PGM's Address to Provincial Grand Lodge ~ 13th May 2017
I am very
pleased to see so many Bristol brethren here today. I again thank the visitors
for coming and allowing us to repay the hospitality and friendship we receive
I congratulate those
receiving Provincial Honours and thank them for their loyal service and
contribution. It is your special day
today and I hope that in accepting the Honour you appreciate the responsibilities
attached to it. Continue to support the
Province, the Initiatives to take Masonry forward and your Lodge. I am also
looking to you to instruct and to find new members.
I would like
thank those Provincial Officers who have completed their year in office. I thank them for their support and I am sure
they have enjoyed their year, especially with the four Provincial Visits to
lodges and the other special events.
I must say how
much I have enjoyed the company of VW Bro. Chris Williams who retired today. I
thank him for his support and his advice. I am sure he has enjoyed a
marvellous six years.
particularly thank the retiring Wardens W Bro. Peter Wills and W Bro. Alan Reed, who have
been very conscientious in making so many visits to all the Lodges and
representing the Province extremely well. They have enjoyed their time as Wardens,
supported all the activities in the Province and I know that the Masters in the
Corner and indeed all the Brethren have
enjoyed their company. The new Deputy
Provincial Grand Master W Bro. Jo Davis will I am sure be made very welcome in all
the lodges and I look forward to working with him in future. The two new
Wardens I have appointed, W Bro. Dr Jonathan Hayes and W Bro. Stuart McKendrick need
no introduction and I know you will also enjoy their company.
This year is a
very important year in Masonry since it represents the 300th Anniversary of the
formation of Grand Lodge. Locally we are
supporting this event on the actual day, 24th June, by attending Evensong at
our own Cathedral followed by Dinner in the Hall. There are many other events planned including
an Open Day in September and a very special Dinner in Bristol with the Province
of Monmouthshire in November, when the guest Speaker will be Sir Gareth
Edwards. I congratulate W Bro. Arthur
Grannan and his committee for their work in organising these events.
carried out extensive research, Bro. Gary Williams has identified five pubs
being former meeting places of lodges in the Province and we have had
permission from the planners, from the landlords and from the tenants to put
blue plaques on those buildings, the earliest of which dates from 1735. I am hoping that these blue plaques will be
unveiled by the Lord Mayor in due course.
Nationally, there is a major celebratory meeting at the Royal Albert
Hall on 31 October where Bristol will be fully represented. I am delighted that many Lodges are taking
the opportunity to celebrate in their own way and I am sure this would create
much interest and produce hopefully more candidates.
Grand Lodge had
the foresight to commission the documentary series called 'Inside the
Freemasons' which is currently being shown on Sky television. The viewing figures are very good indeed and
this has resulted in double the normal web traffic and many more potential
candidates responding with a view to becoming members. In addition, the unveiling of the Victoria
Cross Stones outside Feemasons Hall in London has created additional interest
and shows that we are truly part of the community. The television programmes
show that as masons we come in a range of ages, representing many different
religions and from all walks of life. There was a great feeling of friendship
shown in the programmes and that is the message we need to get across to the
survey carried out by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, in 2016 masonic donations
across the country totalling £33 million were made, the majority of which were
to non-Masonic causes. It is anticipated
that in 2017 the amount donated will be in the region of £40 million. In
Bristol we are actively seeking our own publicity and I have appointed W Bro. Kash
Dewani as the Communication Officer in charge of external relations who is
doing an excellent job.
I am delighted
with the support given to the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2019 Festival and I can
tell you that while the total donated is over £600,000 I would ask the Brethren
to bear in mind that we have two years left and we need at least another
£200,000 to repay to central funds the amounts which we have received in
benefits since the last Festival in 2008. I congratulate W Bro. Stephen Bennett and his committee for the hard work
and dedication they have put in to this Festival.
A year ago I
appointed W Bro. Stephen Carter as Provincial Membership Officer. In the last 12 months we have held three
Information Evenings where 49 potential candidates attended, of which 47 were
subsequently assigned to Lodges. Of the
49 only one came from the UGLE website and the others came from our own
website, from friends of members, from the outside events we held in the year superbly
organised by W Bro. Bob White, or from talks given by W Bro. Stephen to professional
and sporting bodies. Many Lodges have
benefited from these candidates and I ask all Lodges to appoint a Membership
Officer in order to take advantage.
also thank W Bro. John Allen for the tremendous work he has done as Mentor in
helping reduce resignations.
continuing quest for education, W Bro. Tony Baker the Provincial Grand Orator has
produced a series of five minute talks which he calls Snippets. These Masonic
'Thoughts for the Day' may be given by the lodge Mentor after each ceremony
which will provide the newer members (and possibly the older members) with
information on a variety of topics mainly relating to the ceremony which has
just taken place. I am sure you will find these very interesting.
