Provincial Grand Lodge and P G Masters report.

Principal Officers

Provincial Grand Master R W Bro. David Hamilton

Immediate Past PGM – Rt. Wor. Bro. David Hamilton

 

Deputy PGM – Rt. Wor. Bro. Richard Moore

 

 

Asst. PGM – Rt. Wor. Bro. John Richardson

 

 

 

P G Treasurer – V Wor. Bro. John James

 

 P G L. Secretary – V W Bro James Blair 

 

 

IMMEDIATE PAST PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS REPORT FOR 2018 (R W Bro R David Hamilton)

As with previous years we held four Stated Communications.

 

JANUARY

Our 150th Installation Communication was hosted, as usual by the Portadown Brethren.

The Officers for 2018

The Past Wardens V W Bro Bobby Stewart and V W Bro Spencer Lawson were presented with their certificates.

Director of Ceremonies Seminars were held in three venues across the Province under the leadership of R W Bro John Richardson, they were most informative and well attended.

In our 150th year I left the Brethren with this thought “Don’t count the day’s – make the day’s count”.

 

APRIL

The April Communication was hosted, as usual by the Armagh Brethren.

The report of the Board of General Purposes recommended the adoption of the Provincial Grand Treasurer’s report as presented by V W Bro John James, I thank him for all his work with the accounts and also the auditors V W Bro R J Robinson and W Bro H Baxter.

Honorary Past Provincial Grand Rank

I was delighted to confer Honorary Past Warden to W Bro Michael Holland and Honorary Past Deacon to W Bro Dennis Robinson, both hard working and dedicated Masons in the Province.

I had the pleasure of presenting W Bro Harry Hanna of Lodge 151 with his 50-year jewel.

Our Richardson Memorial Charity Fund was registered with HMRC for Gift Aid and I would thank R W Bro John Richardson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and his team of W Bros Geoff Lambe and Andrew Murphy for progressing this important development.

V W Bro Bobbie Stewart had indicated that he wished to retire as Provincial Grand Almoner and I thanked him for his sterling service and dedication in that role.

Vacancies for Provincial Grand Lodge Almoner and Provincial Grand Lodge Director of Ceremonies were announced.

 

Charity Rep’s Report

Reports were received from R W Bro Sidney Conn (Boys Fund), R W Bro John Richardson (Welfare Fund), W Bro Graham Steenson (Victoria Jubilee Fund).

I congratulated the Provincial Grand Secretary and his wife Thelma on their invitation to the Queen’s garden party in June and wished them an enjoyable afternoon at Buckingham Palace.

 

JUNE

The June Communication was hosted by the Brethren of Newbliss Lodge 794, County Monaghan.

I was pleased to welcome our faithful and regular visitors at our June Communication, District Grand King of Down M Ex Comp Neil Coey, District Deputy Grand King of Down, Rt Ex Comp Alan Ferris, District Assistant Grand King of Down, Rt Ex Comp Roy Humphries and W Bro Billy Thomson whose attendance and support is very much appreciated. Grand Lodge Standard Bearer V W Bro Dessie McCormack was also present together with our regular past Senior Officers from Provincial and District Chapter.

 

Vacancies

The vacancies announced in April having been circulated, the selection procedure was implemented and the appointment of W Bro John Montgomery of Lodge 979 as Provincial Grand Almoner and W Bro Andrew Murphy of Lodge 652 as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies were confirmed.

I announced the retirement of R W Bro Bobbie McDowell, Provincial Assistant Grand Master, who had indicated last year that he had completed 5 years in office and whilst he had enjoyed his time as Provincial Assistant Grand Master, he wanted to give someone else the opportunity to hold the office, but when I asked if he would continue for a further year in our 150th celebrations he readily agreed. I gave a detailed account of R W Bro Bobbies Masonic career starting in 1976 with him joining Ashlar Lodge 528 meeting in Rosetta Belfast and continuing to being made a member of the Knights of the Sun 28th Degree in February this year. I thanked him for his wise council, his words of encouragement, and especially his great support as Provincial Assistant Grand Master.

I was pleased to announce that R W Bro Gilbert Irvine had accepted my invitation to succeed R W Bro McDowell as Provincial Assistant Grand Master and this announcement was received by acclamation.

 

Provincial Grand Lodge Golf Competition

Kindly sponsored by the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown & Gilbert Law & Co. Security and Investigative agency.

