The annual meeting of Warwickshire District Royal & Select Masters took place on Saturday 4th November at Arnold House, the Rugby Masonic Centre. Although it was a very wet day outside, our District Grand Master R Ill Comp Peter Wellings made sure the atmosphere was warm and friendly during the meeting and at the Festive Board.
The meeting was honoured by the presence of R Ill Comp Paul Norman, the Grand Principal Conductor of the Work. During the meeting, R Ill Comp Norman addressed all present, and explained the intention behind the Sesquicentenary Appeal, which aims to raise at least £150,000 during the celebratory year. He encouraged all members to support the appeal and to spread the word of the importance of this very special Order.
A well attended meeting welcomed nineteen present and past District Grand Masters and members of twenty two Districts to the Rugby Masonic Hall, together with members of every Warwickshire Council.
During the meeting, Ill Comp Peter Stokes, who had served five years as District Grand Director of Ceremonies, was invested as District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work. Pictured below are the District Grand Master, R Ill Comp Peter Wellings, with Ill Comp Paul Harrison, Deputy District Grand Master, and on the right, Ill Comp Peter Stokes, District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work.
Following the entrance of the Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, R Ill Comp Paul Norman, the meeting continued with the District Grand Master welcoming the distinguished guests and heads of other Orders to the meeting. This was a prolonged introduction as there were a large number of both in attendance, despite other events which were taking place on the same day.
Regular annual business dealt with, the Deputy District Grand Master, Ill Comp Paul Harrison was reappointed, and Ill Comp Peter Stokes was invested as Principal Conductor of the Work. Newly appointed and re-appointed Officers and promotions were then announced and invested. A Silver Trowel certificate was presented to Ill Comp Tony Cheesman.
In his address to the meeting, the District Grand Master explained that he had enjoyed a further happy year, and had continued with visits to numerous Districts across the country, and of course to the Councils in the District on many occasions. He again thanked those who had come from far and wide to support him at this meeting.
He explained how pleased he was with his team of Officers, not only for their support on so many occasions, but for the continued success of the District Support Team, the District Relief Chest and other initiatives including our District Grand Lecturer’s continuing development of presentations for Councils. The DGM paid special tribute to Ill Comp Chris Rogers, who had retired as Principal Conductor of the Work at the meeting, for his setting up of the Ambassador Recruitment Scheme, and was pleased to announce that he would continue with this initiative. Chris was appointed as the unofficial Membership Officer to continue this valuable work. The District Grand Master was also pleased to observe that the District website continued to be developed and articles posted to mark significant events.
The retiring District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, Ill Comp Chris Rogers.
The meeting is just about to start with the entrance of the District Grand Master and his Officers due to commence. Please note the magnificent Rugby organ, being expertly played by the District Grand Organist. Comp James Haughton.
Following the meeting, a very pleasant lunch ensued, at which the District Grand Master proposed the toast to the Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, and following his response, R Ill Comp Paul Norman proposed a toast to the District Grand Master and the District of Warwickshire. He thanked all concerned for a very efficient and enjoyable meeting, and encouraged all present to continue to promote the Order, and to enjoy our very special hobby.
The Grand Principal Conductor of the Work and the District Grand Master take wine with the assembled gathering.
The Grand Principal Conductor of the Work replies to his toast, escorted by Ill Comp Paul Hutchinson, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
The collection at the meeting realised £485 to which gift aid will be added, for the benefit of the Sesquicentenary Appeal.
Next year’s Annual District Meeting will take place on Saturday 2nd November 2024, and the traditional District Sunday Lunch will be held on 22nd September 2024.
Article by Ill Comp John Hayward
Photographs by Comps Andy Davis and Hardip Ubhi