May 2017

Worthy Knights, I am delighted to address you this afternoon and I can assure you I consider my office as Intendant-General of the East Midlands Division a great honour and privilege. I so enjoy meeting our members at each of the Conclaves within the Division. Earlier, I had the great pleasure of introducing our visitors from other Divisions and I now formally welcome them and wish them a very enjoyable day with us. I also extend a sincere welcome to all the Worthy Knights of the East Midlands Division, especially recently installed members: you are most welcome, and I take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued loyal support. It is pleasing to have so many Heads and Deputies of Orders here this afternoon, all of whom have very busy Masonic commitments and I thank them for their continued support. It will be a great pleasure to welcome non-members of the Order, E. Comp. Tony Henderson, MEGS of Bedfordshire (the well-known television star: not the only one here today!) and his Deputy, E. Comp. Nick Edwards at our festive board later: please make them feel welcome and encourage their future membership of the Order. I am also pleased to see my predecessor, R. Ill. Kt. Max Bayes here this evening along with his predecessor, R. Ill. Kt. Michael Roalfe: a very warm welcome to both of you.

This year has been greatly saddened by the untimely death of Ill. Kt. Ken Newbold, who died in December after a relatively short illness. As Divisional Recorder, he contributed so much to the Division and will be sorely missed by all those members of the Order who had the great fortune to have known Ken. I would like to thank last year's Divisional team for their support and good council. Those who have helped in the organisation of today's meeting are too numerous to mention by name, but I extend a heart-felt thank you to you all. My Deputy, V. Ill. Kt. Peter Dawson has again been a source of wisdom and good guidance throughout the year. E. Kt. Tim Barrett, our newly appointed Divisional Recorder has had a very steep learning curve and has worked very efficiently behind the scenes, with the able support and guidance of Peter (a former Divisional Treasurer and Divisional Recorder). Our Treasurer Ill. Kt. David Smith has kept a steady hand on the Division's finances; for which we are all grateful and Ill. Kt. Mark Bigam has been a great supporter in his role as Divisional Viceroy. I thank my brother, the Divisional Marshal, Ill. Kt. Noel Manby and the Deputy Divisional Marshal P. Kt. Tim Almond, together with P. Kt. John White who have each escorted Peter and me on our various Official Visits.

It would be extremely remiss of me not to thank the members of the Sepulchre Guard who travel around the Division and give so much support at such a high standard. I would like to make mention of our Captain, W. Kt. John Scotney, who as many of you will know has had to stand down due to ill health. I saw John recently and I am sure you will all join me in wishing him well. W. Kt. Stuart Morgan took over as Captain and has now been appointed officially - thank you for all your help and support Stuart.

During the past year, V.Ill. Kt. Peter Dawson; E. Kt. Tim Barrett and I have had the great privilege of visiting many other Divisions at their Annual Meetings. The hospitality and Christian fellowship extended at those meetings is genuine and very much appreciated. We thoroughly enjoy being in the company of friends; we are made to feel very welcome and consider ourselves extremely privileged to do so.

Our statistics show that throughout the year, the various Conclaves have installed eleven new members as Worthy Knights together with one joining member. The KHS Ceremony was held at Leicester in January when twelve Worthy Knights received their Appendant Orders in a very well worked Ceremony. Unfortunately, deaths and resignations have meant that the overall gain in members of the Order within the Division has been three.

I now take this opportunity to congratulate those Officers who have either received a first appointment to Divisional rank today or have received a promotion. Being able to appoint or promote well deserving Knights in this Divisional Conclave is one of the great privileges and joys of my position. I look forward to seeing you at your Conclaves throughout the year and I feel confident that you will promote the work of the Conclaves and the Order.

During the year we have made two official team visits. I am sure all those who attended gained valuable experience and had an enjoyable time. These visits afford tremendous opportunities to meet members from other Conclaves to discuss procedures and cement friendships. I look forward to good support from the new Divisional Officers together with Sovereigns, Viceroys, Generals and Marshals of the Conclaves on the occasion of future team visits; the dates of which will be circulated well in advance.

