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Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Surrey
Provincial Grand Master’s Address to Provincial Grand Lodge - March 2016

Brethren it is now my pleasure to address Provincial Grand Lodge for the third time.

Once again, it has been a busy but also a most enjoyable and at times exiting year in the Province. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Annual Meetings of many Provinces throughout the country, together with the Installation of some new Provincial Grand Masters and I take the opportunity to thank them for their kind hospitality, to again extend a warm welcome to them and hope that they enjoy their visit to Surrey.

Indeed Brethren I thank you all for your attendance here today. I am delighted to see so many here, knowing that because of the Easter holiday the date of this meeting was changed, which caused a clash with other Lodge meetings and events elsewhere. However, despite that our attendance is 15% - 20 % up on last year and that is encouraging. I sincerely hope that you will all enjoy the meeting and the after proceedings. The Masters and Commanders procession into Provincial Grand Lodge was very well supported and there were absent from that Procession those undertaking other roles.

To the Provincial Officers who have been appointed today I offer you all my sincere congratulations and I trust that you will enjoy and be successful in that appointment, and that that you will enjoy the year ahead. To those who have received active Office I trust that you will use it as an opportunity. You have been invited to accompany me and the other members of the Provincial Executive on visits to Lodges in the Province. There is no compulsion or requirement to do so, it is an opportunity to visit other Lodges, to provide support to them and increase the enjoyment for us all. There are many important events coming up and you will always find details on the Provincial Web site. Please consider it your responsibility to promote our Order and in particular to encourage the younger Brethren.

To the Provincial Officers who are standing down from office, I thank you for your support for the province. In particular I should like to mention VW Bro David Blackburn; W Bro John Fleetwood, Provincial Grand Chaplain since 2005 and the Deputy prior to that, who has officiated at many Lodge Consecrations, Banner Dedications and Church Services; and W Bro Brian Osment, as Provincial Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. I thank them all for their service to the Province.

Since my Installation I have, with one exception visited every Lodge in the Province at least once. I thank each of the Lodges that I have visited for the welcome that I and the accompanying officers have received. On these visits I have had the pleasure of being accompanied by many of the active Officers of the year, and have had the support of as many as 20 active officers on a visit.

During the last year, there have been several highlights during these visits, the Banner Dedication at Table Fellowship Lodge, the 50th Anniversary celebration of Coulsdon Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners and a Prestonian Lecture at the Provincial Stewards Lodge, to name but a few. I have had the pleasure to present a 50 year certificate, to see many Brethren Advanced into our Order and many Installations of new Masters and Commanders, all of which were enjoyable occasions for those present.

I am particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to welcome so many of our newly Advanced Brethren to our meeting today. I thank you all for your attendance, wear your pin with pride and most importantly enjoy your Mark masonry.

Please give the recruiting of new Brethren your utmost attention. Tell Brethren in your Craft Lodges how much you enjoy your Mark Masonry and make sure they know that they are missing out on knowledge and a great deal of enjoyment. You are all expected to support your Craft Lodges and your Chapters but do remember that they are also our recruiting grounds.

We have held and will continue to hold ‘Mark meets the Craft’ evenings in our Mark Lodges. We have a presentation delivered by members of the Provincial Executive and the next one will be held on 20th June 2016 and will be hosted by Esher and Curfew Lodges meeting at Chertsey.

I thank my official representatives who visit Lodges throughout the Province, and whose work is essential to the well running of the Province. The changes made in the last year have worked extremely well in providing Lodges with a better opportunity to get to know their representative, as opposed to having a different one each year. Another change that we have been progressively introducing is having a member of the Provincial Executive present for every Mark Installation meeting, which will enhance the occasion for the Master in particular and hopefully for all present.

The Inter Province Cricket Match will be hosted by Kent this year at Torry Hill in Kent on Saturday 16th July. Please give it your support and bring members of your family, there is always plenty to do as well as watching the cricket. I do thank W Bro Bill Caughie and his Committee for all the work that they have and continue to put into this fun day. We have been narrowly defeated in the last two years so with your support we intend to prevent a hat trick. The Annual Charity Dinner Dance is to be held at the Burford Bridge Hotel on Friday 8th April and W Bro Miguel Godfrey and his team have put in a lot of work already.

