The Annual Assembly of Grand Council

Freemasons' Hall, London, on Tuesday 16th April 2022 for the Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters.

This was the first of the Grand meetings to be hit by the Covid Lockdown in 2020 so it has been three years since we were last all together and the typical warm, fraternal comradery among Companions was a pleasure to see.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council In opening the meeting, the Grand Master asked that we reflect for a moment on the last two years. For many of us, the experiences and uncertainty brought about by the various forms of the pandemic probably have been the worst we have ever undergone. Many will have been touched in some way, by personal suffering, the loss of loved ones, isolation, and hardship, both physical and financial. He extended his heartfelt sympathy to all who have so suffered.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council The meeting continued with the Grand Master being proposed for re-election. This was met with acclamation. In thanking the Companions for their continued support, the Grand Master acknowledged the hard work and loyalty of his Deputy Grand Master, R.Ill.Comp. His Hon. Ian Douglas Gavin Alexander, QC, and, especially, his Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, R.Ill.Comp. Richard Ludwik Gan, JP, who was retiring from Office at that meeting after four years in post.

Following the re-appointment of the Deputy Grand Master, the Grand Master announced the appointment Paul Anthony Norman as Grand Principal Conductor of the Work. He thanked Paul for his eleven years’ service as Grand Director of Ceremonies, teasing him that, although this was a record, two of those years were during Covid, so it was really only nine.

The ceremony of the Installation of the new Grand Principal Conductor of the Work was carried out in splendid fashion by the Grand Master, ably assisted by V.Ill.Comp. Graham Seeman, who would later be invested as the Grand Director of Ceremonies, filling the vacancy left by R.Ill.Comp. Norman's promotion.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council The Active Grand Officers, and recipients of First Appointments and Promotions were then invested. Our District Grand Master congratulated the Surrey recipients of Grand Rank and those promoted in Grand Rank. Ill.Comp. Stephen Hall, promoted to Past Grand Captain of the Guard; Ill.Comp. David Thompson, promoted to Past Grand Conductor of the Council; and Ill.Comp. Chris Eley, on his first appointment to Past Grand Sword Bearer.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council The remaining business was transacted, before the Grand Master gave his address He congratulated all recipients on their well-earned Ranks, and thanked all the Companions for their support of the meeting and the Order, charging us to continue the work of ensuring its future health, strength, and development.

Further tributes were then paid to his 'team', primarily the Deputy Grand Master and the incoming and outgoing G.P.C.W., followed by a run-down of a packed calendar of events in the post-lockdown era thus far. The Grand Master went on to congratulate the District Grand Masters and Grand Inspectors in their industry in keeping their Council's motivated during Covid, and now inspiring Companions to return to meetings.

The Grand Master also revealed plans for the celebration of the Sesquicentenary (150th Anniversary) of Grand Council next year. To mark this important milestone for the Order, a special meeting will be held at Freemasons' Hall, London, on Tuesday, 3 October 2023. Having greeted the distinguished visitors and Past Rulers of the Order, the Grand Master concluded his address, before closing the meeting.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council We then went across to The George for refreshments…

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council …before sitting down to a most convivial meal at the Grand Connaught Rooms.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council We then ended a most enjoyable day with more refreshments over the road.

The Annual Meeting of District Grand Council Click here to see all the photos taken at the Annual Meeting of District Grand Council

Article by Dan Heath and Chris Eley, photos by Bob Tuthill and Chris Eley

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Royal and Select Masters District of Surrey
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