Annual Meeting of PGLMMM 21 June 2018

Distinguished guests and brethren, once again it is pleasing to see we have a full house for our provincial meeting and we have 315 dining later at the Shepherds Inn.

It has been another busy year and I thank the acting Provincial Officers for their endeavors and their commitment. In particular may I thank the Provincial Senior Warden W.Bro. John Reay who has made over 50 visits throughout the province and also organised the acting Officers lunch, and I am delighted that he is now part of the secretarial team.

Regrettably the Provincial Junior Warden W.Bro. Andrew Nelson and his wife have both suffered illnesses and I hope they are soon back in our company.

During the year three of our brethren achieved 50 years’ service in Mark Masonry, these being W.Bro. Joe Scott of Eden Valley Lodge No.888, W.Bro Maurice Middleham of St. John’s Lodge No .1037 and W.Bro John Houghton of Belaside Lodge No.1340. All of these presentations were well attended and once again I congratulate these brethren on their extended service.

In September last year I presented V.W.Bro Jim Wise with his 60 year certificate in the RAM Degree. V.W.Bro Wise is still going strong at 95 years of age and now has a collection of certificates. To receive a 60 year certificate in the RAM Degree is not a common event but in March this year a further one was presented to the past ProGM M.W.Bro John Hale. I was delighted to make this presentation myself at Collin Lodge No.151 in Maryport as regrettably the Asst Grand Master could not attend due to the severe weather conditions.

Three of our lodges have celebrated special anniversaries, Belaside Lodge No .1340 celebrated 50 years and Bective Lodge no.452 and Inglewood Lodge No.462 both celebrated 125 years. I also had the pleasure of dedicating a new lodge banner for dent RAM Lodge No. 216 in Egremont. All of these events combined with team visits and installation visits certainly filled the acting officer’s diaries.

Our annual RAM assembly was held in Maryport on the 20th April where once again we had a full house. We will continue the policy of moving this meeting around the Province and next year the meeting will be held in Cleator Moor.

The Provincial executive have not been idle as we have attended all of the Provincial meetings in the Northern Group, including the Isle of Man and all of the quarterly meetings in Grand Lodge, and collectively visited 39 of our lodges.

Last December over 50 Brethren from the province attended the RAM investiture meeting in Grand Lodge to witness 3 of our Past Commanders receive RAMGR, these being W.Bro. Joe Edmondson of Collin Lodge, W.Bro Mike Mawson of Duddon Lodge and W.Bro Tony James of Kent Dale Lodge. All of these brethren are Directors of Ceremonies in their lodges and work tirelessly for their Lodges and the Province.

Last week at the annual investiture meeting in London over 70 brethren from this Province certainly enjoyed themselves and witnessed 3 of our Brethren rewarded with Grand Honours, W.Bro Philip Carruthers (Grand Steward), W.Bro. Richard Benn (AGDC) and W.Bro Ian Milburn (PAGDC). As you all know brethren the format has been changed this year and the Brethren receiving promotions will be invested at the September meeting, these being VW.Bro Tony Jackson (PGSO), W.Bro Harold Taylor (PGJO), W.Bro Neville Parry (PGJO) and W.Bro Ron Cameron (PGSD). All of these brethren are deserving of these ranks and I think they also deserve our applause.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Mark Benevolent Fund (MBF) over £3 million pounds has been pledged to support St. John Ambulance by purchasing 52 replacement state of the art ambulances and support vehicles. I was delighted to make a presentation of one of these vehicles on the 3rd December last year at the Tebay hotel. This vehicle will be stationed at Ambleside although it was witnessed at an event in Carlisle 3 weeks ago. The 150th anniversary of the MBF concludes next month at the festival in Lincoln. Your donations to this fund and our Cumberland & Westmorland MBF have been outstanding and over the last 18 months 83 of our Brethren have been presented with MBF Collarettes all in their own lodges. A new diamond collarette has been introduced recently and I am delighted to inform you that one of our Brethren is now qualified to receive this; V.W.Bro Bill McKay.

Last year together with 5 brethren from the province I took part in a sponsored walk in London to raise money for the MBF. We were well supported from this province and the total for this event raised over £400,000.

The MBF has donated over £300,000 of this towards the blood bike association and on the 17th August I will be attending a presentation in Birmingham where 16 blood bikes and 10 blood cars will be pledged.

W.Bro David Robinson retires today as our Provincial Secretary having served in this office for 5 years. I thank him so much for all that he has done for the Province. I value his friendship, and his commitment to this Province has proved invaluable. I am delighted that he will remain on the team as Provincial Registrar. W.Bro Tony James has retired from this office today and I know that I can rely on his support when required.

Today we have witnessed the appointment and promotion of many brethren and I congratulate you all on your continued support to your lodges and this province.

In particular, I must express my thanks to the Provincial Secretary and his team in the organisation of today’s meeting. Also, to our new Director of Ceremonies and his team for all of their hard work on what must have been a daunting experience having been thrown in at the deep end.

As we heard earlier we have had a small decrease in membership in the mark degree but have increased our membership of the RAM. Regrettably the Province lost the Wellington Lodge No.1678 this year when the lodge surrendered their warrant, but we were able to have all the members with the exception of 3 join other Lodges.

We must continue to look for quality Craft Masons to join our friendly degree and in turn we must support our Craft Lodges to continue our flow of members.

Today I commence my 12th year on the Provincial Mark executive having served as Assistant Provincial Grand Master for 5 years and now commencing my 7th year as PGM. I feel very proud to have held these positions and will continue to give 100% in promoting our Province of Cumberland & Westmorland.