"Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren and Brethren all.
Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master, I am honoured to have been installed by you as the new Pro Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex and I wish to express my most sincere thanks both to you and to all the Grand Lodge team here with us again this afternoon.
I would like to thank those Grand Lodge Officers who assisted in the Ceremony, particularly: -
• RW Bro Richard Merritt, ProvGM for Dorset, who acted as SGW
• RW Bro Michael Wilks, ProvGM for Hants & IOW, who acted as JGW
• RW Bro Oliver Lodge, the GDC
• W Bros Michael Gurney, Edward Goodchild and Charles Hopkinson-Woolley, the DepGDCs
• VW Bro Graham Redman, DepGSec
• Our very own W Bro Frank Ward, PAGChap, who acted as Grand Chaplain;
• W Bro Malcolm Brooks, the GTyler
Brethren, I am also delighted to welcome our many distinguished guests, as well as all our other official and personal guests, many of whom have come from far and wide to be here at this Special Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge today. However, being mindful of the time, I hope that you will please forgive me if I do not greet each one individually on this occasion. Nevertheless, may I please ask the Brethren of Middlesex to give all our guests a real, hearty Middlesex welcome.
Brethren, if you were at the Royal Arch meeting this morning, you would have heard me say that my address this afternoon was NOT going to be long, and I meant it.
I said that now is not the time for talking, and I meant it.
But I did say that now is the time for action, for promoting the interests of our Order, for uniting and moving this Province forward, and I meant it.
I also said that we should be enjoying ourselves at the same time, and believe me Brethren, I meant that as well – in my view Masonry should be fun as well as serious, in equal measure, at the appropriate times.
My first official function as ProPGM Designate was last Sunday at the Middlesex Grand Family Fete, which my wife and I attended at RMSG Rickmansworth, when I believe that we all had an enjoyable and fun time, whilst raising monies for several worthy local charities. My congratulations go to the small volunteer committee of Middlesex Freemasons, who are passionate about raising money for local good causes, on organising another most successful event. I shall look forward to their continuing success with the Winter Wonderland events in November and December, as well as the Boxing evening next spring.
Brethren, we also have some other important and exciting times ahead of us.
Our 2020 Festival, in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, will be coming to an end in the spring of 2020. As you are aware, no target has been set for this Festival, as it was not thought right to do at the outset and, personally, I agree with that decision. But once again the generosity being shown by the members of this Province has been overwhelming since, to date, I can now announce that a magnificent total of £3.5m has so far been raised and pledged to the Festival.
Brethren, having been a member of the Council of the RMTGB for almost 11 years, and a Member or Chairman of its Petitions Committee for the last 7 of those 11 years, I know from personal experience how much the RMTGB really does need our support to help our children and young adults in need, and with their education, after all they are the future. So, in the final 18 months or so of the Festival, please let us ‘gird up our loins’ to achieve a really superb final total for the RMTGB by the end of the Festival in the spring of 2020.
Another very important event will occur for us in 2020 since, on 22 January 2020, the Province will be 150 years old. On that day in 1870, RW Bro Col Sir Francis Burdett, Bt, was installed as the Province’s first Provincial Grand Master. At that time, it was necessary for him to have held the Mastership of a Middlesex Lodge and so Burdett Lodge No. 1293, bearing his family’s name, was consecrated in the morning and Col Sir Francis Burdett was installed as its Primus Master, thus enabling the Province of Middlesex to be inaugurated in the afternoon and for him to be installed as its first Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex, after a very good lunch, like me today!
I am considering holding a combined event, most likely in the spring of 2020, when we can all join together in celebrating both the end of the 2020 Festival and the Province’s 150th Anniversary, and you will hear more about this event in due course.
Brethren, once again, I would like to thank VW Graham Redman and all the staff here at Grand Lodge for their advice and assistance regarding today’s special meetings; RW Bro Oliver Lodge, the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team of Deputies for some excellent ceremonial work here today; and, also, to our own splendid Middlesex team.
My sincere thanks go to the Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Mike Ross, and his team, Including David Pearson the Past Provincial Grand Secretary; and especially to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Jim Mitchell, and his Deputies for their superb work; the Provincial Grand Stewards; the Provincial Grand Tyler, W Bro Tom James, and all of the numerous Brethren who have helped with the today’s arrangements, especially W Bros Michael Dean and Rob King who arranged our luncheon in the GCR, a somewhat thankless task, but a job well done.
Finally, I must say that I feel truly humbled to stand here as your new Pro Provincial Grand Master - it is truly an honour and privilege for me to do so. I can assure you that I intend to use all my previous experience as Deputy PGM, together with the other members of the Provincial Executive, to ensure that you Brethren, are truly able to enjoy your Masonry in this Province of Middlesex.
Thank you for listening to me, Brethren."
To read the address by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent click HERE
To view photos of the Rehearsal click HERE
To view photos of the Installation Convocation click HERE
To view photos of the Drinks Reception and Luncheon click HERE
To view photos of the Installation Meeting click HERE
Photos Courtesy of Sam Bassan and Raj Patel