WEST KENT PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE – 2 May 2017 – PGM’s ADDRESS – AM
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today to support this very special Annual Festival.
I cannot begin to tell how privileged I continue to feel to lead such an outstanding Province and I offer my gratitude to each and every one of you for joining us in such overwhelming
numbers. I hope that it will prove to be a memorable experience, not only during our Business meeting this morning, but at the Luncheon and Investiture ceremony this afternoon, where we will be joined by our younger ranks, our families, friends, non-Masonic guests and Community leaders.
Today, a number of our Executive members have stood down – Paul Flowerday as APGM, Ted Smith as our Provincial Secretary, and Mark Eyles-Thomas as our Provincial Membership Officer – their service has been exemplary over many years, and I want to place on record my gratitude for all they have done. Of course, I congratulate their successors, Eric Hampson, James Marsh and Jason Pearson respectively.
I’d like to make a particular mention of our retiring Secretary, who has been enormously helpful in assisting me with a wide variety of issues – Ted, thank you so much for all that you have done for us as a Province and for me, as an individual.
So much has been achieved in the last 12 months and many of you are to be congratulated on the way you have embraced our Provincial Strategy. Now that you have become familiar with it over the past 12 months, our focus for the coming year will be on delivery to our strategic objectives and achievement of its goals – with reform and responsibility as a priority.
Our Membership initiative, under M E-T, and the series of training sessions for Lodge Membership Officers, have borne fruit and those Lodges that have appointed a Membership officer have seen the benefit in ample streams. We have witnessed a marked increase in new recruits and some Lodges have enjoyed a rich seam of new members and a healthy waiting list of recruits. In addition, the work being undertaken by John Perkins and his Mentoring team is assisting with the reduction of resignations, through enriching our members’ experience. Our medium term objective is to flat-line our membership attrition and then onward to membership growth, through the proactive measures you are all taking.
We usually receive some 150 new members per annum into the Province. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in this, our Tercentenary year, supported by the increased visibility through Press and Televisual exposure, we were to redouble our efforts to be open, engage more actively with like minded friends and acquaintances, and see that ingress reach 300 new members – I lay down that challenge to you, and hope that you will rise to it over the next 12 months.
Following the inauguration of our Light Blues Club last year, it has recently held its first AGM and elected its new committee – I wish Darren Enright, its Chairman, and his team every success in the future, and I have already arranged meetings with him to underscore our support to them and help develop their membership still further.
Our new Streamline Lodge has prospered enormously, with a surge in initiates and new membership applications. I am delighted to announce that, earlier this year, it received accreditation from the Universities Scheme, with links now established with the University of Greenwich, from which two of its new members have come – and we will be active during its Freshers’ Week, to showcase how membership of the Craft might add value to its current and prospective students. The Lodge is shortly to sponsor a new Chapter and I wish it well in its development.
Following the resounding success of our Motorcycling Lodge, it will be joined by other themed Lodges in 2017, in the field of Shooting, Cycling and also a Marine Lodge, and I am also pleased to have welcomed two new Lodges into our family – Tottenham Secundus and Desaguliers.
Since my appointment, I have been greatly assisted in formulating and articulating our Provincial Vision and Internal & External Communications Strategy by Jim O’Donnell, our Head of Communications. I must also record my thanks to Fred Halligan for his contribution to the Communications Team – within the Province and in the Community – and the tireless work he has undertaken to develop our communications channels. Our Press Coverage more than doubled in 2016 and we are on target to double that 2016 figure in the first six months of this year! Our Facebook membership now exceeds more than 1,000 members and that channel has provided me with the opportunity to share with you, in real time, my activities as PGM and the large number of community events which I have supported and attended, to help raise the profile of Freemasonry in West Kent.
Our Provincial Website now carries my video messages – which I intend to record regularly. You will also notice we are filming PGL today – and hope to be able to make DVD copies available to members. We also recognise that we need to be more proactive in engaging with our local Communities – and I will return to that theme this afternoon.
Our Centres continue to flourish and I want to place on record my appreciation for Chris Roberts, our DPGM, and his team, who have set the Welling Masonic Centre on its new path. The new dining facilities at Wrotham are delightful and I know that it has further development plans. Our active liaison with our Centre Chairmen continues and, at our recent Centre Chairman’s dinner, many topics of interest were discussed, and best practice shared to their mutual benefit.
