East Kent Provincial 2012 News

Provincial Officers' Mess (October)

Winter Gardens, Margate on Thursday the 18th October 2012

 295 members of the Provincial Officers’ Mess were in attendance.

Before and after the excellent lunch David Kershaw, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal (Royal Arch), said grace following which toasts to Her Majesty the Queen and to the Grand Master were proposed by the President of the Mess, RWBro Geoffrey Dearing.

Moving seamlessly through the agenda, the President welcomed the assembled company on what he rightly called ‘a beautiful, sunny day' and thanked the members for their support.

Apologies

Amongst others, apologies were received, from John Bonomy, Michael Bailey, Trevor Climpson, Peter Brooshooft, Reg Walter, Wayne Smith, Derry Clements and Michael Gee. 

Mess Accounts

The President thanked the Mess Treasurer, John Cooper, for his hard and diligent work and invited him to comment on the accounts.  

The Treasurer explained that the caterers’ dining charge had increased after the application form to attend the March meeting had been dispatched. This meant that a small loss would have been incurred on each lunch. However, the attendance of 110 more members than expected had increased the loss. This was seen as an isolated situation and the strength of the reserves would resolve the situation in the current financial year.

Malcolm Brooks sought clarification regarding the Management Charge. The Treasurer explained that these reflected the considerable administrative costs of operating the Mess.

The Accounts were then adopted.

Elections

John Cooper and Peter Hagger were unanimously re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary of the Mess.

The President’s Address

The President began by emphasising that he considered it a privilege and honour to lead our successful Province.  

 

  • The Library and Museum had reopened in September and received good press coverage.  It had been described as 'little known' and this was a challenge to everyone to encourage visits by brethren and the public to this excellent, free, facility. At the opening there had been notable representation from the United Grand Lodge of England Library and Museum and from Canterbury, including The Lord Mayor, representatives from the Cathedral (with whom we have good relations) and the Member of Parliament, Julian Brazier. The President thanked in particular Andy Notley and all those whose efforts had helped to achieve the result which fully justified the many compliments received. He added that the footfall on the first weekend was equivalent to two months' attendance before the refurbishment. The Patrons’ scheme had already attracted a most encouraging 140 members which, it is hoped, will be increased.

 

  • Only 8% of masons are under 40 years of age and 8% are over 80.  The need to encourage younger members is manifest and better communication with the public is essential. There is now a Mobile Masonic Display Unit which was used for the first time to promote Freemasonry at the Sheerness fête.

 

  • The importance of retention of current members was emphasized. The ambition is to reverse the trend towards a net loss of members by the tri-centenary anniversary of modern masonry in 2017. In the year to March 2011 the Province suffered a net loss of 386 members but last year that figure was down to 170. However, over the last five years there had been a net loss of 30%. By engaging with members considering resignation, 25% reconsidered, including those changing their lodge membership. Members had supported 17 events and lodge open days, which have created significant public interest and encouraged membership.

 

  • The Province has already raised 75% of our £30,000 target for the Royal Arch appeal for £1 million to support research projects for the Royal College of Surgeons.

 

  • £2.5m towards the £3m target for the 2014 Festival has been raised. £9,400 came from the Garden Party and £24,500 from the 2011/2 Stewards Summer Ball. The President expressed his gratitude and confidence in the expected outcome, encouraging all to 'keep up the good work!'

 

  • The Provincial Grand Master’s charity awards would be made at the Pilgrims’ Hospice, Ashford, on 27th October. This would be attended by the local MP and current Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green.

 

  • The Provinces three charities will soon be merged. This would facilitate disaster funding and support for charitable purposes within the Province, both Masonic and non-Masonic.

The President ended his update by expressing his gratitude and thanks for all support given.

There were no additional questions or any other business for the Mess.

The date of the next Mess meeting was confirmed as Wednesday 20th March 2013 at the same time and venue and the President looked forward to a strong attendance.

Proceedings were brought to a close with a vote of thanks proposed by Phillip South.