Saturday 19th May saw the annual Provincial Grand Lodge meeting at Stoneleigh Park. If you’ve not attended a PGL meeting, it is a splendid spectacle and well worthily recommended!
The day started with reception coffee and breakfast baps, descended on by approximately 800 Brethren from the Province of Warwickshire from as early as 8 am. There was an excellent array of faces, ages, jewels and aprons!
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire launched a new tie at this event, and it was so well received with a large number of Brethren wanting one, huge ques formed. The Five of Nine Committee stepped in to assist sales by providing a second outlet, alongside our membership bundles and our very own new club tie. Within the first few hours we sold over £400 worth of new provincial ties, what’s even more remarkable is that all the proceeds from the ties sales on the day are going towards the 2023 Festival.
We were camped out in the rather fantastic new Warwickshire PGL marquee, an educational and promotional space to take Freemasonry into the Community. This marquee will be used at public events as a tool to inform people as to the facts of Freemasonry in order to share the excellent work we do and has some images and text panels. In fact, the new Warwickshire PGL marquee will also be at our Freemasonry in the Community event The Acorns Children’s Hospice Summer Fete and BBQ on 9th September.
Soon enough it was time for the Provincial meeting to start. Due to the size of the meeting, and subsequent Festive Board, a marquee was required to house the assembly. It was a truly spectacular occasion, Provincial Grand Master David F. Macey was preceded by an honour guard consisting of numerous Provincial ranks and an enormous number of distinguished guests, with Provincial Grand Masters, Deputy PGMs and their Officers from many surrounding and national Provinces.
Along with numerous salutations, there were two extraordinary awards for excellent and long service to Freemasonry and of course an enormous queue of Provincial honours and promotions bestowed upon Brethren. A particularly loud cheer erupted from the members of the Five of Nine Club in attendance for our Past Chairman, Daniel Thomas PProvJGD. The meeting closed with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem after which the guests, the new acting Provincial Officers and the PGM processed out, an uplifting and inspiring performance, especially by the Provincial Director of Ceremonies Peter Clarke, who had an enormous amount of labour throughout the meeting. His introductions of date, name and rank were nothing short of breathtaking, without falter or issue, though we could find no evidence of an auto-cue! Indeed something to aspire to, some excellent Masonic Work. Inspirational.
The festive board was a sumptuous affair, with really superb food, even more, surprising due to the numbers dining. It was by far the largest festive board that I have ever attended, with more than 300 seated Brethren eating and talking together. The speeches were inclusive, amusing and brave, with the Provincial Grand Master being ribbed for his support of Sunderland. A courageous speech to give!
As my first ever Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in the home province, it was truly worth experiencing. The Provincial team did a fantastic job of matching the Tercentenary meeting last year in London. Another reason to be proud to be a Warwickshire Mason!