Your support to my calls for action and your magnificent generosity during the last 12-18 months has known no bounds. Bob King and his Tercentenary team, supported by Roland Stokes, our tireless Charity Steward, have encouraged you to raise incredible sums – of which more this afternoon. Your support to the Canterbury Cathedral appeal, and your superb attendance at its Service of Thanksgiving, not least the Provincial Tercentenary Ball, at which over 320 of you supported Laura and I, were a testament to their efforts. Now that their team’s objectives have been achieved, I congratulate Bob King and his team for exceeding their fundraising objectives and thank them today – at the conclusion of their task – for a job well done. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Today, I am launching our new fundraising initiative to run for the next 12 months – the CALM appeal or Community Appeal for Local Mayors and my thanks go to Roland Stokes and Fred Halligan for the preparatory work they have undertaken to date. Through this initiative, we will seek to make a meaningful difference to our local Mayors’ fundraising efforts, which will hugely benefit the work of those local charities that are so reliant on local financial support – of which more this afternoon.
Brethren, the history books record a myriad of changes and evolution over the last 300 years, and we’ve certainly witnessed an acceleration of that change in recent times. All around the world things we took for granted are evolving and we must seek to capitalise on this zeitgeist for change.
The “Y” Generation, the next generation of our members, has its own aspirations, with views around loyalty, authority, intellect, speed and adaptability to change. And we must capture their imagination. They will not accept, nor understand, the “we have always done it this way” paradigm.
Of course we need to be efficient and provide VFM for our members. Naturally, we need to meet our Membership’s expectations and provide them with a fraternity, which does just that. To achieve this we need to constantly improve and refine our activities and our approach – and this is what next year will be all about. I will also be supported by a different kind of Provincial Office at Bromley, with a clearer structure, and focussed primarily on servicing the needs of the Executive and our membership, and immediacy of delivery in its outlook.
I am conscious of my responsibility to lead and develop our Province in a modern and engaging way, to make the Order attractive in a World that is entering uncharted waters. And that is where Freemasonry can offer most – to provide the principles, support, skills and reassurance that every man needs to be happy and fulfilled, irrespective of secular uncertainties, and prevailing circumstances.
We have been here, for our members and our communities, for 300 years and seen seismic change in that time. Evolution shouldn’t faze us – it will bring out the best in us – and I am proud to stand alongside you as we once again seek to evolve, succeed, and deliver.
You can, as always, continue to count on my commitment to achieve those aims. Above all, Brethren, continue to enjoy your Freemasonry and may God bless you all.
WEST KENT PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE – 2 May 2017 – PGM’s ADDRESS – PM
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today to support the Province in a new chapter in its history and am overwhelmed at your attendance today in such numbers.
To many of us present today, Freemasonry has proved to be one of our enduring passions which we are pleased to share with you today – to those of you visiting this magnificent building for the first time, I extend you hearty welcome and trust that you will enjoy the spectacle that is our Investiture ceremony.
I must start by stating how indebted we all are to Ted Smith, Provincial Grand Secretary and his administrative team, for implementing a complete change to our arrangements which have functioned for 44 years, and which have enabled us to open our doors to more of our members and so many of our loved ones. Together with Chris Clark and his ceremonial team, they have worked tirelessly and effectively to ensure today’s arrangements have progressed so smoothly.
Today, we celebrate and rejoice with those who have contributed so much to the success of our Lodges in West Kent and the development of the Province who, as a result, are rewarded with a first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank or a promotion thereafter.
I would like to congratulate Colin Wright and Ted Smith, the recipients of our Invicta Award today, who have been loyal and dedicated servants to Freemasonry in West Kent over very many years and, due to their efforts, have received the highest recognition that can be bestowed on them in my capacity as Provincial Grand Master.
I would also like to congratulate and publicly acknowledge those four members who, in this very room last week, were appointed to Grand Rank by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. Perhaps, they would stand as their names are read, so that you can join me in congratulating them with applause once they have all stood – Ian Gallehawk, Hari Williams, Robert Order and Paul Holmes.
Brethren, West Kent currently enjoys huge success. However, the world will keep changing – and present new challenges – and we need to be prepared to meet them. Whilst we will always expect the highest standards from our members, each new generation of membership will have different expectations of us, and we must not disappoint them. We can only prosper if we evolve together.
