Address of the District Grand Prefect at the Annual General Meeting on Saturday 14th March 2020

Brethren, I know that you have been looking forward to this next Item. Earlier on I welcomed our Distinguished Guests, and I now again thank them all for the warmth of the welcome that I and my Deputy have received when we have visited their respective Districts. I have to confess that I have been a little lax in my visiting due solely to the fact that I have been double booked, I did not realise how many Allied District Meetings clashed with Mark Meetings, very surprising, and as I had already been booked to go to various Mark Meetings it meant that I missed out on some Allied ones. That will not happen again as most of you know that I will retire from my position as Mark PGM for North Wales in June this year. I can then put all my efforts into promoting the Allied Degree whenever and wherever I get the opportunity.

When I was Installed last March, I set myself some goals, we all do don’t we,some we achieve some we don’t.We have been successful in redesigning our Website here in Cheshire and North Wales, I formally Launch the site today and thank W. Bro. Geoff. Roberts and his son Paul for all the hard work that they have done in designing the site,when you visit it you will agree no doubt that it is an improvement on the old one, much more vibrant with more informative

Let me at this point congratulate those members of this District who receive First Appointments or Promotions at Grand Council last October, First Appointments to W. Bro. David John Smith to Past Grand Standard Bearer, Leslie Norman Bale to Past Grand Inner Guard, Promotions to Eric Knowles to PGReg, Stanley Herbert Griffiths and Glyn Hughes to PGJD.

I want to thank those District Officers who accompanied me on our three District Team visits this year, there will be three more next year including a rather special one in April when we will celebrate the Centenary of Commemoration Council in the presence of the Grand Master, M.W.Bro. Tom Jackson. We had our first District Team dinner at Maesgwyn Hall in Wrexham, next year this will be organised by the District Wardens and I really do want as close to a 100% turnout as possible Brethren.We saw the District Officers Appointed earlier on and they were Invested with their new District Collarettes, we held a Sponsored Walk in October to raise the cash to purchase the Collarettes and I thank those who attended and took part in the walk, my wife came along, the Past District Grand Prefect turned up along with the District Deputy Grand Prefect, both of them 10 minutes late so we set off without them!!

One of my other targets is to increase our reserves so that if we need items of regalia in the future I will not have to walk 5 miles to raise the money to purchase them, this is in hand and we will see the fruits of our efforts in the build-up of our reserves over the next few years. Fees of Honour have increased, District Summons’ now go out by email thereby reducing Postage and Admin costs, brethren we must move with the times. It was nice wasn’t it to get a hard copy Summons sent through the post to every Brother, but it costs Brethren so we all must accept that documents must be sent out electronically.

The membership of the District has gone down this year, that is a concern but not as much of a concern as the fact that Admissions to the Order are falling, there are some Councils which have not had a new Candidate for over 4 years, now that is not on Brethren. If you are not getting candidates then ask yourselves why, is it the place where you meet, is it the costs or is it something else. I am always prepared to help but you must also help yourselves.

As I said earlier Brethren, I was wearing two hats for this first year of my tenure, I now have only the one hat, that of District Grand Prefect, that should be good news for me, good news for my wife and good news for you all as you will have my undivided attention during the coming year. So, lets looks at the positives, we have a new Website, we have District Collarettes, we are building up our reserves, Our District By Laws have been updated. I could not do this on my own and I thank the Executive, particularly our District Secretary, W. Bro, Brian Williams, our District DC, W. Bro. Geoff Roberts and a new District Executive Officer who has really come to the forefront and assisted us greatly by taking on the Office of District Treasurer, W. Bro. John Aslett, who has taken on the Office of Treasurer after the very sad passing of R.W.Bro. Ken Thompson.

So what of the coming year, well we need some Candidates Brethren, I have involved myself in attracting some new Candidates for Condate and today I passed four Registration forms to the secretary of that Council, they will probably be Admitted in June. We also need to continue to raise the profile of the Allied Degree within the membership, Mark Masons Hall have stated on several occasions that we should be proud to be members of these Progressive Orders, we have in the past been a little shy, calling ourselves ‘side orders’, well Brethren we are not side orders, we are Brethren who have progressed their knowledge of Freemasonry and we should be proud of that so, no more talk of side orders, wear your Grid Iron Lapel pin with pride and let’s make it known who we are and what we do.

It has been an interesting first year, we have looked at the Website, the District Officers, the Finances and new District By-Laws. This coming year I will be putting all my efforts in assisting you to bring new members into our Order, together we can make it happen Brethren.

Brethren I thank you all for your support today, I do hope that you have enjoyed the meeting and will enjoy the Festive Board, may the Great Disposer have you in his safe keeping until we meet again next year.