Numbers are rising but we can accommodate a few more. It promises to be an enjoyable evening, so speak to Miguel if you haven’t already booked. A most successful Provincial Officers Mess Open Evening was held at Nutfield Masonic Centre where members of the Mess, their family and friends gathered for an enjoyable dinner. W.Bro John French the Secretary of the Mess has arranged the Annual Meeting which will be held at Surbiton on Friday 20th May and I hope that it will be well attended. On this occasion W Bro Bob Tuthill will give a talk entitled “My Affair with the Kings Sister” This together with a nice meal and good company should make for a special evening, which I hope you will support.

As you are now all well aware, we will host the MBF Festival in 2022. I asked W. Bro. David Else to Chair the Committee which has now been meeting for a year and they have put a huge amount of effort already, for which I thank them. We had the pleasure of receiving W. Darren Coleman from the MBF at the Installed Masters Lodge last September and VW Bro John Bell a Trustee at the Executive Lodge. The full launch of the Festival will be at Nutfield Masonic Centre on Thursday 5th May 2016; Invitations have been sent out. If you haven’t received an Invitation and wish to attend, please speak to your Lodge Secretary in the first instance, and if that is not successful to W.Bro. Stewart Butcher. The Mark Benevolent Fund will be celebrating its sesqui centenary in 2018 and has pledged support to Hope for Tomorrow. Information about the charity has been sent to every Lodge in the Province. We have been pleased to send a donation to Devonshire in support of this year’s festival which will take place in Torquay in July.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us, as any Province only has the privilege of hosting an MBF Festival every 35 years. In the first instance we are looking for everyone to complete regular giving promises, using Gift Aid or in some cases we have been pleased to receive single donations. Small amounts donated regularly over the next six years will go a long way to seeing the Province reach a total of which we can feel proud.

In December the MW Grand Master appointed six Brethren to Grand Rank in the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners. They were Worshipful Brothers Andrew Ford, Tim Ford, Nigel Harding, Simon Williams and Jim Turner. All well deserved appointments and we congratulate them all.

At the June Investiture of Mark Grand Lodge, to be held on Tuesday 7th June 2016 we will have several members of the Province receiving appointment to and promotion in Grand Rank. I am unable to give you any details today because those Brethren have not yet been notified. However I have already congratulated RW Bro John Prizeman on his promotion to Assistant Grand Master and at that meeting RW Bro Ray Smith the Assistant Grand Master will be promoted to and Installed as Deputy Grand Master. This will be a very special occasion and estimates have been made that 2500 Brethren will wish to attend that Investiture meeting. Those wishing to attend are requested to put in their application early and W Bro Bill Caughie will provide us all with a reminder at the appropriate time. I encourage you to attend and support those receiving Grand Rank. It is always an enjoyable afternoon.

W. Bro John Coleman our Provincial Grand Almoner is selling re-cycled regalia for the benefit of the Provincial Benevolent Fund, so if you require regalia he has a stock or alternatively if you have aprons, collars or badges that you no longer require he will be pleased to receive them from you.

The re-vamped Provincial Web site is proving successful and I thank our Web Master, W Bro Bob Tuthill, and his Assistant for all the work that goes in keeping it up to date. I also thank W Bro Chris Eley for his updates and camera work. Brethren, it is your web site, please use it and the information contained on it.

This will be possibly our last Annual meeting at the Fairfield Halls but certainly our last in the immediate future because in July the hall will close for refurbishment the extent of which is unknown at present. Provisionally we have booked the Croydon Masonic Hall for next year’s meeting, on Saturday 18th March 2017. Space will be limited and so members will need to submit applications early.

Events such as an Annual meeting don’t just happen. To the Provincial Grand Secretary and the rest of the Provincial Secretariat I thank you for all the hard work you have put into making today run so smoothly. To the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, his Deputies and Assistants, I am grateful to the whole team in ensuring that the day is a success.

I also thank the members of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge for their tremendous support today and throughout the year. I am most grateful to you all.

Finally I am indebted to my Executive who continue to give outstanding service to the Province, and support to me personally. I thank you all for the kind attention that you have given to my address and may the Great Overseer of the Universe Bless and Keep you.

Ian N Clark
Provincial Grand Master
21st March 2016