St. Thomas of Acon - Province of East Anglia

Grand Preceptor's Address 2017



Dear Sir Knights,

Although I have already welcomed our distinguished guests I would again say how delighted we are to see you all joining us to-day and sincerely hope that you have pleasant time with us.

It is now my great pleasure to welcome all the Sir Knights of our own East Anglian Province.  It is really great to see so many of you here this morning and I extend my grateful thanks to you for your attendance and support.

At our Annual meeting held on 26th November last year I was duly re-appointed by our then Right Worthy Grand Preceptor, Sir Lee of Bromley-by-Bow, as his Right Eminent Provincial Grand Prior for what I totally expected would be for another full year.  However, ever remembering the old saying of “what a difference a day makes”, in a little over four weeks on the 29th December 2016 at the Grand Master’s Annual Council meeting completely unexpectedly Sir Lee was, as you are now already well aware, appointed as Grand Prior which obviously meant that he was unable to continue in the office as our Right Worthy Grand Preceptor. 

As was to be expected lots of telephone calls, discussions, etc., then took place and as a result when, during a regular meeting of Becket ye Martyr Chapel No. 1, held on Wednesday 4th January 2017, a meeting of Grand Council was opened and I was duly installed as your new Right Worthy Grand Preceptor by none other than Sir Lee of Bromley-by-Bow, the now Grand Prior, on behalf of the Most Worthy Grand Master, following which I had the pleasure of installing Sir David of Epping Forest as our Right Eminent Provincial Grand Prior.

Sir Knights, it was really a great honour for me to be appointed as your Right Worthy Grand Preceptor and although whilst it has been at times something of sharp learning curve I have enjoyed what is now almost a year in the office.   During this time I have been able to visit all of our Chapels in either an official or unofficial capacity and without exception have received a warm and friendly welcome by all present.  I would at this stage like to express my sincere thanks for the support which I have received during my official visits by so many of the Provincial officers – this has been much appreciated.

The Province generally appears to be in good order, although one or two of our Chapels have gone through a somewhat difficult period and in particular this applies to Pilgrims Chapel No. 2 which has experienced problems with administration, especially in respect of the position of Secretary.  However, I am aware that some plans are in hand to rectify the current problems and I am hopeful that will improve the situation and enable the Chapel to again move forward.  To this end I am sure that their somewhat small membership would welcome visitors at their meetings and I am confident that if at all possible you will do your best to support them

As was reported by our Provincial Grand Registrar earlier in the meeting, our membership has remained unchanged and although most Chapels have been able to admit Candidates, equally there have been a number of resignations.  One of the highlights of the year was the celebration of the tenth anniversary of Boadicea Chapel No. 59 in September when the Most Worthy Grand Master was in attendance and some forty plus sat down for a fine luncheon afterwards.   As I have already stated our Province generally is in good order, but we do need to do our utmost to encourage more to join our lovely Order.  I fully appreciate that in recent years, due mainly to the economic climate which we have all experienced, recruiting new members has been difficult throughout Freemasonry, but please do your best to promote our Order whenever and wherever possible.

I am sure that we are all delighted to hear from our Provincial Grand Secretary during his report that the Consecration of the Dean John Colet Chapel No. 128 will take place on Tuesday 13th February 2018 at the Southend Masonic Centre and I have no doubt that many of you here to-day will make a special effort to attend this event.   Plans for the forming a further Chapel within the Province to meet at King’s Lynn are still in the pipeline, and hopefully this will be moved forward in the New Year. 

Although I realise that through your respective Chapel Secretaries you have been advised on Grand Ranks to be conferred at the Grand Master’s Council on 29th December to Sir Knights from our Province, I would like to congratulate those concerned.  Sir Lee of Bromley-by-Bow K.H. is to be reappointed as Grand Prior, Sir Adrian of Epping as Grand Treasurer, Sir Daniel of St. Albans as Assistant Grand Marshal, Sir Stanley of Clay Hall, K.C as Grand Sentry and Sir David of Epping Forest as Assistant Grand Sentry.  In addition there are a number of first appointments to active Grand Rank these being Sir Terence of Mildenhall as Grand Historian, which is a really superb appointment for Terry, our Provincial Grand Secretary, Sir Derek of Anfield, as Grand Banner Bearer, Sir Bernard of Tyre as Assistant Grand Marshal and Sir Ian of Broxbourne to Grand Cellarer.  There is a first appointment to Past Grand Doorkeeper for Sir Etienne of Coutances and Promotions for Sir Rodney of Totham Magna to Past Grand Marshal, Sir Paul of Kettleburgh, also to Past Grand Marshal and Sir Neil of Maidstone to Past Grand Registrar.  Our Province has certainly done extremely well and Sir Knights I am sure you will wish to show your appreciation to all those concerned.

I would now like to congratulate all those Sir Knights who I have appointed to Provincial office to-day.  I realise that this has often been said before, not only is it in appreciation for what you have already done for our Province and indeed for our wonderful Order in general, but also in anticipation of your continued support and commitment during the forthcoming year and for many more years to come.

I would like to express my sincere thanks for all the help and support I have received since my appointment as your Right Worthy Grand Preceptor from all the members of the Executive Committee and the Provincial Officers.  In particular I wish to express my thanks to our hard working Provincial Secretary, Sir Derek of Anfield.  To-day concludes his first year in office as our Secretary and he has certainly done an excellent job. 

Finally, my thanks must go to all those involved in making the arrangements for our meeting to-day, in particular to our Provincial Marshal and his team, our Secretary and also to Peter and Gill Brown of the Newmarket Masonic Hall for their kind co-operation and support.

Sir Knights – that concludes my report.  Again I would like to say how delighted I am to see so many present, both guests and members of the Province and I am sure we can look forward to an excellent lunch and continued fellowship together.

With all good wishes.