On the 4 th July, Grand Imperial Conclave will be held at Great Queen Street, London. I am sure this will be a splendid occasion and am thrilled that several of our members will be in attendance to receive either a promotion or first appointment to Grand Rank. They are: Ill. Kt. Barry Percival of the Isle of Patmos Conclave, who will be promoted to Past Grand Standard Bearer Constantine and Ill. Kt. Ray Lapworth of Byzantine Conclave, who will be promoted to Past Grand Standard Bearer Labarum. P. Kt. John White of Northampton Conclave and P. Kt. Keith Stevens of Durocobrivae Conclave (and a member of the Grand Sepulchre Guard), will each receive a first appointment to Past Grand Prefect and P. Kt. Ernest Sharpe of Isle of Patmos and Burton Lazars Conclaves will receive a first appointment to Past Grand Vice Chamberlain. A recently joined member from Hampshire and the Isle of Whight, Ill. Kt. Jim Stott of the Rushden Conclave, will be receiving a promotion to the rank of Past Grand Chamberlain. Worthy Knights, please join me in congratulating each of them on their well-deserved preferment.

Earlier in the ceremony I welcomed V. Ill. Kt. Fred Hargreaves who gave a brief outline of the Battle Back Charity. The Battle Back Centre is an Army-led Centre that is funded and delivered by The Royal British Legion. It provides sports and adventurous activities for wounded, injured and sick Service people from across the Armed Forces: which has resulted in Olympic qualifications and medals for many of their graduates. Led by world-class coaching staff, its activities are challenging, but safe and enjoyable. They include climbing, water-sports, caving, wheelchair basketball, clay shooting and archery. All their activities build camaraderie with others going through similar challenges. There is high quality residential accommodation for 24 people at a time, with 16 rooms fully equipped for those who need wheelchair access or have other requirements.

The West Midlands Division has been supporting Battle Back and will be holding a Gala Charity Dinner on 8 th September. It would be fitting for the East Midlands Division to support this very worthwhile cause and I respectfully request that a silent Alms collection is made: the proceeds of which will be donated in recognition of those who have sacrificed so much for the benefit of others.

The Conclaves within the Division have made donations to the Grand Sovereign's Care for Children Fund of well in excess of £1,000 already this year. Nationally, the fund has collected over £42,000 which, after careful consideration has been partially distributed to various children's' charities. The Divisional Treasurer has pointed out to me that at the end of February this year, the individual Almoner/Charity accounts of Conclaves within the Division held a combined sum of over £3,000, which is an increase from the previous year. I urge you to ponder the fact that this amount of money is not helping any cause by being held in a low interest rate account. Please consider seriously, where these charitable donations could be put to best use. The Grand Sovereign's Care for Children Fund has not closed and any further donations would be welcomed.

We are making plans to hold a Red Cross of Constantine Church Service and lunch later this year (probably in late October, to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which took place on 28 th October 312 AD). It will be open to members, family and friends and the service will be conducted by W. Kt. Tony Avery. When plans have been finalised, details will be circulated to all members. Please try to support this initiative.

I understand that the Divisional Sepulchre Guard Mess evening is to be reinstated after a break of some six years and will be held at the end of November. All present and past members of the Guard will receive an invitation to what should be a very enjoyable and memorable evening.

A number of other Divisions have introduced a dedicated website for informing members and potential members of the Order. If you are aware of any Worthy Knight who has the skill and would be able to assist in the development of a website for the East Midlands Division, please liaise with either, the Divisional Recorder, your Conclave Recorder, V. Ill Kt. Peter Dawson, or me.

Worthy Knights, I thank you all for your support and friendship. Shortly you will hear the precepts of our Order: if you believe in them, go out and live them in the world. May God bless you all, thank you for attending today, and may brotherly love prevail.