Not Goodbye - Merely Au Revoir

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On Friday 13th December 2013, at the Guildford Masonic Centre, Weyside Council played host to the R.Ill. District Grand Master, R.Ill.Comp. Arnold Long, on the occasion of his LAST Official Visit as DGM prior to his retirement on 31st January 2014.

During the course of his final year in Office, Arnold has made a point of visiting each and every one of the Councils in his District in order both to say an Official ‘Goodbye’, and also to thank the Companions in those Councils for their support during his 8-year period as District Grand Master.

On this occasion, being his last such Visit, he was absolutely delighted to note that each and every one of his Councils was represented – each Council wanting to take advantage of a final opportunity to reciprocate, not by saying ‘Goodbye’, but rather Au Revoir, to HIM, and to thank him for the style, manner and unqualified success of his Leadership.

The Assembly itself was notable for two fine Ceremonies – those of Select Master and Royal Master – the fortunate newly-Chosen Companion being a certain Don Craig, who will probably have to wait some little while before again experiencing such a well attended Crytic Meeting!

Despite wishing to retire from the Council after the Second Rising, the District Grand Master was obliged to stay until the Closing (such is the fickle and rapidly waning power of ‘Authority’!), in order to endure one final harangue from his Deputy, Ill.Comp. Trevor Currans – although, on this occasion, Trevor was uncharacteristically kind in his remarks! – and to receive a cheque for £500, that being the District’s way of saying ‘Than You’ to both Arnold, and his long-suffering Wife, Barbara for their devotion to the Surrey Cryptic Cause over so many years.

When eventually ‘allowed’ to depart from the Council, the DGM – escorted by his Sword Bearer and Standard Bearer – processed out between two Columns, one each in the North and South, which were formed by ALL the Companions and who showed their appreciation with rapturous applause.

At the commencement of the Festive Board, Arnold was also presented with a personalised napkin, bearing an embroidered representation of the District’s Emblem, courtesy of Ill.Comp. Graham Rawlinson’s Wife.

In the course of his final Address as an Official Visitor, in his response to his Toast at the Festive Board, Arnold expressed his grateful (and stunned) appreciation of the remarkable achievements of the District in respect of Charitable Giving during his tenure and, as one final parting gesture, The District Grand Master made known formally, officially and publically for the first time, the name of his Successor, who would be Installed as DGM by The Grand Master and his Team on Saturday the 29th March 2014 at the Croydon & District Masonic Hall, Oakfield Road, in a combined District and Installation meeting, namely Ill.Comp. DAVID BLACKBURN.

David – it is a somewhat trite cliché to observe that the proceedings at this Weyside Assembly were clear evidence that you have “a very hard act to follow”! Nevertheless, the Companions of this District of Surrey look forward to your picking up the reins, and directing us with every bit as much success and happiness as has been enjoyed by Arnold.

"Rex mortuus est, vivat Rex"!

But Arnold – THANK YOU; you won’t be forgotten; and it is NOT ‘Goodbye’, merely Au Revoir.



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