The District Grand Master addressed District Grand Lodge

This is my fourth annual address I am very grateful for your support at this and previous annual meetings, not only from our Surrey companions but those from other Districts near and far.

Our first two annual meetings saw changes in Executive the next two have seen a degree of stability so I simply say next year could be interesting.

New Grand Ranks this year are listed in the Order Paper I congratulate the recipients and look forward to seeing them invested in just over three weeks on the 18th April.

I also congratulate today’s recipients of District Grand Rank and trust that they enjoy the year ahead.

My thanks to the District Executive and District Officers during the past year for their support not only in visiting and supporting our own Councils but also in supporting other Districts at their annual meetings. Special mention of Ill Comp Alan Boniface who came as far as Kings Lynn with me. We are always impressed by the welcome and friendliness of our fellow Cryptic Masons wherever we go.

The meeting of Weald of Surrey Council in July saw three Surrey Companions receive the Thrice Illustrious Master degree and their silver trowels, our District Grand Chaplain, Ill Comp. Leslie Grout, took the part of King David doing a fantastic job.

Charity I need not here dilate on its excellences...

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 £4900 to that worthy cause. I thank Ill Comp Steven Cann for his excellent work liaising with the ladies at the Alzheimer’s Society, and the very generous donations from Surrey Companions.

Some of the money was raised through our annual Charity Cryptic Christmas dinner, which was very well supported, and was held at the prestigious County Club in Guildford and organised by our Deputy DGM Ill Comp Jack Love. Our District Assistant Director of Ceremonies Ill Comp Simon McCarthy, has organised Charity sporting events to raise further amounts, I thank them both for their superb efforts.

Relations with Craft and Royal Arch in Surrey have seen a step change. In May R W Bro Ian Chandler was Installed as Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, he is involved with the other Orders. I was very pleased in November to attend Warlingham Council to present him with his Grand Council Certificate. We have shown this on our website and I look forward to seeing this featured in the next issue of the Craft Magazine, ‘Surrey Mason’.

Last Saturday saw the Annual Mark Meeting presided over by R W Bro Ian Clark, a very successful meeting, congratulations to you and all involved.

I feel that we should demonstrate our support for the two Festivals taking place in Surrey and I now present two vouchers prepared by our District Treasurer for the Craft and Mark PGMs in support of their respective Festivals (Each for £1000). Comp Dist DC please escort Comps Ian Chandler and Ian Clark to me …. (I then presented the vouchers and each Companion replied with thanks).

The holy grail of recruitment is always at the forefront of our minds and friendly relations between all Orders of Masonry is very desirable we are all in the same boat, Cryptic Councils particularly rely on the success of Craft, Mark and Royal Arch to provide us with our potential recruits, we in turn support our Masonic Halls and enable Masons to complete their Solomonic journey. We have had our information leaflet updated and they will be made available at the Festive Board for information and to each Council.

Companions, I have heard it said that being in the Craft without being a member of the Royal Arch is like going to a four Act play and leaving after three Acts, well Companions my play has Eleven Acts and I would ask you to recommend the complete works to any potential members. Running with this analogy William Shakespeare completed 38 Plays so there is a lifetime of entertainment available to the enquiring mason.

I think we are all starting to think of refreshment after labour - I thank you all sincerely for supporting this meeting in such good numbers and may the Supreme Master of the Universe bless you all.

R.Ill.Comp. David J. Blackburn
District Grand Master

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