After weighing anchor and travelling down the coast to Bridlington for last year’s meeting we have once again found a safe harbour here at the Scarborough Spa, where better to hold our Assembly with our spiritual home, the North Sea in full view. Although the meeting was a success and Bridlington Spa welcomed us with open arms, I think it’s good to be back home here in Scarborough. To pre-warn you brethren next year’s meeting will be held, here at the Spa on Saturday 21st November, which is the third Saturday in November. From 2021 the Assembly will revert back to the first Saturday in November and will remain on that day for the foreseeable future.
As usual I will start my address by giving you an update on the membership numbers we have 339 members and 398 memberships, that is those who have membership of more than one lodge. The numbers are somewhat similar to last year. We have had 19 elevations during the year but sadly, as the Assistant Provincial Grand Master has mentioned 12 deaths. Two lodges are at the top of the table with regard to attracting new members Howdenshire and, my own lodge, Beacon Centenary. Both lodges elevating four candidates each, well done to both lodges and thank you to those lodges who have had elevations. We have a target of 50% of the Mark members to be in the Mariners. We are about thirty short of that number. Work to be done brethren.
We have started the year off in good style, with an excellent elevation ceremony by the Allertonshire Lodge. W.Bro Les Race, I once more congratulate you and your team and welcome, Bro. Bryant into the Royal Ark Mariners. I’m hope you will have many enjoyable times in this Order.
Brethren, as you know I have called you my elite team, since becoming your Provincial Grand Master in 2015. I see no reason to change that as you are all committed Royal Ark Mariners and Mark Men and, I believe, you all hold the welfare of both our Orders at heart and are very much committed to both these wonderful Orders. Your presence in such good numbers exemplifies that today, especially when given the important Rugby Match that was played earlier this morning. For those who have recorded the match I don’t intend to spoil your viewing later today by telling you the score, but I’m sure someone will.
I believe, as my elite team, that you all thoroughly enjoy your Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Masonry. I also believe that it is our duty to look after our two Orders, to nurture them and to make them grow. We are just the present custodians of these two Orders; we have a duty to make sure that the Orders thrive, prosper and grow. To make sure that future generations continue to enjoy their Mark and Royal Ark Mariner masonry, as much as we do. It is incumbent on us to do our utmost to continue the good work of our forefathers. With this in mind I ask all of you to take the application forms you have on your seat and use them. Ask a Craft brother to join the Mark, ask a Mark brother to join the Royal Ark Mariners, do your bit to help the Orders grow so that future generations can continue to enjoy what we have. Please, please be pro-active in singing the praises of our two Orders, don’t just sit back and assume someone else will.
To aid you in this work the Recruitment, Retention and Rejuvenation team, headed by W.Bro Mike Collinson and overseen by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro Paul Barham will be rolling out initiatives over the coming few months, please take them on board. One of which will be a Mark meets a RAM presentation evening, run along similar lines as W. Bro David Crofts Mark meets the Craft evenings.
Freemasonry is like a Jigsaw, with many pieces forming the whole picture. All the pieces are extremely important and all have a big part to play and all fit together nicely, with each piece telling a story and each piece revealing more of the complete picture. But there is none more important than the Craft. It is the first piece of the Jigsaw and where the whole picture starts. I have said we are the custodians of the Mark and RAM, that applies more so to the Craft. For all the orders to flourish we require a strong and vibrant craft, so brethren support your craft lodges and ask that all important question to non-masons, would you like to know more about masonry, come along to a social event, especially a Mark event, do your best brethren.
Last December, in London, three of our members received the rank of Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank, these ranks came about after many years of loyal and dedicated service to their Lodges, this Province and the Order in general. Please stand brethren when I read your name, as I’m sure the brethren will want to congratulate you on your high preferment, hold back brethren until I’ve read all their names. W.Bro,s Ernie McGeagh, Roger Booker and Tony Clements.
Grand Ranks are given at the discretion of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, after recommendation of the Provincial Grand Master. This year the Grand Ranks allocated to this province have been reduced from three to two. That makes it extremely difficult to choose who will receive this high recognition. After careful consideration the two brethren who will receive RAMGR are, please stand brethren when I read your name, W.Bro’s Rollo Smallwood and Graham Fenwick. Congratulations to you both and I look forward to seeing you receive your honour on the 10th December at Great Queen Street. Please, if at all possible, try to support these two brethren with your presence in London.
The year has seen a change to the secretariat. W.Bro Bill Glanville leaving his post as Provincial Secretary to take over as the Craft Provincial Secretary. Bill, I thank you for what you have done for the Mark and the Royal Ark Mariners and for the companionship and friendship we have shared, which will continue. I wish you well and every success in your new roll. I would also like to express our good wishes to your predecessor and his family, W. Bro Adrian Jessop.
That change meant that W.Bro Geoff Nicholson moved up from Deputy to take over as Provincial Secretary. Geoff you have done a splendid job, I couldn’t have asked for a more committed and dedicated man to take over. Well done and thank you. Bro Allan Williams also moving up to take on the role of Deputy. Allan, thank you for all the work you do and in particular the running of this Assembly here today, which has fallen on your shoulders to organise. Thank you and well done.
That left an opening for an Assistant Secretary and Bro. Duncan Kilbride of the St Peters RAM Lodge filled that office. Duncan you have done a tremendous job, your duty today is organising the lunch and that brethren is like a holding a challis of fire. Duncan welcome aboard and well done.
My thanks to the Director of Ceremonies team, headed by the Provincial DC, W.Bro’s Ron Campbell, his Deputy W.Bro Les Richings, who has been in charge of today preparation and ceremonial, the Assistant DC, Bro Steve Cox and standing in for the day, W.Bro Gordon Turner. Thank you all for today’s ceremonial.
My thanks also goes to W.Bro’s Geoff Eastburn and Alan Hatfield and the members of the PWRL for a multitude of things they have done, The Provincial Organist W.Bro Bob Stannard. Last but not Least W.Bro Peter Nesbitt for transporting the ladies from the Palm Court Hotel down here to the Spa.
Today marks the start of a new Royal Ark Mariner year, last year’s team retires from office. My fellow Rulers and I would like to thank you for the support you have given us at Installations and Team visits. We hope you have enjoyed your year, but the work does not stop. Please continue to support the Order, by promoting the RAM in your Mark lodges and both the Orders generally.
To this year’s team congratulations on your preferment, the three of us are looking forward to your presence on our many visits round the Province. I ask two things from you; support the visits we do and in your year of office propose a Mark man to this colourful, vibrant and meaningful order. Do your best brethren, please inform me of your success at recruiting. I will keep a list of your success and possibly report back here next year.
Thank you all for your attendance here today, thank you for your continued support of our order. Enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner and Mark Masonry, make sure that enjoyment is well known amongst non-members, enjoy the social events, enjoy all your Freemasonry
May the great Overseer of the Universe bless you all and may you all find a safe Harbour in times of difficultly and need in the coming year.
Thank you all Brethren.