Two weeks ago I
consecrated a new lodge called the Scoutcraft Lodge. This was a very enjoyable
day and it showed the Province of Bristol in an excellent light. I congratulate W Bro. Peter Wills the first
Master who did so much work to get the lodge off the ground and all those
Brethren who took part in the Ceremony. I am sure the Lodge will go forward from
strength to strength.
Ceremonies create great interest in other Provinces and we have either recently
demonstrated or will demonstrate in Berkshire, Middlesex, London, the Isle of
Man and in the Grand Temple at UGLE.
am delighted to see the Dunckerleys, our Young Masons Club, acting as Escort
Officers today as they did last year.
This is a fast growing Club that meets socially and brings together
newer members. Every Lodge has a
Representative and if you are not a member and you qualify, you could be
We will continue
to improve and alter the building, not merely repair and maintain it. To this end, in the summer we will be
starting on the air-handling and soon after that we will be looking at
upgrading the foyer, the corridors and the stairways. It is a continuing task but I am sure you
will agree Brethren, the results justify the means.
I am indebted to
VW Bro. Chris Williams and the senior members of the Province for their commitment
and support over the last year. I must
thank on your behalf W Bro. Philip Harrill the Director of Ceremonies and his team,
together with W Bro. Steve Rawlings the outgoing Provincial Grand Secretary and his office
team, and W Bro. Paul Corder and Bro. Des Eastup for the music, all of whom made today’s
meeting so enjoyable.
I express my
thanks to the directors of St George's Hall for their co-operation in allowing
us to use this venue. Each of you will have a gift aid envelope and I would ask
you to use this for today’s collection. The charity we are supporting today is of course the 2019 Masonic
Samaritan Fund Festival.
Brethren I am
honoured to represent this ancient Province and I look forward to another enjoyable
year ahead in your company. Thank you for your attendance
Robert Thorne Charity Race Night ~ 16th September 2017
Tercentenary Grand Dinner - Ashton Gate Stadium - Saturday 18th November
Classic Car Run - Ashton Gate Stadium - Sunday 2nd July
GWAAC & Freemasons Flying High
PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release
Freemasons will be flying high as their logo has been placed
on their local air ambulance in recognition of their support.
The Bristol Freemasons were one of the first groups to
support the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity when it was formed in 2008, and
continue to be a great supporter nine years on. To date they have donated an
GWAAC relies on the public to raise the £2.6million a year
needed to stay operational, and this money has helped to ensure the crew can
reach more people in need across the city.
To mark this support the Freemasons logo has been placed on
the helicopter, and representatives from the Bristol province visited the base
to hear more about the vital life-saving service.
In 2016 the crew attended 1,735 jobs, and of these 39.7%
were in Bristol.
Tim Brunton from Bristol Freemasons said: “We are proud to
see the Masonic Square and Compass on the side of the Great Western Air
Ambulance, which does a hugely important
job saving lives every day across Bristol and beyond.”
The Bristol Freemasons were joined by representatives from
the Gloucestershire and Somerset provinces, including GWAAC trustee and Freemason
Jonathan Skeeles, who was involved in forming GWAAC in 2008.
In total the three provinces have raised £130,584.35.
Chief Executive John Christensen said: “We have been blown
away by the generosity of the Freemasons, and wanted to do something to
recognise the huge contribution they have made to our charity. It seemed
fitting to have their logo placed on our helicopter, as this will be visible
wherever we go across the six counties we cover. I was delighted to be able to
meet representatives from the three provinces to thank them in person, and tell
them more about how their support has made a big difference to us.”
GWAAC receives no day to day funding from the Government or
National Lottery, and so support from organisations such as the Freemasons is
crucial in ensuring the charity can stay operational.
Notes for editors
1.GWAAC has been providing an air ambulance service for 2.1
million people across the counties of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset,
South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Wiltshire
for 8 years.
2. The GWAAC critical care team consists of a highly trained
and experienced Critical Care Paramedic and Doctor, who bring the skill and
expertise of an Accident and Emergency Department to the patient.
3. In 2016 the Critical Care Team attended 1,735 jobs: by
helicopter and by one of our critical care cars. It is estimated one in five
people who would otherwise die are saved by the actions of the GWAAC clinical
4. We need to raise £2.6million each year to stay operational,
but receive no day to day funding from the Government or National Lottery.