Good morning brethren and welcome.
I thank you all for making the time and effort to be with us here today. I have pulled many strings to ensure all goes well, we have insisted that there will be no train or tube strikes, no rain, no problems and no money !!! but we have lots that money cannot buy. We are all members here of a very special Order in Freemasonry, as our Grand Master said at Grand Council in October – it is fun and always has to be fun… and that is something that we in London have long believed in; it is our guiding aim and I am pleased to say that I constantly see that in action throughout our District. More than 100 members here today testify to something being done right. - of course, a Gin & Tonic in the bar in a few minutes will add to the happiness barometer.
It continues, for me, to be an enormous privilege to hold the office of District Grand Prefect for London and I am conscious of this every time that I visit a council or when I represent you in other Districts. Nearer to home our Official Visit programme is in full swing; indeed, I have completed two in the last week and one next Monday – Council of the Four Kings which will be a good night out. I was even at Sussex Council on Thursday with my friends Gene Earland and John Ellenger, again a very nice night out. After today, it will start again and either myself, Stephen or the District Wardens will attend.
Before I go too much further, I must thank those who make such an effort to ensure that everything in our District goes smoothly and efficiently.
Our hardworking District Grand Secretary Scott Cargill and the District Assistant Secretary – Richard Criddle, who have worked very hard to make today so successful. Thank you.
Mike Adkins our Past District DC, who has stood down today and handed over to Roger, Mike, thank you so much for your loyalty and commitment, you have looked after me so well with no fuss or panics even when the others were stressing (not me !!!) and we always enjoyed ourselves. Thank you. Our District Treasurer – John Baker, who cannot be with us today, but I thank him for his hard work and support through the year.
To Dougie Black who has enhanced our meeting with music and to Mark Corcoran our Tyler who has given this District much help and support during the year. thank you.
To Stephen Schofield who ably organises and manages our Official visits and to all those who come along to support our visits even though they have moved on from being Active District Officers, this is most heartening – thank you.
Finally, our secretaries, who keep our Councils enthused and running well and effectively, thank you for your time and effort, only those who have carried out that work know the amount of effort involved. Thank you.
I mentioned earlier our good numbers here, numbers are not everything but from where `I sit the data and the metrics help me balance what I see and hear across the Councils. At our meeting in 2019 we had 280 members and we now have 255, yes that is a loss but when balanced out with over 20 deaths in that period and the knowledge that we have had a steady stream of new members since we resumed meetings and more in the pipeline across all of our councils - we are in a good position. Our smallest unit has 20 members, not bad… and where any Council needs help then our recruitment team are deployed and we help them, by securing candidates and helping them recruit for themselves.
Some of our new members are with us today.
Enjoy your allied Masonry with us in London.
And the happiness barometer is riding high on the social side -
- We enjoyed a really good day out at Greenwich in April where we taken around the Painted Hall with lunch afterwards.
- On 3rd of this month we had a Zoom lecture by one of the visitor guides at Hampton Court Palace – all about Ghoulies and Ghosties – great fun.
- We resumed our dinner for Secretaries and Treasurers.
- And we reinstated our dinner for new members which I find very enjoyable and also instructive – it is interesting to hear why members join and what they expect to get out of it, it definitely influences how we chart the course of the district.
- We also collected over £1000 from Council and personal donations which we have distributed equally to a Ukrainian charity and UK Med– which is a UK medical support charity which deploys doctors and nurses with kit and support staff in battle field situations.
And it does not stop there, we have much planned for the coming year.
We have a very energetic Communications team who are supported by an excellent website and a number of good and effective social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp and these have been used to great effect throughout.
And let me mention our Council of Improvement, it has run on Zoom since the first lockdown and has developed the most brilliant virtual temple and floor movements, Steve Roberts is the creator, host and maestro, well done Steve and thank you. Full details are on the website.
We have had success at Grand Rank as well,
Peter Warner promoted to Active Grand Junior Deacon
First Appointments for -
John Eldridge and Stuart Graves to PAGDC
Richard Higginson, Bob Turner and John Johnston to PGStdB
Congratulations to them and all those across the Order who have been so honoured.
Finally, let me say a huge thank you to the members from London and our guests who have joined with me today, in such good numbers, to celebrate our wonderful Order and its strength and prosperity.
In a few weeks it will be December and the Christmas season will be here again I wish you and your families, most especially at this time, all good wishes, good health and much happiness.
May the Great disposer of all bless you all.
Photos from the meeting can be viewed here