The District Grand Master’s Address at the Annual Meeting 2016

I was very grateful for the support at this meeting last March, not only from our Surrey companions but those from other Districts near and far.

Changes in date as a result of Easter falling early this year and a clash with another meeting may have reduced numbers slightly this year. I am grateful to those who had to decide where to go and chose Croydon.

Our first two annual meetings have seen changes in Executive I now plan for some stability for a period.

Last April at the annual meeting of Grand Council we saw 8 Surrey Companions Invested or promoted. I have recently written to congratulate those members who will receive Grand Rank this year; they are listed in the Order Paper and I look forward to seeing them invested in just over two weeks on the 19th.

At that meeting Our Grand Master, Most Illustrious Companion J Alan Wright, will be retiring and his successor R Ill Comp Kessick Jones will be installed as Grand Master.

Our Grand Master has held this office with great distinction for eleven years and in that time the Order has grown not only in numbers but in prestige and has been led in new directions to the advantage of its members. I am sure this meeting will be very well attended.

My thanks to the District Executive for their support not only in visiting and supporting our own Councils but also in supporting other Districts at their annual meetings. We are always impressed by the welcome and friendliness of our fellow Cryptic Masons wherever we go.
The meeting of Weald of Surrey Council last July saw six Surrey Companions receive the Thrice Illustrious Master degree and their silver trowels. (Four Certificates presented to Ill Comps Mays, Bell-Right, Smith and Fitzgerald).

The distinguishing characteristic - As regards Charity we have two major Festivals currently in progress in Surrey – the Surrey Craft 2019 Festival in favour of the RMBI and the Surrey Mark 2022 Festival for the MBF.

As most of our members will be contributing heavily to these two major Festivals I did not want to add to the pressure. I did say that if Companions want some direction I would welcome any contribution in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. Since then we have been able to send over £4,000 to that worthy cause, £1,000 of that I have been able to allocate in my current role as Master of a Craft Lodge, but still over £3,000 from Cryptic Masons. I thank Ill Comp Steven Cann for his work liaising with the ladies at the Alzheimer’s Society, and the very generous donations from Surrey Companions.

We held two brand new District events in the past year. Our first ever District Golf Tournament in September was organised by our District Assistant Director of Ceremonies Ill Comp Simon McCarthy, not at the Royal & Ancient course but rather Royal & Select. This event raised £420 for the Charity. We also held a Charity Christmas dinner, which was very well supported. This was held at the prestigious County Club in Guildford and organised by our Deputy DGM Ill Comp Jack Love. This event raised a further £600 for the Charity. Both events were successful and will be held again in the year ahead.

I am concerned as no doubt we all are about over the past few years, sadly this reflects the situation generally we will be making every effort to reverse this trend in the years ahead.

We congratulate Companion Ian Chandler of Warlingham Council, currently holidaying in Bermuda, on being designated to succeed as Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for Surrey. I hope to arrange it so that I can present him with his Grand Council Certificate.

I thank you all sincerely for supporting this meeting in such good numbers and may God bless you all.

David J Blackburn
District Grand Master
2nd April 2016

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