The lovely autumnal weather continued as we saw the start of December.
On the first day of the month, I travelled in the morning to Leyland for the last Cabinet meeting of 2016. I was pleased to welcome the members of the Craft Cabinet to this, our final meeting for the year, we enjoyed healthy and constructive discussions on many matters of Provincial business. Following this meeting I went to Saul Street in Preston for a meeting of another Masonic Order of which I am a member and enjoyed a most successful meeting and a delightful festive board, before returning home.
The following day I travelled by train to Manchester for a luncheon meeting at the Manchester Masonic Hall in Bridge Street.
On Saturday 3 December Maureen and I were invited to attend the Ladies Evening at Heysham Lodge. Together with many local friends we enjoyed the company of some 100 brethren and their ladies for this annual occasion. It was a delightful social evening as we prepared for the coming Festive season.
A quiet couple of days followed so Maureen and I took the opportunity to enjoy some local walks to Heysham and along the promenade enjoying the breath-taking views across the bay.
On 7 December, in the late morning I drove to Litherland Masonic Hall where I was joined by those brethren who work so hard for our West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. We enjoyed one another’s company for a most excellent Christmas Dinner and get together. I later travelled to Garston Masonic Hall, for the installation convocation of the Chapter of Harmony No 220. I was pleased to be in the company of the Garston Group Chairman Howard Griffiths and his group officers together with Jim Miller PrGSN and Paul Hesketh the PrGDC. We all enjoyed a really good ceremony and I had the opportunity to meet the many companions and their guests prior to and after the meeting. We were all treat to a most delicious festive board.
The next day was very relaxing and in the evening I attended my own Sandylands Chapter, meeting at Morecambe Masonic Hall and witnessed an excellent exaltation ceremony followed by a Festive buffet.
On 09 December Keith Kemp and I travelled to Poulton le Fylde for the installation meeting of Baines Lodge No.7844. We were accompanied by many senior officers of the Province for this meeting, as it was my opportunity to attend the lodge and offer my personal thanks to John David Lee, this year`s PrSGW for the work he has undertaken as the Senior Warden of our Province during this Masonic year.
A quiet and most relaxing weekend then ensued.
Monday 12 December dawned and I was off to London by train in the morning, accompanied by Phil Gunning. In the evening, we attended the Installation meeting of the Mark Grand Stewards Lodge at Mark Masons Hall, 86 St James Street, London. A splendid occasion which filled the lodge room, and later a packed dining room where we enjoyed a delicious festival banquet. It was a most enjoyable occasion which gave me the opportunity to meet with many brethren from all regions and Provinces of the country.
The following day, after a relaxing breakfast, I went along to Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street for a meeting with some of the executive officers of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Later in the afternoon I, along with some 38 other brethren from West Lancashire joined Keith Beardmore the PrGM of the Mark and RAM degrees in our Province, for the annual investiture of Royal Ark Mariners at Freemasons Hall. It was a terrific meeting followed by a banquet in the Connaught Rooms.
Wednesday 14 December and time to enjoy breakfast again this morning before attending the Quarterly Communication of UGLE at Freemasons Hall. A very interesting meeting which included a talk from David Innes the CEO of the MCF. I was joined by several members from West Lancashire, including Phil Gunning, Kevin Poynton, Barry Jameson, Peter Connolly, David Durling, Ernie Waites, and Eric Drinkwater. After the meeting, we enjoyed the grand officers luncheon in the Connaught Rooms, before returning home to West Lancashire.
My visit to London brought my Masonic duties to a conclusion for this month and Maureen and I took the next couple of days to prepare for our somewhat long awaited holiday to the Isle of Man. We set sail from Heysham on Tuesday 20 December for our cruise to Douglas, where we were spending Christmas and New Year with our daughter Tracey and her husband Peter.
Well brethren, Maureen and I have had a wonderful Festive break, meeting with many friends and family on the Island. I hope that you too have had a wonderful time with all your families and loved ones and that your New Year will be a happy, prosperous but most of all a very healthy year for you all.
I look forward to seeing you in 2017.
Provincial Grand Master