Your fundraising efforts for those needy recipients over the last 12 months have been nothing short of sensational. During that time, our records show that our Lodges and Chapters have made donations of £141,954 to worthy causes and local charities, our Provincial Charity Committee has donated another £20,750, the Tercentenary Appeal raised £115,000, our three calls to action for TLC, MSTFC and Assoc of Friends at PGDKC raised a further £65,000, resulting in a magnificent total of £342,704 raised by the most wonderfully generous and supportive members I could have ever hoped to have been blessed by – when we add to that the additional £58k grant received from MCF, the total sum distributed to our local charities increases to over £400,000.
I would now like to welcome our Honoured guests – the Mayors of our Boroughs and Districts that fall within West Kent – in advance of the launch of our next fundraising initiative. From:-
• Bexley: The Mayor Cllr Eileen Pallen & Mr Mark Pallen
• Bromley: The Mayor Cllr Ian Payne & Deputy Mayor Cllr Hannah Grey (Mayor for 2017-18)
• Sevenoaks: The Mayor Elect Cllr Maxine Chakowa & Mr Bryan Chakowa
• Dartford: The Mayor Elect Cllr Rosanna Currans & Escort Corinna Bailey
• Tonbridge & Malling: The Mayor Elect Cllr Roger Dalton & Escort
• Tunbridge Wells: The Mayor Cllr David Neve & Cllr Julia Soyke (Mayor for 2017-18)
Our support for local charities in our Province will continue, and today, I am launching our initiative for the next 12 months, called the “West Kent CALM Appeal” – which stands for Community Appeal for Local Mayors. Each year, our Mayors undertake fundraising activities on behalf of local charities in each of their areas and the CALM Appeal will allow us to support their fundraising efforts. We plan to support each of the six Mayors across our Province with a donation of £10k, to be presented no later than our next Annual Festival in May 2018. A modest contribution of £15 per capita from each Lodge and Chapter will enable us to raise the required £60,000, with any surplus funds being ring-fenced to enable us to match-fund any donations, which Lodges or Chapters may wish to undertake. Further details will be circulated to you all tomorrow morning by Roland Stokes, our Provincial Charity Steward. Once this appeal is successfully concluded, it will be time to continue to replenish our Relief Chests to enable us to support our next Provincial Festival, which is to be launched in 2020 and is expected to be concluded in 2026.
I’m also delighted to welcome one of my personal guests, the Very Rev Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester, who has once again generously agreed to allow us to hold our Annual Choral Evensong service this coming Sunday, which I am sure you will attend in good numbers, and who we in West Kent have been delighted to have supported today with a contribution to its Community Choir.
Whilst our membership does so much for others, it was heart-warming to see the support which you all gave to the PSA testing initiative which Colin Wright encouraged me to promote – over 800 members and their friends took part in the three testing sessions at Bromley, Tunbridge Wells and Dartford, which have proved life saving in some 80 cases where the tests have proved positive.
Going forward, it will be a pre-requisite to be more inclusive with our Membership:
• of those with differing talents,
• of those with time constraints – both business and family responsibilities
• of all ages… from our Under-Graduates in the Universities Scheme to the longest serving members in the Province, and
• at all levels of seniority – from the most junior to the most senior
And that means being inclusive with our Members’ families. We will do this by:
• an appreciation of the pressures of modern day life
• an understanding of the Communities we live in – and their needs
• our support for unforeseen circumstances and times of difficulty
• a desire to engage with you through appealing, modern, social events that cater for a new generation of members
• and finally, and most importantly – our open and public recognition that our work commitments and members’ families take precedence over everything – and always will have first call on our Members’ time and resources.
You are all part of the next chapter of history – and we are blessed with being able to craft it together – right now. The future success, impact, and popularity of Freemasonry are what we hope will be our legacy – and what future generations will be able to enjoy.
It is a big responsibility for everyone in the room – but a hugely exciting and challenging one that I am convinced is within our capacity and talents. This has been a very special day for West Kent – and I thank you all for coming along to Provincial Grand Lodge to celebrate with us.
God bless you all…
3 May 2016 – PGM’s ADDRESS TO THE BRETHREN
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today. I cannot begin to tell you how privileged I feel to lead such an outstanding Province and I’m grateful to you all for joining us in such overwhelming numbers.
