The Division of Hampshire and Isle of Wight


2010 Address to Divisional Grand Conclave

Saturday, 26th June 2010

Worthy Knights, I rise for the eighteenth time to address some remarks to you as the Intendant-General for this Division. I am very pleased to welcome you here today and see a very good representation from all of the Conclaves including the majority of the Conclave Sovereigns - and 21 visitors from other Divisions. At the last count, there were 102 in all.

Grand Imperial Conclave will be held this year at Birmingham on Tuesday 6th July. At this meeting, P.Kts. Terry Bruty and Graham Roberts are to be appointed Past Grand Prefect and P.Kt Jim Stott, Past Grand Warden of Regalia. In addition, in recognition of their continued service as Grand Officers, Ill.Kt. Alan Hamilton is to be promoted to Grand High Almoner (V. Ill.Kt), V.Ill.Kt. Frank Evans to Past Grand Junior General, Ill.Kt. John Makin to Past Grand High Almoner (V.Ill.Kt), Ill.Kt. Roger Bricknell to Past Grand Standard Bearer (Constantine), and Ill.Kt. Larry Peer to Past Grand Standard Bearer (Labarum).

We congratulate all these Worthy Knights on their preferment.

It has been another busy and, generally, happy year in the Division, the strength of which was 258 at the end of August last year and will show an increase this year. The Executive of the Division is well aware of difficulties within some Conclaves through lack of candidates - let us all hope that 2010/2011 will be better for them.

The standard of ritual is, on the whole, high/very good, and I once again take the opportunity to stress that in THIS Division, where there is a choice of English or Latin in the rituals, then English is preferred. Please will all Conclave Marshals note this policy and ask for clarification from the Divisional Marshal if in doubt.

The attendance at the GPC Meeting in March was excellent, and much constructive discussion took place. I am especially anxious to be notified, through the Divisional Recorder, please, when any member of the Division dies. We would rather be told 20 times than not at all! Also will Recorders please ensure that all information sent to you from the Divisional Recorder is passed to members of Conclaves, especially when booking in is required!

I am very pleased that all bar one Conclave have adopted the new Logo of the Order on their paperwork and would like to think that before long it too will have done so, thus demonstrating a United Division. I am sure that by now you will all be aware that St Peter & St Paul Conclave now meets here at Botley, thus creating a RCC presence in another centre. This qualified me for inclusion in the "rogues gallery" in the ante-room!

I officially visited all of the Conclaves, with the Divisional Team, once in the past year and I was pleased to renew past acquaintances and meet the new Knights. I am always saddened, however, when appointed officers are absent from their duties and substitutes have to be arranged. Wherever the Divisional Team went, we were entertained with warmth and friendship and I am most appreciative of the support given to me by the Grand and Divisional Officers, Sovereigns and Past Sovereigns of Conclaves and members of the Divisional Guard.

At dinner following the Visit to Naval & Military Conclave, the newly installed Knight addressed me as " Independent-General"- out of the mouths.....!! The visit to St Boniface last month was especially memorable and not only for the brevity of the ceremony- 2 candidates installed and all business completed within 90 minutes! The dates of the visits for 2010/2011 are as shown on page 11 of todays' Agenda: please note them in your diaries.

The triumvirate visited 10 other Divisions during the year and enjoyed ourselves immensely wherever we went and the Deputy and Recorder went to others when I was unable to attend. We even let the Deputy go to Hertfordshire on his own whilst I went to South Wales! We are pleased today to be able to reciprocate some of the hospitality extended to us on those occasions and to welcome back so many visitors from other Divisions.

It has also been an honour for me to be invited to represent the Red Cross of Constantine at the Annual Meetings of other Orders within the Provinces, which has happened on several occasions. I also attended a meeting of the Wiltshire Installed Masters Lodge with the Divisional Recorder and P.Kt. Malcolm Lloyd last August and gave a short presentation on the RCC. At the Festive Board following the meeting I was presented with a cheque for £100 which was sent to the Millennium Fund.

Thank you to all those 160 or so who supported Evensong in Amesbury Abbey Church in April. We had a wonderful Service, which was conducted by the Vicar assisted by the Divisional High Prelate, who also delivered the Address. The collection of £289.00, after expenses, was donated to the Wyndham Hall, which will soon be the Church Hall and, hopefully, the venue for a lunch before Evensong in 2012. This year, due to the closure of the restaurant, it was not possible to have the Chinese Meal before the service, but we were provided with a magnificent curry lunch in the Church Hall instead - the profits from which also went to the Hall Fund. Another highly successful Ladies Evening was held at Winchester, on 7th May, where we had a good attendance, with some nice music, albeit somewhat loud at times, provided by "The Word Gets Out" duo.

We were all deeply saddened to learn, only a few days after last years' meeting, of the premature call to Higher Service of the previous Deputy Intendant-General, V.Ill.Kt. Bob Freemantle. I was privileged to be asked by the family to sing at, and deliver a Eulogy for Bob at the funeral, which was attended by many of you here today. You will recall that I closed by saying " he lived respected and died, regretted".

