Surrey Mark Background
Mark Master Masons of Surrey Mark Master Masons of Surrey
Let's Get Together

We were unable to hold our 2021 Annual Meeting in March this year due to the continued suspension of Masonic activities. Our Provincial Grand Master didn’t want to hold a Virtual Business Meeting for a second consecutive year and therefore has moved the Annual Meeting to Saturday 11th September 2021 when hopefully it should be safe for us all to meet at Croydon Masonic Hall.

Let's get together

We were all invited to join our Provincial Grand Master and members of the Provincial Executive for a Get Together using the Zoom video conferencing tool on Saturday 20th March 2021. RW.Bro. Ian Clark opened the Let’s Get Together and welcomed everyone saying how good it was to see nearly 150 Mark Masons representing all the Lodges in Surrey.

Let's get together

In his introduction RW.Bro. Ian said that during the last year we have done so much to keep in touch and encouraging everyone to keep in touch with each other. We have had much success in doing so, and this Get Together was another way of keeping in touch and at the same time updating everyone on news of some of the exiting things coming up. This included proposals in respect of Annual Fees and charges by Provincial Grand Lodge, some details of Festival Stewardship, an update on where our donations to the MBF have been going in the last year, news of the Festival Banquet and the plans for it, together with an opportunity for you to put questions to the Executive.

The next item was to honour the names of those Brethren who have passed to the Grand Lodge Above since September 2020. W.Bro. Tim Ford, Provincial Grand Secretary, read the names of those Brethren, followed by a few moments of reflection to remember them.

W.Bro. Ray Seeley, Provincial Grand Treasurer, gave his report.

Let's get together

The Accounts for the year ended 31 August 2020 are now on the website and will be put for formal approval when our Annual Meeting is held. His report for the year is also on the Provincial website. He gave some good news about a reduction in fees, both Mark and RAM, that Lodges will be paying on 1 September 2021, which means the charge will be £3 per head not £6. The charge to Lodges for yearbooks of £25 will not be made in 2021, and there will be no Provincial charges for those advanced, elevated or joining Lodges in the year from September 2021 to August 2022.

Click here to read a copy of The Treasurer’s report

W.Bro. Bill Barr, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, spoke about charity and the Mark Benevolent Fund.

Let's get together

He said that charity is at the very heart of all we do as Masons. It plays a huge part in our activities and many of our activities exist almost purely to collect funds for charitable purposes. He spoke about the work of the MBF in supporting charities such as Hope for Tomorrow, a charity providing mobile chemotherapy units for cancer patients, saving them long and tiring journeys to hospitals. Re-equipping St John Ambulance with vehicles, twenty years after the last time we did the very same thing. Many of us were at Nutfield for a presentation to St John Ambulance when a newly provided vehicle stood next to a twenty-year old one donated by the Mark and still in use. Blood bikes provided by Mark Masons following the London Charity Walk, now travel all over the country with their life-saving cargo.

W.Bro. Bill said that charity is not a one-way street in that much of what we collect comes straight back to us with over £166,000 provided to smaller charities operating within the Provinces.

Let's get together

Closer to home, and all within the last month, we have had three Surrey charities supported by the MBF. The Horsley, Bookham and Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Group, the 1st Warlingham Scouts and the 1st Burstow Scout group. Just last week we received an application to provide washing machines for a Women’s Refuge, which is being considered at the moment.

We were encouraged to continue to give with a generous heart and also to keep an eye out for those charities close at hand who would benefit from a grant, as well as continuing to support our Surrey Mark 2022 MBF Festival.

Click here a copy of Bill’s report on donations made by the Mark Benevolent Fund

The next item was to review and congratulate those Provincial Grand Officers receiving an Appointment, Re-appointment, Promotion and Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank.

Our Provincial Grand Master was pleased to re-appoint W.Bro. John French as his Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro Richard Knox and W.Bro Bill Barr as his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters. The Active Provincial Grand Officers appointed last year were all given the opportunity to continue in office. Newly appointed are W.Bro. Leslie Grout as Provincial Grand Chaplain, picking up the mantle from W.Bro. Louis Keats; and W.Bro. Michael Howarth as an Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.

RW.Bro. Ian said that Louis has been our Provincial Grand Chaplain since 2016 and prior to that Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain for four years; a total of 9 years of active Service to the Mark Province of Surrey in Chaplaincy. He thanked W.Bro. Louis for all that he has done in Surrey Mark since his first active appointment as Senior Deacon twenty years ago.

Let's get together

The Provincial Grand Secretary read out the 2021 Appointments to Active Rank, Promotions, First Appointments and those appointed to Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank.

W.Bro. Bill Barr reported on the Surrey 2022 MBF Festival Event.

He shared with us how the weekend will unfold and also how the preparations for it are progressing. Our MBF Festival will be celebrated on the first and the second of July 2022 at the Effingham and Copthorne Hotels near Gatwick with the Festival Banquet being held on the Saturday evening in the Millennium Suite.

The event will be staged over two days and from check-in on Friday 1st July to check-out on the Sunday, it is hoped that we, our partners, family and friends and our VIP Distinguished Guests will be well entertained and thoroughly enjoy the occasion.

There will be a good quality buffet with dancing and entertainment including a casino in the Millennium Suite on the Friday evening. This should prove a relaxing and joyous evening and set the tone for a great weekend. On the Saturday morning trips to local places of interest have been arranged to showcase our Surrey County. There will also be foot-golf in the hotel grounds. This is set out like a traditional golf course and involves kicking a football into obviously bigger holes. There will also be traditional golf with perhaps a mini-tournament at a local course.

Saturday evening is the Main Event. There will be a drinks reception in the large foyer and mezzanine with a complementary drink for all followed by a three course banquet with wine. Given the surroundings and environment, the cost of £80 per head is quite reasonable. Tickets will be available soon and the advice is to book early as numbers will be limited and as soon as they are released to other Provinces at the beginning of July there will be a waiting list.

Following the three course banquet, the Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. Ryan Williams, will announce the total that Surrey has achieved and the results books will be handed out by our Stewards. There will be other speeches, including one by our Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Ian Clark, followed by dancing until midnight to the West End Jerseys, the leading Jersey Boys Tribute Bands.

Let's get together

On the Sunday morning, following breakfast, we say farewell, having enjoyed the fellowship and company of our partners, Brethren and friends old and new. This event is a once in a Masonic lifetime for most of us, so everyone is encouraged to support our fund raising and make a booking for the Festival Weekend.

Click here a copy of Bill’s report on the Surrey 2022 MBF Festival Event

W.Bro John French, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, gave an update on our progress with the Surrey 2022 MBF Festival Fundraising.

Let's get together

He said that so far as our contributions to our Festival are concerned we must congratulate the members of the Surrey Installed Masters Lodge on receiving the highest award, Grand Patron Diamond. Well done as this is a wonderful achievement. There are at least 9 lodges who have achieved Grand Patron Gold, with many more at Grand Patron level. Thank you all so much for what you have done and, more importantly, what you will continue to do.

Let's get together

Together we can make a difference and should anyone need any help please ask our Provincial Grand Charity Steward who will steer you in the right direction - having been moored up for quite some time now! Everyone was encouraged to do as much as we can to raise precious funds for the Surrey Mark Festival.

Click here a copy of John’s report on our progress with the Surrey 2022 MBF Festival

There followed a question and answer session after which our Provincial Grand Master thanked everyone for attending and declared the meeting closed.

Article and photos by Chris Eley