The first of a series of West Wales Provincial Zoom Evenings was held on Monday 5th October 2020. "An Evening with the Rulers" was open to all West Wales members and also all prospective candidates for initiation. Well over 100 brethren, representing nearly 10% of all West Wales Members were present for an enjoyable evening of questions to, and answers from the Provincial Executive and their team of officers.
The Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Tony Trumper welcomed all present to the evening and then passed control to the Provincial Membership Officer, W Bro Adrian Thomas, who introduced the Provincial Grand Master to give the opening address (reproduced in full below).
A relaxed, informal and lively question and answer session followed with questions being directed to various members of the Provincial team, who gave detailed and informative answers on subjects ranging from the current Coronavirus Pandemic, to what apron the Provincial Grand Master might wear if he were ever to compete in Masterchef!
The evening was organised by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Ryland James, with the assistance of W Bro Adrian Thomas. It was a great evening and enjoyed by all those present.
Next Event - Monday 19th October 2020 @ 7.00pm
The whole Province is looking forward to the next event which is an evening with Past Second Grand Principal, E Comp George Francis, where he will talk about the importance of the Royal Arch and his time as a High Ruler in Supreme Grand Chapter. The evening is open to all West Wales members and candidates for intitation as before.
The talk is suitable for all brethren and those who have not completed their journey in pure Antient Masonry by joining the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch will find it particularly interesting.
From the Provincial Grand Master
Firstly, I would like to thank you all for taking the time to be with us this evening. It is a great pleasure to see so many familiar faces online. I hope you have an enjoyable evening and please take the opportunity to ask any questions you have. In my experience if you’re thinking of a question, probably lots of other people are thinking the same thing too.
When we started the three-week lockdown on March 23rd, I don’t think anyone thought that we would still be facing severe restrictions at the end of September, but we must stay strong and continue to obey the government guidance, however fed up we are with the restrictions on our daily lives. I am mindful of the fact that we are going to have a question and answer session shortly, so I don’t want to steal anyone’s answers, including my own, but I do want to make it absolutely clear that masonic meetings are currently illegal throughout Wales. Freemasonry in Wales remains suspended and the guidance issued today by Grand Lodge only applies in the regions of England without local lockdowns.
I would like to pay tribute to everyone in the Province for all the hard work they have been putting in behind the scenes to support their brethren, companions, and masonic centres. You are a credit to your lodges, chapters, the Province, and freemasonry. I know that every masonic centre has been checked regularly and I thank W Bro Andrew Morgan for keeping in touch with the various building committees and sharing the vast amount of guidance which has been produced.
It is always a bit risky when you start thanking people for all their hard work, because invariably you miss someone out and you have to buy them a drink to say sorry. Brethren, the work of the Province has continued during the pandemic and I would like to thank all the Provincial Officers, collared and un-collared for their continuing support. As a Province we have supported many charitable causes in the last 6 months and this has been coordinated by the Provincial Charity Steward, W Bro Dirk den-Hartog with the help of the members of the Mackworth Club and other members of the Provincial Team.
The Provincial Treasurer, W Bro Mike Eckley has been looking after our finances and paying our bills in his usual efficient way, but I am especially grateful to him for finding a way to waive this year’s Provincial dues both in the Craft and the Royal Arch. We hope that this small windfall eases the pressure on lodges and chapters in West Wales.
I am also grateful to the Provincial Secretary, W Bro Tony Trumper for his ongoing hard work behind the scenes. W Bro Tony, I am grateful for all the work you keep off my desk. I know just how busy you are, apart from your freemasonry and we are extremely fortunate to have you as our Provincial Secretary.
There is one group within the Province who are especially worthy of all our thanks. They are W Bro John Watson, Provincial Grand Almoner, and his team of lodge Almoners for all the hard work they have been putting in, keeping in contact with the more vulnerable members of our organisation. It is important that we continue to stay in contact and support each other. Not only those who are in the vulnerable categories, but all brethren, their families, and the wider masonic community such as the widows. Brethren, we all have our part to play in this. Our lodge Almoners have been doing a huge amount of work during the crisis, but they need and deserve all our practical support.
Brethren, It is a great honour to serve the Province as Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, but I can say having completed my first 15 months in the roles that there is a huge difference between being Provincial Secretary and Provincial Grand Master. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my two deputies, VW Bro Lionel Hughes and E Comp David Rayson and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Ryland James. Brethren, I thank you most sincerely for your wise counsel over the last 15 months. I didn’t have any practice at being a Ruler before I became Provincial Grand Master and I thank you for the gentle way you have guided me through the transition.
Brethren, although we live in troubled times, I can assure you that the situation will improve, the lockdown will be lifted, and our lives will return to normal. Until that time arrives, we have each other, and we have Zoom to keep our spirits up. I have been enormously impressed with the efforts which have been made across the Province to take care of one another and I know that I can rely on all of you to keep yourselves and your brethren and companions safe and well.
In conclusion I would like to thank W Bro Ryland James, W Bro Adrian Thomas and their team for organising and hosting this evening’s event. I know from personal experience that a lot of work goes in behind the scenes even for a virtual event and we are all grateful for this opportunity to be together.
Brethren, I look forward to your questions and I hope you enjoy the evening.