An important part of the day will be to honour and celebrate with a host of distinguished Brethren. Those that have given decades of unstinting service to the Province – and we recognise and respect their outstanding contribution. Others, we will be recognising in anticipation of the contribution made to the Province in coming years – and how they will shape and influence our success in the future.
All have a role to play in the Province, in differing capacities, and I congratulate each and every one of them.
It is also a day tinged with sadness, in that we acknowledge those who are standing down today after exemplary service – Ian Walker as APGM, Graham Higgs as Orator and Eric Hampson as GDC.
I would like to make a special mention of our departing GDC, who has been enormously helpful in assisting me with the number of official visits and events we have undertaken together and easing the “new boy” into the role in such an efficient and understanding manner. His coordination with Ted Smith, PGSec and their respective teams, has been exemplary and they should be congratulated for delivering this wonderful event.
Brethren, in October, we defined our three key Provincial initiatives: –
Membership, Communication and the development of our Masonic Premises
We also identified our five Provincial priorities – the “5Rs” that guide our future activities, namely:-
Retention, Recruitment, Relief, Reform, Responsibility
And we have made major progress in each of these areas in such a short time.
We have seen a marked improvement in the number of new recruits joining our Lodges, which bodes extremely well for the future.
Mark Eyles-Thomas, as Provincial Membership Officer, and his new team of keen, enthusiastic Membership coordinators are already doing great work with our Lodges, conveying the benefits of the UGLE sponsored “Membership pathway”, to aid recruitment and retention.
There has also been enormous interest in the new “Light Blues Club”, for those below Provincial Rank, and we look forward to the inaugural meeting this Saturday, which has attracted an attendance in triple figures.
Since last October, we have developed and strengthened our communications mechanisms and processes.
Over the past few months, we have: –
Appointed an experienced Provincial Head of Communications
Established an ever-evolving Communications Team
Actively sought your views at the POM and made greater use of the feedback
Created a Provincial Facebook page, which now has 829 members
Revisited our “E-Flash” system, which advises members of events in real time
Appointed Centre Information Officers and the Prov Twitter feed
3) Masonic premises
We have already held a Centre Chairman’s’ Dinner and, such was its success, that we are promoting it as a more frequent event in our calendar. We have also held meetings with several Masonic Centres to help develop their future.
I turn now to the issue of Charity – in these austere times, the importance of our charitable giving is greater than ever. In October, I challenged you to support two short-term initiatives and a medium term one for 2017, namely: –
£2-50 per member for the TLC and MSTFC, to raise £10k for each, and during 2017, £15 per member to raise our £50k contribution for the Tercentenary appeal at Canterbury Cathedral, with any surplus funds supporting local charities.
Brethren, you went way beyond my expectations … I can now advise you that, so far, the astonishing sums you raised were: –
TLC – £21,255
MSTFC – £20,040 – which will allow an incredible 50% increase in the number of events it is now able to run, and
2017 – £52,365 in just 4 months
My grateful thanks go to Roland Stokes and his team for their wonderful achievement for the former two, and to Bob King and his team, for their work on the Tercentenary appeal – and look forward to the support from the remaining Lodges in due course.
But what of the future?
We want a strong organisation in order to achieve more than we have ever done before; and I would like to share with you today our objectives for the future, so we are all aligned with our chosen direction of travel.
The close working relationship of the “Holy Trinity” – Secretary, Almoner and Mentor – is essential for the success of our Lodges and, now that it will be supplemented by the work of the Membership Team, will reap enormous benefits in maximising the retention of our members, and redress membership attrition.
I promised to “listen” to our membership and deliver to our members’ and prospects’ expectations – and the more engaged nature of our POM, together with an active Light Blues Club, will ensure that we exchange ideas to achieve that aim.
The luxury of time is a great one – and sadly, one not possessed by all. I am therefore keen that we do our utmost to offer a Masonic involvement to as many sectors of our society as possible. My greatest concern is for the working man – with a pressured day job – that struggles to make our meetings if they continue to start midway through the afternoon on a working day.
To that end, I am delighted to announce that one of our lodges, with a 138 year history – Hervey and Kentish Companions – is to continue its evolutionary nature, by becoming our first “Streamline Lodge” – with meeting times, agendas, practices, and festive boards designed to fit in with the needs of the busy man. I wish them well – and expect them to pioneer this new style with creativity and aplomb. It also wishes to become our Universities Scheme Receptor Lodge, and I see this a real lodge of innovation.
