Unusually, this month has been very quiet with respect to my Masonic duties.
It began on Monday 3 April when I travelled to Liverpool for a meeting of Lebanon Mark Lodge, at the Adelphi Hotel. It was the installation meeting and as ‘master elect’, I was installed into the chair by Giles Berkley, who is to be invested as Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province of West Lancashire. We had a most enjoyable evening in the company of Michael Clarke, the APrGM. This was his last official duty before retiring from office.
The following day I was at the Provincial office in Leyland for a Craft cabinet meeting, which was attended by all members of the cabinet and we had a long but very interesting and important meeting to conduct.
This was in fact my last Masonic meeting before preparing for our holiday to Boa Vista on the Cape Verde Islands. Over the next few days Maureen and I prepared for our long-awaited holiday and very early on the morning of 10 April we departed for Manchester Airport and our flight to Boa Vista. Following a good flight, we landed on the island at lunchtime and transferred to our hotel, to start a two-week celebratory holiday.
The weather was wonderful and we had a most relaxing and very enjoyable break, enjoying all that the hotel had to offer. There was an ample supply of good food and wine to enhance our holiday experience. During the days, we were able to enjoy that great luminary of nature which rose in the east every morning and darted its rays of meridian splendour across the unblemished canopy of heaven. We were blessed with a slight breeze which reduced the heat of the day as we were then able to walk along the miles of golden sands, watching and listening to the rolling seas thundering onto the beach as far as the eye could see.
Until recently, the Cape Verde Islands were classed as a ‘third world country’ and the local countryside confirmed this ‘label’, as we drove through very deprived and isolated areas of this island. Returning to the UK on 24 April, left us feeling very cold as we arrived back at Manchester Airport to a very cold and frosty night.
On Monday 25 April, I caught an early morning train to London and was firmly back to Masonic duties as that afternoon I was at Great Queen Street, along with other PrGMs from all around UGLE, for a meeting with the Pro Grand Master. Also present were the Deputy and Assistant Grand Masters and other high rulers, for a briefing session and an opportunity to discuss many matters of importance to us all. Later that evening all the PrGMs attended a dinner at Lincoln`s Inn, hosted by the Pro Grand Master.
The following day, I was back at Great Queen Street for a morning meeting of the ‘PrGMs’ Forum’. This is a meeting of all PrGMs where further information is imparted to all present and it offers an opportunity to discuss matters of interest and importance in an informal setting with our colleagues. Following this, several of the brethren from the West and East Lancashire Provinces joined us for a luncheon at the Middle Temple, prior to attending the Annual Investiture meeting of Grand Lodge.
I was accompanied by all the members of the Craft cabinet to witness the investiture of those brethren of West Lancashire receiving their grand rank from HRH the Duke of Kent and I was delighted that they were able to join me in congratulating them on their preferment. Following the meeting we adjourned to the Connaught Rooms for a celebratory banquet and a most enjoyable evening.
I returned to Great Queen Street the next morning for the Annual Investiture of Supreme Grand Chapter. Once again, I was accompanied by many companions from West Lancashire to witness the investiture of those who were receiving their grand ranks from the First Pro Grand Principal, Peter Lowndes. The Grand Temple was full to capacity and at the end of the meeting we once again adjourned to the Connaught Rooms for a celebratory luncheon.
It was soon time to return to West Lancashire and we made our way back to Euston to board the train back home, arriving in Lancaster at 10 pm. It had been a very hectic, three days, but I had thoroughly enjoyed the company of so many brethren and companions from our Province. I congratulate once again, all those who have been appointed to grand rank or received promotion in Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter and thank all those who accompanied us to witness the occasion.
On the afternoon of Sunday 30 April, I attended the Lancaster Group’s Church service to celebrate the Tercentenary. This was held at St John the Divine Church in Morecambe and was attended by over 130 brethren and their families. I was supported at this service by the APrGM Dave Grainger and Lancaster Group Chairman Jim Wilson together with other group officials and their ladies. The group were delighted to have Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst the Provincial Grand Chaplain, along with many other acting Provincial officers in attendance. Following an excellent service of thanksgiving, the congregation were invited to partake of wine and canapes before returning home. It was an excellent and most fitting end to another month of Masonic enjoyment and personal celebration.
Provincial Grand Master