District Grand Master’s Address to the 2023 meeting of District District Grand Council.

Companions All

I warmly welcome you to our Annual Meeting here at Sindlesham, Companions of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire this is your meeting and I am really delighted to see you here today in record numbers.  On your behalf I have welcomed our distinguished guests, many of whom have had long and difficult journeys to be with us.  I reiterate that welcome and say how pleased we are to enjoy their company.

I thank the District Officers for the year just gone.  It is good to see you all here with just 2 exceptions, both for good reason.  We have enjoyed 3 Team Visits during the year to Bearwood Council for their 40th Anniversary, and to Thame and Wokingham Councils.  On all occasions we have been made very welcome.  I should like to make particular mention of V.Ill. Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow.  Paul has travelled many miles to visit our own Councils and to other District Grand Councils across the width and breadth of the land.  Congratulations on your very well-deserved promotion that now makes you a Very Illustrious Companion.  You have served the District well.

It has been a delight for me to invest the new Officers with the collarettes of your office.  I thank you for the commitment that you give to your Councils and to the District.  We will be having 3 Team Visits during the year, starting with Thame Council’s 25th Anniversary on Saturday 19th August.  The other 2 visits being Terra Sancta in January and Wantage in May.  I shall be delighted to see you at any of those meetings which you are able to attend.

The Grand PCW has already congratulated our newly appointed Grand Officers.  I also offer my congratulations to them all with thanks for the sterling work that they do for our Order.

In addition, in the last 12 months two of our Companions have received the degree of Excellent Master at Grafton Council in London.  This is the sixth degree in the Order and only conferred on a limited number of Companions who already have the Silver Trowel.  Our two worthy recipients were Simon Jeffery and Hillier Wise.

Our Silver Trowel Team, ably led by V.Ill.Comp. Peter Hughes, has been working hard and the ceremony is always much appreciated by the Past Masters who receive it.  Peter is now stepping down after 12 years as our Drama Director for the Silver Trowel.  Peter, many thanks to you for establishing the degree in Unity Council and for nurturing it and ensuring that it is a highlight of the year.

In recent years we have supported the Craft Provinces of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire with their Festivals. There is a slight gap before the forthcoming Oxfordshire Mark Festival. Therefore this year we will be making a donation of £250 to Dementia Contented, a local charity based at Burford.  You will be aware of the devasting effect caused by this condition, and we think particularly of R.Ill. Comp. Len Starling, a former DGM of this District.

Companions we have a high proportion of our members here today.  I am delighted to see you and hope that you enjoy the day.  I congratulate you on the high standard of work in your Councils; it is always a pleasure to visit.  It is pleasing to see the way that the Councils are bouncing back after the travails of the pandemic. New candidates have been, and will continue to be, welcome in joining and strengthening our Councils.  Do remember to talk to your brethren and companions and let them know what they’re missing.  We are the custodians of this delightful Order and we must ensure that we pass it on to our successors in a vibrant and healthy state.

Companions, I am close on 750 words already and I must conclude.

In doing so, I should like to thank Berkshire for allowing us to meet here in Sindlesham and enjoy the facilities of the Centre.  Thanks also to Bekenesfelde Council for the use of their equipment.

These meetings do not just happen, and I express my grateful thanks to all those who have been responsible for ensuring that today’s meeting has run so smoothly. In particular, our DC, Ill Comp Tim Weller; and all his Team; and the District Recorder Ill Comp Simon Jeffrey, and his predecessor Ill Comp Malcolm Summers, and their team; to the District Grand Treasurer and all the many companions who have assisted.

Companions, I thank you all for attending.  Many of you have travelled great distances, and you have all given up your valuable time to attend our meeting.  May the Supreme Master of the Universe aid you with His Grace and have you in his Holy Keeping now and evermore.


Posted in: news on August 2, 2023 by...