R W Bro John Richardson, committee chairman reported that the Provincial Charity Golf Competition had taken place at Portadown Golf Club on Friday 15 June 2018. 48 golfers had taken part and the proceeds was divided between Northern Ireland Air Ambulance and Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust.

 

R W Bro John Richardson PAGM presenting a cheque for £1200 to Air Ambulance NI

 

Tuesday 5 June, I attended Lodge 39 to present a cheque on behalf of the Lodge to Mrs Kay Duffy Founder, RVH Liver Support Group.

I congratulated W Bro Trevor Ross on being awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list and to W Bro Derek Winter’s mother also awarded the MBE.

I was delighted to see a large number from the Province at the June Communication of Grand Lodge to witness R W Bros Philip Dowzell, John James & Graham Brown invested as Grand Lodge Foreign Reps.

I attended Lodge 584 to present a 50-year jewel to W Bro Walter Millar, an enthusiast and hardworking Portadown Mason.

The 21st June being the birthday of R W Bro Gilbert Irvine, I surprised him with a birthday cake and best wishes from all the Brethren.

 

OCTOBER

The October Communication was hosted by the Lurgan Brethren in the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown. I welcomed the Most W Grand Master, Grand Secretary R W Bro Philip Daley and Grand Lodge Standard Bearer R W Bro Dessie McCormack, Provincial Grand Master of Antrim: R W Bro John Dickson, Provincial Grand Master of Bermuda: R W Bro Allen Richardson, Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone & Fermanagh: R W Bro Maurice Lee, Provincial Grand Master of North Connaught R W Bro Norman Reid, Provincial Grand Master Designate Down: R W Bro John Clarke, Provincial Grand Master Designate Londonderry & Donegal: R W Bro Raymond Robinson, Deputy Provincial Grand Master Antrim: R W Bro Jack Dunlop, Provincial Deputy Grand Master Tyrone & Fermanagh: R W Bro Frank Arnold, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Master of Down: R W Bro Alan Stewart, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Master of Tyrone & Fermanagh: R W Bro Stanley Whittle, S Gordon Leathem BEM, Most Pursuivant Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council 33rd Degree, Ancient & Accepted Rite for Ireland. V W Bro Jack Magowan, District Grand King of Armagh, V W Bro Tom Gardner, Past District Grand King of Armagh, V W Bro Walter Wilson, Assistant  District Grand King of Armagh, V W Bro Andrew Lambe, Assistant District Grand King Designate of Armagh, District Grand Registrar of Armagh W Bro F Cooper, District Grand King of Down, Neil A Coey, Deputy District Grand King of Down, Alan Ferris, Assistant District Grand King of Down, Roy Humphries, W Bro Billy Thompson and the W M & D o C of Prince of Wales Own Lodge 154 Belfast W Bros. Fred J Adams and Mervyn D Robinson.

I was pleased to welcome 20 Brethren attending their first Provincial Grand Lodge Communication.

 

INSTALLATION of PROVINCIAL ASSISTANT GRAND MASTER

I installed and proclaimed R W Bro Gilbert T Irvine as Provincial Assistant Grand Master of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Lodge of Armagh.

Our annual presentations to charities included my 150th cancer appeal from the Lodges, when I asked them to contribute £150 over and above their normal charity giving in our 150th year. I acknowledged the support from V W Bro Jack Magowan, District Grand King of Armagh with this appeal. representatives from 5 local cancer charities were present to receive the cheques.

The Classes of Instruction continue in Armagh, Lurgan, Monaghan and Portadown where the class leaders give freely of their time and deserve our support, the high standard being attained by many Lodges throughout the Province is a testament to their labours. My appreciation on behalf of Provincial Grand Lodge to all concerned.

 

Local Charity Committees

The Provincial Grand Steward of Charities with the support of our five Local Charity Committees will co-ordinate the Grand Masters   “Vision 2020”. I announced the retirement of R W Bros Graham Brown and Sidney Conn, Local Charity Treasurers and thanked them for their work and dedication over the years.

 

65 year certificate to V W Bro Bill Nevin

I had the pleasure of presenting a 65 year certificate to V W Bro Bill Nevin who was initiated into Armagh Home Guard Lodge 747on 3rd December 1953, on his 24th birthday.

I attended Lodge 781 to present 50-year jewel to W Bro Colin Perry.

