into our wonderful Mark Degree.
On the social side we enjoyed a terrific Mess Lunch and presentation in October from the retired policeman who was the Queen’s Protection Officer for many years; and those of you who have seen the photographs on the website will also be aware of the fun we had at the Province’s End of Year Party at the Imperial Hotel – brilliantly organised by my Deputy Tim, who was ably supported by Paul Willson of Carnarvon 616 Lodge. The Burns Event at Bournemouth looms – 17 to 19 January – but the closing date for bookings is soon and I believe that we are nearly fully subscribed.
On the charitable front it was a wonderful opportunity for me to visit the Wimbledon branch of the St John’s Ambulance Association, in the company of Robert Anderson and Henry Hobson, to hand over the keys for the latest replacement ambulance in the current major MBF UK-wide funding programme. So far as our Provincial activities are concerned, I am aware of the good work which is continuing under Marios Stylianides’ supervision in building up the funds in the 50-50 Club. Please do respond positively when you hear from Marios, as it is my hope that 2020 will be another bumper year and that we will be able to match this year’s donations of £7,500 and invite representatives of a suitable London charity to attend our Annual Meeting on 9th July (put that date in your diaries now, Brethren!) to receive YOUR donated monies. Attilio Grandani, our joint Provincial Charity Steward, has also been busy gathering donations for his traditional Movember shaving and he is also planning another special James Bond event for 18th April next year – another date for your diaries.
In his Address at the R.A.M. Grand Assembly on 10th December, our Pro Grand Master, MW Bro. Ray Smith, urged us all to undertake acts of “kindness” on a daily basis and to let the 4th floor at MMH know of these acts, so that suitable reports can be issued on social media. I am sure that you, the Brethren of London, will not be slow to respond to this request and I look forward to reading about your “kindness” actions in due course.
From a Masonry perspective I am pleased to note that many of our Lodges are regularly putting forward candidates for Advancement and Elevation. Please don’t be shy in selling the qualities and advantages of our wonderful Mark Degree to your Craft/Chapter colleagues. This month’s edition of FMT (pages 44-45) carries an interesting and insightful article about the Mark. Show it to your friends along with the tri-fold London leaflet (see the link elsewhere in your edition of the London Mallet), as although our recruitment numbers are holding steady, we sadly continue to suffer losses through deaths and resignations. Perhaps the most keenly felt in recent weeks have been the losses of V.W. Bros. Aby and Jagdish. Their passing is still being keenly felt by so many Lodges and Brethren.
On a brighter note we are extremely fortunate to be able to count amongst our number a great many distinguished individuals from Metropolitan Craft and Chapter. The recent Metropolitan communication on Appointments and Promotions contains the names of so many London Mark Brethren – too many for me to list and offer individual congratulations but I’m sure no-one will mind if I single out W. Bro. Robert Lakic who has been a terrific supporter and servant of our Province. He is to be a Met Grand Inspector and on your behalf I offer sincere congratulations. Robert tells me a number of the units under his care meet at MMH, so we may even see more of him in the future!
As I come to the end of this December message, Brethren, I feel the need to mention our Mark and R.A.M. ceremonial. The M.W. Pro Grand Master unveiled a new RAM tracing board this week. A picture of it will appear in the London Mallet and I am delighted to announce that we already have two winners of my recently-announced Olive Branch Pin for an excellent Elevation Ceremony. Nick Dodd of BA TI and Graham Tarran of Guild of Freemen will be joining Steve Roberts (Silver Pin for the Mark) on the dais on 9th July to receive their awards. There’s still 6 months left for others to join them!!
In conclusion, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to you all for your commitment and contributions, however great or small, to the success of this, OUR wonderful Mark Province of London; and at this festive period of peace and goodwill, to which I add hope for even brighter prospects to come in the New Year, I wish you all the compliments of the season – however you may celebrate it – and my very best wishes for a happy and successful 2020.
Mark Well, Brethren.