The annual meeting of Warwickshire District Royal & Select Masters took place on Saturday 5th November, launched with a symbolic bang on Bonfire Night by our District Grand Master R Ill Comp Peter Wellings. A very well-attended meeting welcomed eleven District Grand Masters and members of seventeen Districts to the Rugby Masonic Hall, to be refreshed with coffee and bacon baps.
After a eulogy to our late Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and to our departed Companions, the meeting continued with the DGM’s welcome to the distinguished guests and regular District business. The
re-appointment followed of the Deputy District Grand Master, Ill Comp Paul Harrison and the District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, Ill Comp Chris Rogers. Newly appointed and re-appointed Officers and promotions were then announced and invested. A number of Silver trowel certificates were also presented to recently qualified Companions.
In his address to the meeting, the District Grand Master explained that he had enjoyed his first year in office immensely, with visits to numerous Districts across the country. He again thanked those who had come from far and wide to support him. He explained how pleased he was with his team of Officers, not only for their support on so many occasions, but for the setting up of the District Support Team, the Ambassador Recruitment Scheme, the District Relief Chest and other initiatives including our District Grand Lecturer’s creation of presentations for Councils.
He also mentioned the District website, which is being filled with articles as and when Councils meet. The District Grand Master’s address in full can be accessed here.
Then for something completely different. The District Grand Director of Ceremonies, Ill Comp Peter Stokes, stepped forward to set up a demonstration of the Super Excellent Ceremony, as interpreted by Warwickshire District.
With Peter Stokes acting as Gedaliah, recently admitted Comp Keith Watkins entered as the Candidate, conducted by Captain of the Guard, Ill Comp Neil Watkin.
At the point in the ceremony where a circle is formed, twelve selected members came forward to prearranged positions, and ultimately formed a square around the Ark of the Covenant. When the names of the twelve tribes were recited, each of the Companions carefully displayed a concealed banner for each of the twelve tribes forming the sides of the square, which are presented for the Candidate to view. Once the triangle is formed, the banners are again concealed. The ceremony was completed with the traditional address of the degree, presented immaculately by Ill Comp Paul Mason, TIM of Edgbaston Council 285.
This was an unexpected addition to the annual meeting, and was greatly appreciated by all present. The DGM thanked all concerned with the demonstration, and made special mention of the efforts of those who had arranged the meeting and the after proceedings.
District Meeting closed, the retirement procession commences.
The collection at the meeting realised £466.50 to which gift aid will be added, for the benefit of the Warwickshire 2023 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
This concluded the meeting, and after the formal closing, and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem, the assembled gathering retired to a splendid festive board in the spacious Rugby dining room. The meeting finished on time, and all departed for home after a very happy gathering.
To the left, R Ill Comp Richard Wallis, with Paul Harrison, DepDGM, Peter Wellings, DGM, and Chris Rogers, DPCW.
Next year’s Annual District Meeting will take place on Saturday 4th November 2023, and the traditional District Sunday Lunch will be held on 24th September 2023.
Article by Ill Comp John Hayward
Photographs by Comp David Leask