Our web page is progressing well and I would record my thanks to W Bros Brendon Ryder, Allen Hawthorne & Wayne Hawthorne.

 

Samaritans

Further to involvement with the Samaritans during the previous Grand Master’s festival we continue to support our local branch with their flag day. Pictured below are R W Bros Sidney Conn & David Hamilton.

 

Teddies for Loving Care TLC

We continue to support this worthy cause. V W Bro Terry Woods and W Bro Jim Robinson, our representatives, gave a detailed report on the year’s activity at our April Communication.

 

150th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

Armagh Province together with a number of Provincial Grand Lodges celebrated 150 years in 2018. We began our celebrations hosting the Very Worshipful the Grand Lodge of Instruction in Armagh Masonic Hall on the 10th February when R W Bro John Richardson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, brought together a team from across the Province and exemplified the Master Mason Degree.

The team from across the Province

The 10th February, being my birthday, I received a most pleasant surprise from V W Bro James Gilchrist, Assistant Grand Secretary for Instruction, who presented me with a birthday cake, which was very much enjoyed by the Brethren.

Sunday 22nd April 2018 we attended the Choral Evensong service in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. I would wish to thank Canon Joyce Moore for her wonderful sermon, the readers, Canon George Little, my wife Corrine and R W Bro Ronnie Watt for grace before we enjoyed refreshments in Armagh Masonic Hall.

R W Bro R David Hamilton & Very Rev Gregory J O Dunstan

Our final event for the year was a gala dinner held in the Seagoe Hotel on 26th October attended by over 200 Masons and their Ladies. The Assistant Grand Master R W Bro Leslie Nixon and his wife Joan were our principal guests. the Provincial Grand Master’s from Bermuda, Antrim, Down, North Connaught, together with their wives graced us with their presence.

R W Bro Leslie Nixon and his wife Joan, P G M and his wife Corrine

The 26th October being the birthday of W Bro James Blair, Acting Provincial Grand Secretary, I surprised him with a birthday cake and best wishes from all the Brethren.

I would like to thank W Bro Karl Magee for taking photographs at the various 150th events and we enjoyed a slide show at the Gala Dinner.

St John’s Lodge 134 Lurgan, celebrated their 275th Anniversary. they certainly celebrated well under the guidance of their W M, W Bro Hubert McAlister with a 275th Installation Dinner on Friday 9th March, then Sunday 20th May a service of Praise and Thanksgiving in Brownlow House, Lurgan. the Rev Canon Dr Will Murphy, Provincial Grand Lodge Chaplain preached a most interesting sermon. They also hosted the Lodge of Research in April.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          St Johns Lodge 134, Lurgan

Lodge 789, Tartaraghan also celebrated their 225th Anniversary with a service of Praise and Thanksgiving in St Paul’s Parish Church when the special preacher was Rev Canon Ted Fleming.

2018 was not without some very sad occasions and it is with regret that I record the passing of:-

W Bro Ian Collie, Secretary Lodge 352, Castleblaney, W Bro Tom Hewitt, Lodge 219, Portadown, W Bro Wilfie McNeill, Lodge 151, Lurgan, V W Bro Tommy Lawson, Lodge 789, Tartaraghan.

 

Finally

In December I formally submitted my resignation as Provincial Grand Master to the Most Worshipful the Grand Master and as I reflect over my period in Office, I am acutely aware of all the work required to keep the Province’s  Lodges in good working order year on year. I thank the permanent Officers and Brethren of all the Lodges for their work and dedication and I assure them that their efforts do not go unnoticed. (unappreciated)

I would extend our grateful thanks to the Grand Secretary and all the staff at Freemason’s Hall for their ready help and support during 2018.

Finally I would extend my thanks to my Senior Officers for their dedication, work behind the scenes and support to me in 2018. To those Halls and Lodges who provide accommodation and refreshments for our Communications and meetings, also to the Lodges for their warm welcome and generous hospitality to the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge during official visits, thank you.

To my wife, Corrine, and the very understanding wives of my Senior Officers, I thank them for their support and understanding.

 

PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS REPORT FOR 2017 (R W Bro R David Hamilton)

As with previous years, we held four Stated Communications.

JANUARY

Our 149th Installation Communication was hosted, as usual by the Portadown brethren, in their Masonic Hall.

