Our March Regular meeting took place at the Maidstone Masonic Centre on 23rd March 2018.
38 Brethren gathered to witness the “Passing” (i.e. taking the second degree) of Bro. Nick Marinov by our Worshipful Master, Paul Constable.
The meeting began in a somewhat unusual manner as our Organist John Fry had been admitted to hospital with a kidney complaint. The opening Ode was therefore sung “Acapella” but was surprisingly tuneful given the limited vocal talent of most of the membership.
The Almoner John Sampson assured the Brethren that Bro. John was responding to treatment and was keeping us appraised of his progress via Social Media. We all wish John (F) a speedy recovery.
Moving on with the Agenda, The Secretary Bob Burns rose to deal with the Minutes of the last meeting. He informed the meeting that the only comment he had received was from (a suspiciously anonymous) Brother who apparently claimed that they were “the best minutes he had ever seen” ;-))
Nik’s answers to the questions leading from the 1st to 2nd degrees were word perfect, as was the rendition of the 2nd Degree Working Tools by Peter Jacobs and the Explanation of the 2nd Degree Tracing Board by Mike Spencer.
One innovation later in the evening was the introduction of a 4th “Rising” by the WM. This was blamed on the IPM who was apparently asleep…
Alms raised during the meeting were £101.30.
The meeting was followed by a thoroughly enjoyable Festive Board at which a further £233.00 was raised. The Bottle Raffle was won by Bob Burns (again…).
Responding to the Toast to the Guests and Visitors, WBro. Tony Hayward of the White Horse of Kent Lodge No 8784 thanked the Brethren for an enjoyable meeting, a sumptuous Festive Board and for their warm and sincere welcome. He expressed the wish of all the Guests and Visitors that they might enjoy a similar occasion in the not too distant future.
Thursday 15th March 2017 saw over 220 East Kent Freemasons gather at the Winter Gardens in Margate for the Spring meeting of the Provincial Officers’ Mess. Guest of Honour and Speaker for the day was none other than the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England, Dr. David Staples.
Dr. Staples confessed that he had been expecting an intimate lunch with 20 or so people, but expressed his delight at having the opportunity to address so many East Kent Brethren at a single event.
In his address, the outgoing President of the Mess, Geoffrey Dearing, thanked the Brethren for their outstanding support over the seven years he had served as Provincial Grand Master. He also referred to his new role as President of the Board of General Purposes and said how much he was looking forward to working with Dr. Staples specially in relation to the “Enough is Enough” campaign.
Before he replied, Dr. Staples took the opportunity of taking to the Winter Gardens stage, the boards of which had been trodden by many show-business legends. He recalled that his last appearance on such a stage was some years ago when he had appeared as the back end of a pink elephant in a Hospital pantomime.
In a wide ranging speech he recalled his own links to Kent. He was born in Sidcup, and fondly recalled his mother’s memories of the county as an evacuee during the Second World War.
He then went on to describe the reasoning behind the “Enough is Enough Campaign, in particular the need to counter the huge degree of ignorance and misinformation which persisted about Freemasonry both in the media and society at large. He also discussed his own very personal experience of discrimination against Freemasons.
We managed to get an exclusive interview with Dr. Staples.
The Mess ended with a poignant moment when The Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Martyn Summers proposed the last ever vote of thanks to the outgoing President. He reviewed RW Bro Geoffrey’s many achievements during his time in office and offered the thanks and good wishes of all the Provincial Officers, wishing him well in his new Role as President of the Board of General Purposes at UGLE.