September 30th – a brilliant Annual Meeting at Freemasons’ Hall
After almost two years, R.W. Bro. Thomas Quinn, our Provincial Grand Master, was at long last enabled to take his rightful place for the first time at our Annual Meeting. With something approaching 700 attendees of which 400 plus who stayed to partake of the banquet at the Connaught Rooms, we had a most enjoyable and memorable day and was proof in the hope that CV-19 is now on the way to becoming a bitter memory. In deference to the PGM’s Scottish roots we were regaled by the London Scottish Pipes and Drums band whose first offering, The Minstrel Boy, was a song often sung in Celtic assemblies. The business of the day was conducted smoothly and without apparent hitch and the Appointment and Investiture of the 208 recipients went very well indeed. We saw the newest A.P.G.M., Howard Saul Markham Obligated and Invested retrospectively – he having taken up the office 14 months previously. There were 40 year Certificates awarded and two PGM’s Award of Merit were presented to W.Bros. Richard Miles Criddle and Gurdeep Singh Virdee for the massive amount of work they do behind the scenes. As you would expect, one of the greatest rounds of applause went, at the beginning, to the Nonagenarians as a warm, heartfelt welcome to them. This was followed by the processions of the Worshipful Masters, the Worshipful Commanders of the Royal Ark Mariner and finally the newly Advanced Brethren of the Province. Many other Provinces were in attendance and their support is greatly appreciated.
A drinks reception took place at the close of the meeting and we all dined at 6:30 p.m. in the Connaught Rooms and were graced with the company of two representatives from The Richard House Hospice for Children who had been awarded £27,000 by the MBF, which was made up to £30,000 by the generosity of one particular Lodge. Clare and Chris were very gracious in their response and thanked the Mark Benevolent Fund for their initiative in respect of the Prince Phillip memorial grant of £1,000 per Lodge.
The end of the evening came too swiftly and old and new friends alike had to say “Goodnight” See you all next year!!
With thanks to Richard Veness, Hiko Tanaka, Gary Stratmann and Campbell Carraher and Chris James for all the photos