There was an excellent attendance of Brethren to support the new Officers installed for 2018.

The Past Wardens V W Bro Walter Roleston and V W Ian Bro Spiers were presented with their certificates.

I congratulate all who took part on Saturday 5 November when the Armagh class of instruction exemplified the 2nd degree at the November 2016 Communication of The Grand Lodge of Instruction.

I would thank the Provincial Grand Secretary & all who assisted him with the seminar for Lodge secretaries which was well attended and most informative.

I was delighted to be present a 50 year Jewel to W. Bro. Edwin Scott at Ensor Lodge 625 Loughgall and also V.W. Bro H. Blair of Lodge 328 Richhill was presented his 50 year jewel at his home.

Grand Lodge St John’s Day Communication was well attended and it was good to see a large number from our Province to witness R W Bro John Richardson installed as a Grand Lodge Steward of Charities and V W Bro Brian Ebbs installed as Grand Lodge Inner Guard.

Our congratulations to W. Bro. Brenton McAdams, Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, of Lodge 328 Richhill whose wife Edith was awarded the B.E.M. in the New Year Honours list.

APRIL

The April Communication was hosted, as usual by the Armagh brethren, in their Masonic Hall.

I was delighted to welcome the Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone & Fermanagh R.W. Bro. Maurice Lee, his Standard Bearer W. Bro. Stanley McMullen and the Provincial Deputy Grand Master of Meath R.W. Bro. David Douglas.

Our Provincial Junior Grand Warden V.W. Bro. Spencer Lawson of Ensor Masonic Lodge 625 gave a potted history of the hall in Armagh, his father’s name being on the foundation stone.

The report of the Board of General Purposes recommended the adoption of the Provincial Grand Treasurer’s report as presented by V. W. Bro. John James, I thank him for all his work with the accounts and also thank the auditors V.W. Bro R. J. Robinson and W. Bro. H. Baxter.

I congratulate the Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary on his report and thank R.W. Bro. John Richardson Provincial Assistant Grand Master on his first time chairing the Board of General Purposes.

I was pleased to announce the appointment of R.W. Bro. Ronnie Watt of Lodge 625 as Provincial Grand Chaplain.

Bro Derek Winter, Lodge 263 mentioned a Widows Son’s event arranged over the weekend of June 10th which included a tour of various road race circuits and the Joey Dunlop memorial ending up with a tour of Freemasons Hall Dublin on the Sunday. He hoped to have 20 plus bikes on the tour with a group attending from England.

JUNE

The June Communication was hosted by Tartaraghan Lodge 789 in their Masonic Hall Tartaraghan where we enjoyed their traditional hospitality of al fresco refreshments in the courtyard including their Co. Armagh signature dish of strawberries and cream.

We were pleased to welcome R W Bro. Philip Daley Acting Grand Secretary to our communication. I was delighted to welcome Province of Down Masons who have been making an annual visit to our June Provincial Communication for a number of years, V.W. Bro. Neil Coey and W. Bros. Roy Humphreys, Billy Thompson and Billy Downs.

W Bro Matchett reported on the meeting of Almoners and Stewards of Charities held in Tandragee on Monday 24th April 2017. The speaker for the meeting was Mr. Paddy Quinn from the NI Fire and Rescue Service who gave a very informative talk on fire safety in the home, some 45 Brethren attended and enjoyed an excellent supper provided by the Brethren of Tandragee.

A report was given by our representatives of the following Masonic Charities, from the Victoria Jubilee Annuity Fund W. Bro. Graham Steenson, from the Boy’s Fund R.W. Bro. Sidney Conn and R.W. Bro. John Richardson reported on the Masonic Welfare Fund and our Provincial Charity Golf competition.

R.W. Bro. Henry Blackburn, Lodge 352 mentioned the now annual Tractor run to be held on Saturday 2nd September 2017 starting from the Mart in Castleblayney. The chosen charities were the Local First Responders and the R.N.L.I. Clougher Head.

OCTOBER

The October communication was hosted as usual by the Lurgan brethren in their Masonic Hall.

