Home » Provincial Prior’s Address to the Annual Provincial Meeting 2024

Provincial Prior’s Address to the Annual Provincial Meeting 2024

 Brother Knights 

2024 is nearly half-way through – doesn’t time fly?

I welcome you all here today and in a moment address that welcome individually to our distinguished guests. As the scourge of pandemics recedes from general life – although I appreciate that some have been hit hard – we welcome those sunny days and blue skies I have mentioned before.

Some of the distinguished guests at the Provincial Meeting

from left to right – RE Kt Hearl Lenton, Prov Prior West Yorkshre RE Kt David Jordan, Prov Prior Kent RE Kt Alan Pierce, Prov Prior Cheshire and North Wales RE Kt David Gallear KCT, Prov Prior Lancashire RE Kt Jim Crossley, Prov Prior Nottinghamshire 

Knights all, the Freemasonry family has been affected as much as other organisations have been by pandemics.  In some places there has been little effect, but in others the number of members is not what it was.

We must remember that Masonic Orders do not stand alone – and the term Brotherhood encapsulates the closeness of us to each other. We draw our members from the Holy Royal Arch, and Chapters are where we must look to for new blood.

In the past, it has not been the practice to seek new members, expecting others to approach us. Let us turn that on its head, and go and speak with fellow Companions (and indeed Brethren in our Lodges) and tell that about the United Orders of the Temple and of Malta.

Explain to them what you enjoy about Knights Templar and tell them that it is unlikely to be like anything else they have experienced in their Masonic journey.

If you don’t enjoy aspects of it, as I have said before, don’t tell them – tell me.

It is only by reaching out, that new members can be encouraged.

The Province is looking at ways that we can help the process, and suitable opportunities for doing so are being explored – and are being put into place.

We have several celebrations coming up shortly – like buses – none for years perhaps and then a convoy comes around the corner.

In November de L’Isle Adam Preceptory celebrate 100 years in existence. Later on Menai Preceptory also celebrate 100 years and the Preceptory of St. David reaches 50 years. I am taking the Provincial Team to witness and hopefully take part in those celebrations.  Attendance is not however restricted to acting Provincial Officers, and others may join with us in enjoying the events.

If you are keen to go – and for those who have never witnessed a Centenary meeting – do it now, for it is back to waiting for a far distant bus afterwards.

I return now to something I have spoken about previously, and that is the ceremony of Installation of a new Knight into the Order, or indeed the ceremony of Installing your successor into the chair. Think of when you joined, and the way the ceremony was performed. Share the work if needed – much like what we are now encouraged to do in the Craft – but make your part something special. The ritual book is something to learn from, rather than to read from. You were a special candidate when you joined and today’s candidates are no less special.

The Great Marshal is to undertake a number of visits to Provinces in the coming months – I believe he has already done some – bringing his take on delivering our ceremonies and providing support to local initiatives. We look forward to welcoming him to one of our Preceptory meeting in the next few months, and I have no doubt that this will be of particular interest to Preceptory Marshals – but not exclusively so.

The Provincial Marshal will also be undertaking work – or rather support, as I alluded to some little while ago, for Marshals and Deputy Marshals in their own Preceptories. Please take the opportunity to participate and help to perfect the support that the Province is able to provide.

Referring to perfection, the Great Marshal is most keen to see the Sign of a Crusader made as described in the ritual. I have said many times that it isn’t supposed to be like washing your face with a flannel – so be warned!

Brother Knights – I have referred to the Great Marshal. At the May assembly of Great Priory, he was back to good health, and did not require a spare pair of legs to enable him to perform his duties.

I, on the other hand, was not best placed to attend, to my deep regret, but I felt it wiser to not attend rather than chance disruption again. I will refrain from a more detailed explanation but it is all to do with kidney stones…

However, I am delighted to say that at that meeting, a total of five Knights of this Province received a first appointment or promotion in Great Priory.

Congratulations to E. Kt. John Francis Bird of Menai Preceptory and Llewelyn Fawr Preceptory, Past Provincial 1st. Constable who was honoured with appointment as Past Great Aide-de-Camp.

Turning to the spare pair of legs from last year – E. Kt. Fraser John Fowlie, formerly Deputy Great Marshal – received promotion to acting Great Registrar – so now Very Eminent Knight. A truly deserved appointment, and an Honour which reflects the work he has done, and continues to do, for this Order. And to think that in my short-sightedness, I sacked him last year. Or that is what he keeps telling people.

  1. Kt. Paul Robert Crudge is promoted to acting Great Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli). Another well-deserved promotion in recognition of his contribution to the Order. Thank you for your help today, Paul.

So, this year, the Province of Cheshire and North Wales has two acting Great Officers, which perhaps reflects the esteem that the Knights of this Province are held in.

  1. Kt. Anthony James Lloyd, Provincial Vice-Chancellor is promoted after being an acting Great Captain of Guard for three years, to Past Great Herald. Anthony’s not able to be here today but his contribution to the Province cannot be overlooked. He does the smooth-running bit behind the scenes – I just interfere with it.

And finally, the Provincial Sub-Prior E Kt Peter John Butler received promotion from Past Great Deputy Sword Bearer to Past Great Herald.  Peter, it is a well-deserved recognition of the work you do for the Order, for this Province, and for me. Thank you.

We also have three members of this Province as members of the Grand Master’s Bodyguard – Eamon Quail, Martin Geer and Mark Gleaves. Well done all!

I thank all my Provincial Officers for their support, and the members of my Bodyguard.

For those Officers stepping down this year, a big thank you, too. Some have worked long and hard and it is difficult to name one without naming all, but particular thanks are due to E. Kt. Barry William Jobber, Past Deputy Great Almoner, for his wonderful support to the Province and to me, in the Office of Provincial Prelate. Barry, thank you. E Kt Barrie Sant steps down as Bodyguard Commander after a number of years giving much support.  

Brother Knights, before we move on to what this meeting today is all about – celebrating the appointment and promotion of Provincial Officers – may I give you a couple of dates.

28 July here at Christleton for my Provincial Sunday lunch. Raffle prizes are most welcome and we would welcome family members alongside Knights for a most enjoyable event.

The Annual Church Service will again take place at St. Deiniol’s Church in Hawarden, and further details will be circulated – and become available on the Provincial website.

Talking of the website, my thanks once more to E. Kt. Steve Parker for his stewardship of the website and the work he appears happy to undertake on my behalf when I ask.

An important date to remember for next year is that our annual meeting will take place one week later than usual – on the second Saturday of June rather than the first – as the Craft Province of Cheshire will celebrate the Tercentenary of Cheshire on 7 June. Our meeting will be on 14 June 2025 but revert back to the first Saturday thereafter.

Before I finish, I want to tell you that the way Provincial appointments are made – or rather the timing – is something that I want to look at with the advice of my executive. It would appear that the Province is a little out of step regarding when first appointments are made and we need to be taking into account not only the work of Eminent Preceptors during their year of office but also the following years too. It is an opportunity to look again at Eminent Knights who for whatever reason were not able to install their successor.

I congratulate all who are being appointed or promoted today. Thoroughly well deserved. Thank you for your support and my good wishes to you all.

Brother Knights, thank you for your attendance today and your attention to this address.