Saturday 24th September 2011 saw the Mark Master Masons of Kent assemble on a lovely day at the Winter Gardens, Margate for the 138th Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. Over 330 Brethren attended including many guests from other Provinces including the District Grand Master from Spain. In all 20 Mark Provinces & Districts were represented from as far away as Devon, Bristol and Warwickshire. This year Kent were honoured by the presence of RW Bro. H Keith Emmerson and this was his first official visit since his investiture as Assistant Grand Master only eleven days earlier. He was warmly welcomed by the PGM, RW Bro. Roger Croucher.

The PGM then introduced and welcomed individually each of our other honoured guests.

The Brethren who had passed to Higher Service during the past year were remembered with the Provincial Grand Chaplain offering prayer and the singing of the hymn 'The day Thou gavest Lord is ended'.

Representatives of Brethren who had been recently Advanced during the past 12 months and who were in attendance were presented to the PGM who welcomed them both in to the Degree and to today’s meeting.

During the proceedings it was agreed that the following donations be made:

Grand Mark Lodge Fund of Benevolence £15,000
East Kent Craft, 2014 Festival £5,000
West Kent Craft, 2015 Festival £5,000
Mark Province of Middlesex, 2012 MBF Festival £5,000

The PGM was then pleased to present a cheque for £5,000 to W. Bro. Roger Odd, Deputy PGM in Charge for East Kent and to VW Bro. Keith Waters APGM for Middlesex. Both gave their thanks for the donation.

The PGM was pleased to re-appoint VW Bro. Peter Williams as DeputyPGM, VW. Bro. David Green and W. Bro. Archie Torrance as APGMs.

Next on the agenda was the appointment of 45 Brethren to Active Provincial Rank, 27 promotions to Past Rank and 16 first appointments to Past Rank. Those present were duly invested by the PGM with a word of congratulation to them all.

At a meeting of the Kent Installed Commanders Lodge at Tovil on 2nd September 2011 the PGM appointed 24 Brethren to ProvR.A.M.GR and those unable to be present then but were here today were invested with their collarette.

Two Brethren, VW. Bro. Ian Munford and W. Bro. John Sharp, who had served on the Committee of General Purposes for 3 years were retiring and after being thanked for their services W. Bros. Ian Gallehawk of Lord Harris Lodge No. 1494 and Bill Taylor of Richard Watts Lodge No. 1461 were elected in their stead for a period of 3 years.

In his address to Provincial Grand Lodge the PGM referred to various events which occurred during the year. The principal fund raising event had been the Garden Party held at Pond House, Sittingbourne on a day blessed with beautiful weather and raised the sum of £17,000 for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund.

Mention was made of the enjoyable Family Lunch at Tovil, of Kent retaining the Cricket Cup in atrocious weather conditions and of the makeover of the Provincial Website. The PGM said that on Thursday 26th April 2012 he would have the honour of presiding over the Grand Master’s Lodges of Instruction Festival at Mark Masons’ Hall, London where both the Mark Advancement and R.A.M. Elevation ceremonies would be demonstrated. This would be followed by the Festival Dinner and he hoped that good support would be forthcoming from the Province for the occasion.

The Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro. H Keith Emmerson, in addressing Provincial Grand Lodge, thanked the Province for the invitation to attend today and said this was his first Official Visit since his investiture a few days ago. He was pleased to join us today as Kent was his Masonic home. He went on to say that Grand Lodge was now in a better financial situation with the catering being profitable and that there was no intention of a further levy. He concluded by again thanking the Province for receiving him and wished it every success for the future.

W. Bros. Jason Cameron-Potter and David Barden were conducted to the Pedestal to present the PGM with a cheque for £750 for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund, which had resulted from the sale and exchange of regalia. The PGM received the cheque with grateful thanks. W. Bro. John Sylvester was then conducted to the Pedestal. He explained that some years ago he had put together a Book of Graces and now wished to donate some of the proceeds to the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund. The cheque was received with many thanks.

After Provincial Grand Lodge was closed and to round off the day there followed a very enjoyable Lunch attended by some 290 Brethren. During lunch the donation of £5,000 was presented to RW Bro. Jonathan Winpenny, PGM for West Kent Craft, who responded with grateful thanks.

Our thanks are due to W. Bro. Greg Dunham, ProvGDC, his team, W Bro Bill Balderston, ProvGSec and his team, the St Martins Lodge No 262 for acting as Banner Lodge and indeed to all those who worked hard and played a part in ensuring a successful occasion. Thanks are also due to the St John Ambulance Brigade for their attendance.

The event was now at an end and all returned home after a superb day. We now all look forward to Bromley on Saturday 22nd September 2012 where we will reconvene to do it all again.

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