W Kts, before I begin my address today I wish to thank you all for attending this annual event. It has been hard trying to attract our newer members or those not actively involved in the day to come along but this meeting is for you all. You will meet friends you haven’t seen for a while, come to support your brethren who are receiving appointments and generally have a day out with your Red Cross colleagues as well as meeting many new friends from around the country. I have already introduced these to you so you know how far many of them have travelled to be with us. I do hope you take this message back to your Conclaves and we can see an increased attendance next year.
I have made some changes this year as part of the strategy for succession planning. Please do not read into the appointments today and these are reviewed annually. Graham will do an excellent job but he may not be in office until I retire!
Many Knights attended Grand Imperial Conclave in July where V Ill Kt Phillip Ellenor was promoted to PGHAlm and Ill Kts Martin Elwick and John Watson were appointed to PGWofR and PGHerald respectively. In addition Martin has very kindly donated 6 swords for the use of the Divisional Guard and can be seen in use today.
You have heard from the Divisional Recorder that we continue to attend as many of our neighbouring Divisions as we can and in addition I attended the Division of Essex meeting near Southend. I hope to do one or two along the south coast next year so I can reach my ‘target’ of all Divisions during my term of office. The Divisional Recorder has also been encouraged to send to all Conclave Recorders, the weekly newsletter from Mark Masons Hall with diary dates and news of all the progressive orders managed by MMH
Once again the Divisional Recorder has pre-empted me in referring to our membership numbers and they are not good. Importantly members enjoy their meetings but please do not be so selfish, allow some of your Chapter companions into the secret and invite them to join. Speaking to Conclaves we have several potential members in the pipeline but until they join this means little. There is one who joined last year and will take the KHS in May I hope. Please stand Wilf Elliott, a true gent and premier mason and we are very pleased he has made the leap into this order.
The talk developed by Frank Woolgrove and myself and drastically improved and updated by W Kt James Steele with Neil Webster’s assistance is available and in fact has gone to Mark Masons’ Hall where it is available for all Divisions to use.
In October we had another 50year Jewel to present, this time to V Ill Kt Mike Osgathorp. The Deputy Grand Sovereign was available and attended the Eboracum Conclave meeting in York. It was an excellent day which ended by promoting Mike to PGJG and included Peter Shuker in the promotions after a hurried phone call to the Grand Sovereign as this was omitted last year when Peter received his 50year jewel. Congrats to them both.
Of local interest Middlesbrough houses one of three independent (of each other) hospices for babies and children under 5years old. We applied to the Grand Sovereign’s Fund for Children and they send me a cheque for £2,500 to give them which we did on remembrance day. Every penny is needed as donations are reducing to charities overall and I am very pleased that many masonic orders continue to support this worthy cause.
Socially we continue to enjoy the annual church service with the Mark Degree on the first Sunday after Easter at Welburn church. Our Summer soiree has move to Aughton Golf Club and was a resounding success once we found it and despite the rain, we shall be back there next year. It would be nice to see some prospective candidates at the sioree next year so please start thinking. The Officers Dinner was well attended which was again held at the Allerton Court Hotel in Northallerton.
To ease the pain in some cases, of joining a new order or being promoted within the order the past DIG suggested that we start a regalia exchange service and I’m please to say P Kt Chas Hook has agreed to run this. We will charge a) a reasonable price requested by the donor or b) a donation to charity for the goods. We will not make any money out of this.
For baton watchers everywhere you may have noticed the eagle on my baton has been taking steroids! We have a plan in motion of repairing all of the Divisional equipment and over the years we have re-enamelled the discs of the banner pole, repaired the sword case and cleaned the sword. Stabilised the banner and cleaned and repaired the DIG’s baton. This year it was the turn of my baton so it was sent away to a Masonic Regalia company in Derby who sent it on to a jewellery company in Birmingham who were in the process of moving premises. Guess what? Yes they lost it! The jewellery company and the Divisional Recorder spent many hours on the phone to each other and eventually this new one turned up as a replacement. It is probably of equal quality but doesn’t have the 40 year history the other one had. I shall look after it.
I wish to thank the Divisional Guard for all of their hard work during the year and especially their retiring Captain, Peter Taylor who is moving on to greater things. Finally I thank all of those whose time and efforts have made this day the success it has been especially the Marshals and the Secretariat. Lunch awaits so thank you for your patience and for listening to me. God bless you all.