Whilst this year’s Annual Meeting of Mark Provincial Grand Lodge was a joyous day, it was tinged with a little sadness, for whilst it was preceded by the Installation of our new Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Robert Stokes, it also marked the retirement of our Past PGM, RWBro George Edward Bonham GMRAC.
A total of 225 ‘Brethren of the Mark’ were in attendance to witness this historic event, which included 82 Visitors from other Provinces - among whom were 23 Right Worshipful Brethren and other guests, representing 27 Mark Provinces. We were also honoured by the presence of 6 current or past, Heads of Orders from our own Province.
The morning began when the Installation meeting was opened in fine form by Past DepPGM, VWBro Geoffrey Frank Bollard PGSO, acting as Presiding Officer and ably assisted by VWBro Brian Ennever PGJO, acting as Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
After a report on the door, the Grand Director of Ceremonies, RWBro Frank Spencer, was admitted, and formed a procession in order for us to Receive the Pro Grand Master, MWBro Raymond John Smith, to whom VWBro Bollard ‘reluctantly’ relinquished the gavel.
The Pro Grand Master started by heaping praise on ‘The Legend’ – or who, as even RWBro George himself acknowledges, many know as the “Leg End” – RWBro George Bonham – who has stepped down after 11 highly successful years in office.
The Pro Grand Master then looked to the future and after placing his supporting team of Officers from Mark Grand Lodge into the offices in PGL, and having inspected the Patent of Appointment, proceeded to Obligate, Invest, Install and Proclaim, WBro Robert Andrew Stokes PAGDC, as the new Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire.
RWBro Robert Stokes PGM, MWBro Raymond John Smith Pro Grand Master and RWBro Frank Spencer, the Grand Dir.Cer.
The supporting Team of Grand Lodge Officers
After inspecting his Patent of Appointment, the Provincial Grand Master then Appointed, Obligated, Invested, Installed and Proclaimed, WBro Brian John Elliott PAGDC as the Deputy PGM.
It had been a busy week for WBro Brian, as the Deputy Provincial Grand Secretary and ProvGSec Elect, WBro David Sowerby was at home recuperating from recent surgery and a 21 day spell in hospital, which had not only prevented him from attending the meeting as he had planned, it had also prevented him from assisting WBro Brian with the preparations for this meeting as much as he would have wished. Thankfully, the Past ProvGSec, WBro Peter Dawson, had been ‘resurrected’ for the occasion to fill in as Secretary on the day – which he did with his usual nonchalance and aplomb.
On top of this hard work, on the previous Wednesday, WBro Brian had also been Installed as the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal of the PGChapter of Cambridgeshire – Phew, What a week!
The PGM then welcomed and thanked the Pro Grand Master for his visit and for the sincere and memorable way in which he had conducted his Installation. In reply, the Pro Grand Master starting off by remarking that by his attendance, the brethren must be reminded of ‘buses’ - as you have to wait an age for a Pro Grand Master to visit, only to then have two visits within the space of less than a month, as only two weeks previously he had attended the Northants & Hunts Installed Commanders meeting, where he had enjoyed listening to RWBro Roger Mac’s talk about his racing career.
A procession was then formed and the Pro Grand Master retired, escorted by his supporting Active Officers of Mark Grand Lodge.
The PGM ‘Called Off’ the meeting and 214 brethren retired to enjoy an excellent Festive Board served very efficiently by the catering staff.
On proposing the Pro Grand Master’s toast and again thanking him for attending, as is customary on these occasions, the PGM presented MWBro Raymond with several gifts to commemorate this truly memorable occasion, including two of specific interest
- a ‘custom-made shoe last’ to remind the Pro Grand Master of his visit to the home of British Boot & Shoe making
- and one of the new, specially ‘minted’ Mark tokens, which the PGM had had commissioned to present that afternoon, and at future meetings of PGL, to all new Advancees during the previous year – but only to those in attendance at the Provincial meeting.
Following the luncheon, the brethren re-assembled in the lodge room and the PGM ‘called on’ the meeting.
After receiving a Delegation from Royal Ark Mariner Lodges of the Province, the usual business of PGL was conducted, before the Provincial Grand Master Invested the newly Appointed and Promoted, Provincial Grand Officers.
After closing the meeting, the PGM and DPGM retired in procession to then welcome individually all of the brethren and receive their hearty congratulations.
[WBro Mike Sheppard - Webmaster]
JSN Imageshow list PGL 2017
DSC_0035 Norman Manser Roy Bradley PPGMs 0617.JPG
DSC_0049 Brian Bell ProvGChStwd PAGDC Sideways 0617.JPG
DSC_0049 Brian Elliott DPGM hand on Ped 0617.JPG
DSC_0049 Richard Bedells DGSwdB 0617.JPG
DSC_0049 PGM DPGM Close up 0617.jpg
DSC_0049 Richard Bedells ProvGDC.JPG
DSC_0049 Rick Bott ProvGAlmoner 0617.JPG
DSC_0049 Robert Stokes PGM Forward 0617 copy.JPG
DSC_0049 Robert Stokes PGM Welcome 0617.JPG
Parade out Mark PGL 0617.JPG
PP Exec greeting Brethren 0617.JPG
[Photos courtesy of WBros Chris James (London Mark) & Mike Sheppard]