Equally, I believe that that “Themed Freemasonry” also has a major part to play in the future, which combines our classical masonry with other social pastimes. We already have “Motorcycling Lodge”, and am delighted that Danson Park Lodge is shortly to embrace the many who expressed an interest in developing the “Cycling” theme.
Our ambition is to be successful and diverse – and I would strongly encourage your expressions of interest for other “Themed” proposals – that will prove attractive to our current membership – and enticing to those who may wish to join the Craft as a consequence.
Implementing a Provincial Skills Audit, to assist establishing our depth of expertise
Commissioning a new website
Producing new explanatory brochures and material to support the Craft and Royal Arch
Introducing “TeamApp” – a real time source of information for smartphone users, for prospective & existing memberUGLEs
Provided the membership a dedicated PGM e-mail address, to contact me directly
Re-worked a new e-Version of “West Kent News” – which is to be rolled out imminently.
Masonic Centres will need to establish the challenges that face them and evolve creatively – if they are to compete in the years to come with the myriad of alternatives available, and engage with an ever-changing and diverse membership with eclectic tastes. Brethren this is not new – change has been with us throughout our history – after all, we no longer meet in Coffee Houses – and we must adapt accordingly.
I would like today to announce another call to action – a £2.50 donation per member during 2017 – this time to support the incredible work of the Association of Friends at PGDKC. These volunteers work tirelessly at the Home to provide residents with recreational amenities and activities, those extra facilities that the residents would not otherwise receive and, most importantly, to bring the outside world in to those who are not able to leave the home. The launch announcement will be circulated tomorrow – and am sure that Roland Stokes, and his team, can count on your support for this important aim.
Today, I am proud to be honouring Masons with profoundly more experience than I. Likewise, there are Brethren here today that are attending PGL for the first time. We should consider the journey between these two Masonic milestones. In my view, we need to “de-mystify” how an eager, keen young Mason, can develop his journey and have his expectations met and, in turn, inspire new candidates to join the Craft and embark on theirs.
I would contest that we have three essential key areas to address.
Faithfulness to your Lodge – its activities and offices
Faithfulness to your Province – its stated aims, objectives and ambitions, and
Faithfulness to your Brethren – by exhibiting collegiate “Behaviours” that are a credit to you, your Lodge and your organisation.
If you are faithful to these key areas – they will always remain faithful to you.
These are the three key qualities that we will be looking to identify and develop in our membership in the future – and recognise with preferment accordingly.
Brethren, I am blessed by an incredible group of members whose service I value, and my commitment to each and every one of them, for as long as I am in post – is assured.
I am enormously optimistic of our future – let’s continue to “make a difference” in everything we do, but above all, have fun and enjoy our Masonry.
May God bless you all
20 October 2015
Brethren, it is an incredible sight to see so many of you here today to support the Province in a new chapter in its history and I am overwhelmed at your attendance today in such numbers. Together with my wife, children and grandchildren, Freemasonry has proved to be one of my key passions and it is wonderful to see so many of you here to mark what can only be described as one of the most memorable moments of my Masonic journey to date.
Firstly, MWPGM, we are delighted to have you with us today, especially given your busy schedule here tomorrow, and we are all most grateful for presiding over our Investiture today and for the excellent work undertaken by you and the other installing officers this morning.
My gratitude is also extended to W.Bro Giles Shilson, GDC and his team of Deputies, for the ceremonial arrangements and the members of the Grand Secretariat, for all that they have done behind the scenes to ensure that this morning’s proceedings have run so smoothly.
West Kent is familiar with this magnificent building as it is the venue for our Craft and Royal Arch Annual Festivals, and we are again most grateful to have been granted permission to hold our Investiture here today.
I am also personally indebted to Ted Smith, Provincial Grand Secretary and his administrative team, W.Bro Eric Hampson and his entourage of DCs, Chris Roberts and Bob King, Deputies in Charge, who have all worked so tirelessly and effectively to ensure today’s arrangements have progressed without a hitch.
Brethren, it goes without saying that I am honoured to have been asked to become the next Provincial Grand Master for West Kent. It will be a privilege to lead such a strong, successful, and well managed Province and we have my predecessor, Jonathan Winpenny and his Provincial Executive, to thank for their exemplary stewardship. Theirs is a legacy I am keen to preserve and develop, and in no way do I underestimate the scale of that responsibility.