I now congratulate those officers on whom I have this morning conferred, or re-appointed to, Divisional Rank or to membership of the Divisional Guard. Those of you who have received a first appointment have earned the higher status by diligent efforts during and following the year when you were the Sovereign of your Conclave and those who have received promotion, by continued service to your Conclave and the Division. I ask you to continue that support by demonstrating your willingness to accept the wider responsibilities of your status, especially by attending all meetings of your own Conclaves and by offering guidance and assistance when required. Similarly, the members of the Guard have a duty to attend on Official Visits, whenever possible, and to provide the Sepulchre Guard for the Sanctuaries and Commanderies when they are conducting the ceremonies of the Appendant Orders.

I now wish to thank all those who have assisted in any way for the preparations for the meeting today. These things don't just happen and it requires good team work to make sure we all get our jobs done to our mutual satisfaction and enjoyment. I especially thank the members of the Banner Conclave, St Peter and St. Paul No 450 and note the presence of the MPS, Ill.Kt. Alan Hamilton, resplendent in the new robe. Also Ill.Kts. Larry Peer, Richard Dunleavy and P.Kt. Stewart Taynton, for all they have done. I further thank the Divisional High Prelate, Ill.Kt. The Revd. Bill Whitfield for leading the Service of re-dedication this morning. Our thanks go to the management of the Botley Centre, especially Mrs. Janette Holland and the new Caterer, Gavin Easterbrook, and his staff who have promised us a curry par excellence! I also thank W.Kt. Peter Dyke, on behalf of us all, not only for looking after our equipment throughout the year and helping to set up the room for our use today, but also for making the central pedestal and that of Eusebius which have so improved the appearance of our furnishings.

I thank the Deputy Intendant-General and all members of the Divisional Administrative Team for their support throughout the past year. You have worked hard and all your efforts are both noted and appreciated. The Deputy and Recorder have settled down in their new roles and much has been achieved. P.Kt. Stewart Taynton is working very hard as Assistant Recorder and produced an excellent Directory for 2009-2010: he is now working hard on that for 2010/2011. The Treasurer has kept our accounts in the black and the Marshal and his Deputy have maintained our high standards.

I again thank the Captain, Deputy Captain and members of the Divisional Guard for their unstinting support and enthusiasm throughout the year. Well done Troops! I also thank W.Kt. Rod Armitage for his continuing work on the Divisional Website, which I have no doubt will have been updated by this time tomorrow! Do please visit it! Finally, I thank all those of you who answered my request to wear the Veteran's Badge today - it being Armed Forces or Veterans' Day.

Now, to the future. In an attempt to boost recruiting the Deputy has, at my request, produced a lecture on the Order which is aimed at Royal Arch Companions and is going to be given for the first time at Alton on 7th October, following a short meeting of the Border Conclave which will be their Official Visit for the year. A number of Royal Arch Companions are being invited to attend and the lecture will be given after the Conclave has closed, following which the Companions will join us for dinner. This meeting will be followed by similar presentions in other locations.

Many of you will have heard rumours to the effect that a levy is to be raised on all members of all units controlled by Mark Masons' Hall and that subscriptions are to be raised by £5 plus VAT. The current situation is that Mark Grand Lodge approved the £5 levy on all members to be paid on 1st. January 2011 and that subs are to be increased by £5.88 with effect from 1st. September 2011. The other units controlled by MMH will doubtless follow and this means that Conclaves will have to take steps to increase their fees from 1st. September 2010. No doubt some announcement will be made at the GIC on 6th. July and guidance from GIC will, presumably, follow.

Staying with the future, it doesn't seem possible that I was installed as the Intendant-General for this Division at Lake Road, Portsmouth on 26th June 1993 - 17 years ago today. I know that several of you will remember the occasion almost as well as me. Sadly however, Worthy Knights, all good things must come to an end and this will be the last occasion on which I shall be addressing you as Intendant-General. I have been invited by the Grand Sovereign to stand down to make way for someone a little younger and have in fact submitted my resignation. It was pointed out to me, and I now accept, that 17 years is a long time to hold a position such as this, and that the time has come for me to go. At Grand imperial Conclave last year, the Grand Sovereign reminded us all of the requirement to be "prudent, wise and valiant." I hope that I have exercised these qualities during my leadership. I know that I have made some mistakes and ruffled a few feathers, but in general, I have tried to abide by the watchwords of our wonderful Order - Faith, Unity and Zeal.

I have been guided by my own personal faith and beliefs, my faith (and confidence!) in the Divisional Officers and the staunch support given, in particular, by the Executive. I have worked in unity with 4 Deputies and 5 Recorders (including Frank squared!) and have travelled thousands of miles with them, both within and without this Division. My zeal has, I hope, been demonstrated by the way in which I have served you as your Intendant-General and represented you at all levels in this and other Orders. You in turn have reciprocated, by the zeal with which you have supported me and for which I am so grateful. Grand Conclave has told me that I shall remain as Intendant-General until midnight of the day before my successor, whoever he is, is installed in my stead, which I anticipate will be in the autumn. Until then, it will be business as usual, so you haven't got rid of me yet! Formally, however, I now say "thank you, goodbye, and may God bless you and yours!"

As far as I know, Divisional Conclave will be held here on Saturday, June 25th, 2011, under the Banner of Mystic Rose Conclave No. 464. Thank you all for your presence here today and for your attention to this Address - have a safe journey home and - "remember, we await your return"!