The North Fylde Group were extremely honoured to have the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, on his first visit to their group in his new role. On this occasion to attend the annual group dinner, held at Cleveleys Masonic Hall.
Mark was accompanied by Duncan Smith Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Robbie Porter Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, Michael Tax Provincial Senior Grand Warden and David Rigby Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Michael Southern the Provincial Deputy Grand Secretary, Barry Fitzgerald Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, John Lee the Royal Arch Provincial Grand Registrar and Ryan Modlin, Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.
The evening began with a reception hosted by the group chairman, John Cross, held in the lodge room and a first chance for Mark to meet and greet the masters and first principals of the group.
The proceedings then moved to the dining room where the other brethren and companions of the group had the chance to meet Mark and other senior officers of the Province of West Lancashire. Mark took his time to glide around the room and meet as many members of the group as he could before the brethren took their places for the evening’s meal of pate, roast beef with seasonal veg and to finish, a coconut sponge in custard.
After the brethren had had their fill the toast to the Provincial Grand Master was proposed by Geoff Diggles. Geoff outlined Mark’s career from his early life in the chemical industry to his outstanding service within the police force, which saw Mark rise to the rank of Chief Superintendent during which time he was deployed to the New York City and Hungarian Police. Geoff continued to highlight Mark’s Masonic career which has seen him rise to his current high rank of Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent.
Mark rose to respond to the toast and started by saying how delighted he was to be at the dinner and meet so many members of the North Fylde Group. Mark thanked the acting officers, Duncan Smith and John Robbie Porter for accompanying him on this occasion.
Continuing, Mark moved on to the subject of membership and the ‘digital marketing scheme’ saying: “We had so many men joining our organisation including one brother who had joined Onward Lodge No 5540 that week. United Grand Lodge is not running the scheme this year because it wants to evaluate the results but we must continue to look to our, family, friends and work colleagues for potential members.”
Moving to his role as Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch for the Province of West Lancashire, Mark stated: “Craft and the Royal Arch are linked and one organisation, that is why he is the head of both in this Province.” Mark suggested to the gathered brethren, if they were not members, they should consider joining, thus completing their journey of pure ancient Freemasonry.
Mark moved to the purpose of the group dinner. “The North Fylde Group” he said “was blessed with an excellent group executive in John Cross, Tony Farrar, Mike Brown and Jim Gregson”. Mark thanked them on behalf of the Province for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.
With the evening drawing to an end, it remained for John Cross to present Mark with a bunch of flowers for his wife Debbie and a bottle of port for Mark to enjoy as a thank you for taking the time to visit the group.