Today marks a new page in the history of the Province and we welcome W.Bro Philip May as an APGM to the Executive team – his efforts in ensuring such an outstanding success with our fundraising efforts towards the 2015 Festival was a model of effective management. Since his appointment was announced, he has already proved invaluable to me with assistance on other initiatives and I entertain no doubt that he will be an enormous asset to the Executive.
We must also acknowledge the untiring work of W.Bro Doug Hughes, who has overseen many of our initiatives in his time on the Executive, and with whom I have had such great pleasure working closely over many years. Doug, you have been a great personal friend and will be much missed on the Executive.
Brethren, West Kent currently enjoys huge success. However, the world will keep changing – and present new challenges – and we need to be prepared to meet them. Whilst we will always expect the highest standards from our members, each new generation of membership will have different expectations of us, and we must not disappoint them. We can only prosper if we evolve together. It’s not evolution for my sake or because it is fashionable, it is unavoidable as the world keeps changing and we must adapt. If we don’t evolve, we will wither and decay; therefore, the status quo is simply not an option.
Not one of our members should be in any doubt as to what we stand for and our purpose so that this can be accurately conveyed to those who are not members – in my humble opinion, non-members are missing out on something quite wonderful in their lives from Masonic fulfilment
Brethren, we will do much to share the Provincial Strategy which we have been working on for some time and there will shortly be opportunities to share this with you in much greater depth. The forthcoming Provincial Officer’s Mess and Scriveners’ Conference are two such opportunities and I would welcome your support at both.
In simple terms, our strategy will revolve around a trident of three key initiatives – Membership, Communication, and our Premises.
Many of you will be familiar with the concept of the three “Rs” – Reading Writing & Arithmetic. To ensure that we are all engaged with our strategy, I’d like you to consider the five Provincial “Rs”, namely:-
Retention – every successful team builds from the back and retention of our existing membership must be paramount
Recruitment – a essential initiative which nobody should be ambivalent to
Relief – our place in assisting the dependents in our community must not be underestimated, especially in these austere and uncertain times
Reform – we must adapt accordingly to the obvious changes in our society
Responsibility – we must all take pride in our activities and perform our duties effectively and to the best of our ability.
President Bill Clinton once said – “Being President is like running a Cemetery, you’ve got lots of people under you and nobody is listening”. A new approach to our Communications activities is now underway, which will be headed by a member who is an accomplished specialist in this field, and which will ensure that the message is heard loud and clear, internally and externally, and our calls to action are understood.
I’ve been a member of the Craft for some 30 years and have witnessed enormous changes yet it would be trite to say that I, or our Executive, have all the answers. However, successful organisations listen to their stakeholders and I am keen to hear from you about the future and what “good” looks like to you. I encourage you to share with the Executive and I your thoughts and ideas, as “listening” will be a key component to our Communications strategy.
As a consequence, our APGMs will take a more involved approach with our Lodges and in a new development, our DPGM will also assume oversight for our G0 Lodges, including Past Masters and other specialist Lodges. The Lodges deemed most successful appear to have a successful “Holy Trinity” – a close and successful relationship between Secretary, Almoner and Mentor and with this in place, I am confident that each of our Lodges will be able to flourish
Over many years, I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the ability for West Kent members to rally to a charitable call, as evidenced by our success in 2015, but it is imperative that we maintain our momentum. It is time therefore to continue our work to replenish our Relief Chests to enable us to rally when called upon to support our charitable appeals. Today, we are launching a short term initiative for 2015 for you to support before the year end and a Call to Action for our 2017 Tercentenary initiative in conjunction with our fellow brethren in East Kent, Surrey and Sussex – but much more of that this afternoon at the Provincial Grand Chapter meeting.
Many years ago, when taking advice on possible career options from my father, his advice was that, irrespective of my choice of profession, I should always aspire to “make a difference” in everything I did. This advice has proved sage-like and I would enjoin you all that, in everything we do, from the quality of our ritual and ceremonial, to our duties in our Lodges and Centres, our interaction with each other as members and with the community at large – I enjoin you to “Make a difference”
Brethren, you can be assured of my total commitment to your happiness and welfare – let’s be proud of our membership, strive for excellence in all we do and, above all else, enjoy our Masonry – I certainly intend to – and may God bless you all.