The Mark Master Masons of Kent together with their guests assembled on a lovely late summer’s day at Bromley on Saturday 22nd September 2012 for the 139th Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. Some 360 Brethren attended with many guests from other Provinces including the District Grand Master from the South & East Caribbean. In all 22 Mark Provinces & Districts were represented from as far away as Devon, Leicestershire & Rutland and South Wales.

After Provincial Grand Lodge had been opened the PGM introduced and welcomed individually each of the honoured guests.

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

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

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

Mark Benevolent Fund £15,000
East Kent Craft, 2014 Festival £7,000
West Kent Craft, 2015 Festival £5,000
Mark Province of East Anglia, 2013 MBF Festival £4,000

The PGM was then pleased to present the donation for £4,000 to RW. Bro. Paul Norman, the PGM for East Anglia. He gave thanks for the Province’s generosity.

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

At a meeting of the Kent Installed Commanders Lodge at Tovil on 7th September 2012 the PGM appointed 28 Brethren to ProvR.A.M.GR and those unable to be present then but were here today were invested with their collarette.

Next on the agenda was the appointment or re-appointment of 45 Brethren to Active Provincial Rank, 27 promotions to Past Rank and 8 first appointments to Past Rank. Those present were duly invested by the PGM with a word of congratulation to them all.

Two Brethren, W. Bros Barry Cleaves and John Linkin, who had served on the Committee of General Purposes for 3 years, were retiring and after being thanked for their services W. Bros. Ray Collings of Kent Mark Stewards Lodge No. 1691 and Peter Martin of St Andrews Lodge No. 237 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 a busy year. A Royal Ark Mariner Lodge had been consecrated, there had been three Banner Dedications and a number of special celebrations. A Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Banner had also been dedicated. The principal fund raising event was held at Franklin Road, Gillingham on 6th July when the Sussex Mark Ancient Ritual Team treated us to a colourful and entertaining demonstration of an 18th century working which covered the Acknowledgement of a Mark Mason and the Advancement of a Mark Master. With the support of the Brethren and Lodges £17,000 was raised for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund.

Mention was made of the enjoyable Family Lunch at Tovil but the Inter Provincial Cricket Tournament had to be cancelled because of the waterlogged pitch at Leatherhead. During the summer the 2020 Mark Benevolent Fund Festival, to be hosted by Kent, was launched. Much more detail would soon be made available. Fitting tributes were paid to three stalwarts of the Province for the work they had done, W. Bros. John Sylvester, Tony Waspe and Phil Sayer, who all stood down from office today.

The PGM said this would be the last time he would preside over Provincial Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Master and went on to thank the numerous Brethren who had served under him during his term of office. Particular mention was made of Alan Townsend who had been so cruelly taken from us earlier this month.

At the conclusion of the address the PGM sat down to a long and well deserved standing ovation.

W. Bros. Jason Cameron-Potter and David Barden were conducted to the Pedestal to present the PGM with a cheque for £1500 for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund, which had resulted from the sale and exchange of regalia. The PGM received the cheque with many thanks.

After Provincial Grand Lodge was closed and to round off the day there followed a very enjoyable Lunch attended by some 300 Brethren. During lunch the donation of £7,000 was presented to Geoffrey Dearing, PGM for East Kent Craft and £5,000 to Jonathan Winpenny, PGM for West Kent Craft, who each responded with grateful thanks.

And finally our thanks are due to W. Bro. Greg Dunham, ProvGDC, his team, the rest of the Secretariat, the Erdemont Lodge No 1894 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 reconvening next year when we will do it all over again.

Bill Balderston

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