The Lodge was ‘full’ to capacity and the final few places had been much sought-after, the atmosphere beforehand was lively, warm and friendly. The Deputy Provincial Director of Ceremonies, Andrew Brown, battled against the noise and general mayhem to practice the Procession and ensure the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge knew where their reserved seats were. This was a struggle as the Temple is quite ‘tight’ with the Overseers stations in place – more on this later.
For the Ceremony itself, the Lodge was opened W Bro Jack Wilson. Upon a Report the ProvDepDC W Bro Andrew Brown was admitted and stated that the Provincial Grand Master for West Yorkshire, R W. James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. was without and demanded admission. He requested permission to form a procession and this was duly done and the Provincial Officers were then admitted. W Bro Andrew, in his preparations had not allowed for (or even known about😊) Knaresborough Castle’s ‘dancing Overseers’ and the Provincial Officers leading the procession looked a little confused, but soon took advantage of the extra space made the Overseers dancing to the South. The Provincial Grand Master was admitted, greeted the WM and the procession of officers saluted and took their places. The Overseers then danced back to ‘first position’.
The Worshipful Master greeted Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles and offered the gavel, which the PGM accepted. With a mischievous look in his eye the PGM suggested that as he had both Wardens, a complement of Overseers and Deacons he could indeed ask the Provincial Officers to take their places and conduct the Ceremony. He noted their looks of surprise and handed the gavel back saying that as the Officers of Knaresborough Castle Lodge had undoubtedly put in a lot of work to prepare, it was better that they be allowed to demonstrate their skills. The Provincial Team heaved a collective sigh of relief and relaxed to enjoy the proceedings.
Ballots were taken for two Joining Members and a Candidate, all proved favourable and a Ceremony of Advancement then took place.
The WM commenced the Ceremony and after the formalities, the Candidate, Bro Graham Coates, was then admitted under the direction of the Senior Deacon Bro Trevor Batten assisted the Junior Deacon Bro Jim Sommerville. The Dancing Overseers did their worst, but the cloud had a silver lining and all was good. Senior Warden Bro Tom Wilson Jnr had a plentiful supply of mints and Junior Warden Bro Kevin Hawkins was ‘on hand’. W. Bro. John Maxwell was asked to entrust Bro Coates with the Secrets of the Degree. The Senior Warden Invested Bro Coates and the Address to the Badge & Jewel was given V.W.Bro. John Clough. The Working Tools were presented W. Bro. Michael Andrews and W. Bro George Wise gave the Concluding Address. The WM congratulated Bro Coates on being Advanced to this Honourable Degree.
A special presentation was made W Bro Richard Stone Charity Steward, W Bro Brian Harrison has made a quite wonderful ‘Broken Column’ to be placed on the bar following Knaresborough Castle Mark and Abbey Royal Ark Mariner meetings. It is adorned with suitable images and wording to be used both and is a work of stunning beauty.
Greetings were given and the Provincial Grand Master and his team of Officers processed from the Lodge, this time the Dancing Deacons shimmied to the North and return to ‘first position’. The Lodge was duly closed and we all retired for hard earned refreshments at the Festive Board.
At the Festive Board the usual convivial, happy atmosphere that all Mark Masons are familiar with prevailed. A raffle raised a generous sum for the Festival. Following a toast to the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Jim stood to share a few thoughts. He promised to be brief as it was getting quite late in the evening and well past some senior brethren’s bed-time. The PGM reminded us of the status of our Festival, no target set and no interim totals, BUT it is doing very well. This year’s major event, the Perimeter Perambulation raised over £9,000 and all who donated were thanked for their generosity. Next year promises to have a Cycle ride covering the four Northern Provinces. Our friends in Kent are coming to the end of their Festival and the PGM promoted their Festival Event and pointed out the next year will be similar, but closer to home with our friends in East Lancashire. Both will be special weekends. There is a special Sunday lunch for Remembrance and a Christmas Gala ball, booking details for these and other events are on the Provincial website . The PGM then thanked everyone in his Provincial Team and the Officers and members of Knaresborough Castle Lodge for a warm and friendly evening of Mark Masonry. Another little bit of Mark Magic.
This report is wholly the skill and effort of W.Bro.Kevin who volunteered to assist when I could not be present. It is very good, I think you will agree, my position is under threat methinks! Many thanks Kevin.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.