May 2019

Worthy Knights, I'm so pleased to see so many familiar and happy people here today. 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 afternoon and evening with us today. I also extend a very warm welcome to the Worthy Knights of the East Midlands Division and take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued and loyal support. This is your meeting please do enjoy it. It is so pleasing to have a number of Heads of Orders here this afternoon, all of whom have very busy Masonic commitments and I thank them for their continued support. I'm delighted to have my two predecessors, R. Ill. Kt. Michael Roalfe and R. Ill. Kt. Max Bayes here as well: a very warm welcome to both of you. Thank you Max, for allowing us to hold our divisional meeting at Sheaf Close again this year.

Those who have helped in the organisation of today's meeting are too numerous to mention by name. Many of your efforts go largely unseen by the majority but are greatly appreciated and I extend a heart-felt thank you to you all.

P. Kt. Tim Barrett has worked very efficiently and tirelessly behind the scenes, thank you Tim for all your support. Please make sure that you thank your wife Karen for all her patience as well. Ill. Kt. Terry Roy has been an outstanding supporter in his role as Divisional Viceroy. My Deputy, V. Ill. Kt. Michael Robinson has been a tremendous supporter of the Order, and a very good ambassador for our Order.

I also thank my brother, Ill. Kt. Noel Manby as Divisional Marshal for his support, together with his Deputy, P. Kt. Tim Almond and Ill. Kt. John White, the Divisional Registrar, who have all escorted me on various Official Visits. Our outgoing Treasurer, Ill. Kt. David Smith has kept a very steady hand on the Division's finances. Thank you David: you are a great supporter and enthusiastic member of this Order and have served as Divisional Treasurer for eleven years.

I should also mention our Divisional Captain of the Sepulchre Guard, W. Kt. Stuart Morgan, and his team who travel around the Division and perform to such a high standard. Your presence and input is so appreciated by all and I thank each of you for your support.

During the year, V. Ill. Kt. Michael Robinson, P. 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 so genuine and very much appreciated. We thoroughly enjoy being in the company of friends and are made to feel so welcome and we consider ourselves extremely privileged.

Our statistics show that throughout the year, the Conclaves have installed seven new members as Worthy Knights. Welcome to W. Kts. Aaron Day, Nick Edwards, Colin Hurley, Fred Harris, Steve Burton, John Norton and Monty Katchick. There have been thirteen resignations and eight deaths: thus giving a net decrease of fourteen for the year. I know there are members of your Royal Arch Chapters throughout the Provinces of Leicestershire and Rutland, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire and Bedfordshire who would make very suitable members of this Order. Please make every effort to attract them, introduce them and nurture them in the Red Cross of Constantine. On each of your chairs were two RCC leaflets. We would like you to take these home with you and put them with your Royal Arch regalia, so that when you are at Chapter meetings they might act as a prompt for the recruitment of potential members.

The Conclaves within the Division have made Charity donations totalling £3,550 this year: a sum of which you can all feel justifiably proud. Following the sad deaths of Ill. Kt. Owen Parker, E. Kt. John Scotney and W. Kts. Ian Willis and Nick Miers earlier this year from oesophageal and stomach cancers our Alms collection today will be donated to Cancer Research: please give generously.

This year sees a change of the old guard: Ill. Kt. David Smith, who is a member of no less than seven Conclaves and takes an active role in each, has been for eleven years a dedicated Divisional Treasurer. The Division's finances are in first class order, largely thanks to his careful stewardship. He is Treasurer to the Northampton and Crux Rubra Conclaves and has held various senior offices in many Conclaves, having been a Founder Member of Conclaves both within the East Midlands Division and beyond. He is a regular and eager participant in the annual KHS ceremonies and I am sure will continue his involvement with the three Conclaves (and possibly a fourth one?) within this Division and the several in other Divisions with which he is prominently involved. Thank you David.

Ill. Kt. Noel Manby, the Divisional Marshal has asked to be relieved of his duties as he has other Masonic commitments to fulfil. Ill. Kt. David Buxton who has held the office of High Prelate since 2010 and who has been such a driving force for Durocobrivae Conclave over many difficult years is also taking a Divisional back seat. Thank you both for your sterling service and continued support.

During the year we have made two official team visits: an Enthronement at the Isle of Patmos Conclave in September at Loughborough and a visit to Dunstable in March. I thank those Divisional Officers who have given so much support throughout the year. We plan to continue with our team visits on a rotational basis and will make the dates and venues of these known at the earliest opportunity.

I am sure all those who attend gain valuable experience and have an enjoyable time. They 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 other Conclaves on the occasion of future team visits.

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. All appointments and promotions were given serious consideration and all have been thoroughly well deserved. I look forward to seeing you at your Conclaves throughout the year and I feel sure that you will promote the work of the Conclaves and the Order.

On Tuesday 2nd July, Grand Imperial Conclave will be held at Great Queen Street and I am sure this will be a splendid occasion. I'm so pleased that five of our members will be in attendance to receive a first appointment to Grand Rank. The allocation of Grand Rank appointments has been scaled back somewhat and this Division (as with others) will in future receive a slightly lower annual allocation than in the past. There is a feeling at Mark Masons, Hall that the award of a Grand Rank appointment needs to be more focussed on work, effort and support rather than on the basis of time since having been through the Sovereign's Chair.

Those who will be receiving their first appointment are: P. Kt. Tim Barrett of Northampton Conclave, who will be appointed as active Grand Standard Bearer Labarum; . P.Kt. Tim Almond of Northampton Conclave, who will be appointed to the active rank of Grand Herald. P. Kts. Rex Hazeldine of Isle of Patmos Conclave and Ian Hollis of Rushden Conclave will each receive a first appointment to Past Grand Prefect and P. Kt. James Boughton of Rushden Conclave, who unfortunately can't be with us today due to Royal Arch duties elsewhere, will receive a first appointment to Past Grand Warden of Regalia. I am sure you will all join me in congratulating each of them.

Our first Divisional Church Service was held on Sunday 28 th October at All Saints' Church, Stamford was preceded by a family Sunday lunch at the Stamford Masonic Hall and was attended by a capacity number. The Service was conducted by W. Kt. Rev'd Tony Avery (our new Divisional High Prelate) and it is planned for this event to alternate on a bi-ennial basis with the Sepulchre Guard Mess. The Guards Mess will be held on 28 th November at Stoke Bruerne and invitations will be issued to all present and past members of the Sepulchre Guard.

Having produced and issued the new East Midlands Division Marshal's Guidance, I am pleased to see that it is being read and applied: in some Conclaves, better than others. This guide will be re-issued to all Marshals and their Deputies within the Division soon after this Divisional meeting; together with an invitation to a training morning where various aspects and procedures of the ritual can be discussed and explained.

Our Red Cross of Constantine website continues to develop and I thank Ill. Kt. Malcolm Talbot sincerely for the work he has singlehandedly devoted to this task. I urge those of you who have not seen it to have a look and use it to your advantage in matters of recruitment and general Red Cross of Constantine knowledge.

Worthy Knights, I thank you all for your support and friendship and I ask you to remember the watchwords of our Order: Faith, Unity & Zeal.

May God bless you all.


Ill Kt Noel C Manby - Divisional Marshal, V Ill Kt Michael A Robinson - Deputy Intendant General,

Rt Ill Kt John Manby - Intendant General, Ill Kt Terry Roy - Divisional Viceroy, Ill Kt David Buxton - Divisional High Prelate