The R.Ill. District Grand Master’s address to the Companions at District Grand Council 2022.

(For photos of the event, please see the ‘Photos’ section of the website.)


The R.Ill. District Grand Master’s address to the Companions at District Grand Council 2022.

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 so many of you here today.  On your behalf I have welcomed our distinguished guests, many of whom have travelled long distances to be with us.  I reiterate that welcome and say how pleased we are to enjoy their company.

Companions, who knew that I am a clairvoyant?  Looking back I see that in this address in 2019 I said “Perhaps in future these meetings will all be done remotely in a virtual meeting with holograms.”  Little did I realise how soon the virtual meeting would come to pass!    You won’t need me to tell you the reasons why.  Suffice it to say that it has been a very difficult time and we have all been impacted to a greater or lesser extent amongst our family and friends and in our Councils.

This then is our first face-to-face District Meeting since 2019, and my theme today is that of celebration.

At Grand Council in April a number of our Companions were honoured by the Grand Master.  They are:

V.Ill.Comp. Graham Seeman appointed as Grand Director of Ceremonies
Ill. Comp. Alan Baverstock re-appointed as Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
Ill.Comp. Huw Hopkin appointed as Grand Manciple
R.Ill.Comp. Nigel Willows promoted to Past Grand Chancellor
Ill. Comp. Mark Ball appointed as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
Ill.Comp. David Lambton promoted to Past Grand Conductor of the Council
Ill.Comp. Richard Owen promoted to Past Grand Captain of the Guard
Ill.Comp. Tim Weller promoted to Past Grand Captain of the Guard

Congratulations to them all.

Today we celebrate our 25 years as a District.  Next year Grand Council will celebrate its Sesquicentenary, 150 years.  As a District we are contributing towards the acquisition of a new Ark of the Covenant.  Plans are afoot to celebrate this milestone in a suitable manner and details will follow.  You have all received details of the competition to design a Sesquicentenary Lapel Pin and this is a way in which we can all take part.

In the last 12 months four 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 four worthy recipients were Alan Baverstock, Stephen Cousins, David Lambton and David Tremaine.  I should point out that as only two recommendations are permitted per year three of these companions had been carried over from previous years.

Our Silver Trowel Team, ably led by V.Ill.Comp. Peter Hughes, has been catching up on the backlog of those Past Masters who have been approved by the Grand Master to receive the Order of the Silver Towel, or the degree of a Thrice Illustrious Master.

We have had three Team Visits this year.  To Bekensfelde Council in December, to Oxford Council in February, and to Bearwood Council in March.  All of which were thoroughly enjoyable occasions.  Oxford Council was celebrating its 50-year Jubilee and I should like to congratulate V.Ill.Comp. Phillip Purves on the splendid history of the Council which he produced.  It is remarkable in its research and breadth and is a fascinating read.  I am delighted that we have with us today, R.Ill.Comp. Charles Woodward, a Founder of Oxford Council, and the founding District Grand Master of the District.

Those of us here today have been very fortunate to listen to V.Ill.Comp. Phillip’s synopsis of our 25 years as a District.  On retiring from the meeting you will be able to collect a copy of the full history.  V.Ill.Comp. Phillip, I express our admiration and grateful thanks.  Indeed you have marked well.

I should like to thank all the outgoing District Officers for your sterling work during the past year.  I hope that you have enjoyed it, and your support is much appreciated.    In particular, I should like to commend Ill. Comp. Raymond Head, the TIM of Wantage Council, who is retiring today after 7 distinguished years as our District Treasurer.  I also thank those District Officers who have represented us at various District Meetings around the country.  It is always a delight to enjoy the companionship of our Sister Districts.

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.  There will be three Team Visits in the coming twelve months; to Thame Council next month, to Bearwood Council n November for their 40th anniversary, and to Wokingham Council next April.  I shall be delighted to see you at any of those meetings which you are able to attend.

Let me echo our Grand Recorder who says that we must look forward and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.  There is no better time for new members to join our Councils.  I am very impressed with the manner in which the Councils of the District have emerged from a period of dormancy to regroup, resume ceremonies, Choose new members, and continue your Cryptic masonry.

In the last two years we have supported the Craft Provinces of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire with their Festivals.  Today we donate the same amount to Berkshire for their 2023 Festival.

Companions, I am close on 1,000 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. Malcolm Summers; the Assistant Recorder, Ill.Comp. Simon Jeffrey; the past District Treasurer; Ill.Comp. Raymond Head; and all their helpers.

Companions, I thank you all for attending and assisting us to celebrate our 25 years as a District.  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 17, 2022 by...