I was delighted to welcome the Provincial Grand Master of North Connaught R.W. Bro. Norman Reid and his deputy R.W. Bro. David McNeill, the Provincial Deputy Grand Master of Down R.W. Bro. John Clarke, the Provincial Deputy Grand Master designate of Antrim R.W. Bro Jack Dunlop and the Provincial Assistant Grand Master R.W. Bro. John McLernon and from the Province of Londonderry & Donegal the Provincial Assistant Grand Masters R.W. Bros. Brian Kershaw & Ken Doherty. W. Bro. Raymond Pollock MBE. From Children to Lapland Trust and R.W. Bro. David Penpraze Teddies for Loving Care chairman.

The Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary, W Bro. Blair, reported that the audit conducted by an Independent Auditor appointed by the Charity Commission, had now concluded and reported that “the accounts, book keeping and annual report are of a very high standard” in our Charity fund. W Bro. Blair also reported that the annual returns to the Charity Commission had been made as required. I congratulate the Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary on his work.

I was delighted to present our annual donation to W. Bro. Raymond Pollock MBE for Children to Lapland Trust. W. Bro. Raymond thanked the brethren and reported that to date they had sent over one thousand children and this year they hoped to send another one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and twenty. He spoke of how Thomas Cooke pilots and crew worked for free on these trips and how the Masons had contributed over £16,000 to the charity to date.

I was delighted to present our annual donation to R.W. Bro. David Penpraze of Teddies for Loving Care who expressed his heartfelt thanks on behalf of TLC and related a couple of stories which illustrated how effective the teddies were in bringing comfort to the children in hospital.

On 1 July accompanied by R.W. Bro Bobbie McDowell, our wives and W. Bro. Alan Hewitt I was pleased to present a cheque to the N I Air Ambulance at their headquarters.

On the 5 October I attended Seagoe 851 to present a 50 year jewel to W. Bro. Wm. McCabe.

On the 9th October I attended, with the Provincial Grand Secretary, Lodge 944 Moy on the visit of R W Bro John Hobson Provincial Grand Master of Wicklow & Wexford, the Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone & Fermanagh was represented by his Provincial Deputy Grand Master R W Bro Frank R L Arnold.

On 14th October I attended the final of the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year, a wonderful occasion.

I was pleased to welcome the M W Grand Master, M W Bro Douglas T Grey to the annual visitors charity night in Lodge 55 Monaghan, also present were the Provincial Grand Master of T & Fermanagh R.W. Bro. Maurice Lee, his Deputy R W Bro Frank R L Arnold, the Provincial Grand Master of Meath R.W. Bro. Russell Waller, his Deputy R W Bro David W Douglas.

My thanks to R.W. Bro. John Richardson for organizing very successful Director of Ceremonies Seminars in Armagh, Markethill and Monaghan which was well received by the Brethren. I was delighted to welcome R W Bros James McFarland and Jim Gilchrist the Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of instruction to the Portadown Seminars. I thank them for their support, help and advice throughout the year.

The Classes of Instruction continue in Armagh, Lurgan, Monaghan and Portadown where the class leaders give freely of their time and deserve our support, the high standard being attained by many Lodges throughout the Province is a testament to their labours. My appreciation on behalf of Provincial Grand Lodge to all concerned.

Our Web page is progressing well and I would record my thanks to W Bro’s Brendon Ryder, Allen Hawthorne & Wayne Hawthorne.

My Deputy R W Bro Rev Richard Moore chaires the committee preparing plans for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Constitution of the Masonic Province of Armagh. Events include hosting the February Communication of the Grand Lodge of Instruction when Brethren from the Province will exemplify the Master Mason degree, a Church Service in April and a Gala Dinner in October. We will also be supporting Cancer charities in 2018 as part of our 150th celebrations.

2017 was not without some very sad occasions and it is with regret that I record the passing of:

V.W. Bro. James Compson Past Provincial Grand Masters Standard Bearer, Past Provincial Grand Inner Guard, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Past Master of Lodge 299 Armagh.
V.W. Bro. Herby Walsh Past Provincial Grand Lodge Standard Bearer, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Past Stewart of Charites, Past Director of Ceremonies and Past Master of Lodge 652 Portadown.
V. W. Bro. Robert Twinned Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer, Past Provincial Grand Deacon, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Past Master of Lodge 82 Portadown.
V. W. Bro. George Robinson Past Provincial Grand Steward, Past Provincial Grand Deacon, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Past Master and Director of Ceremonies of Lodge 231 Portadown.
W. Bro Harry Martin Past Chaplain and Past Master of Lodge 652 Portadown and Chair of Hall Committee.
W. Bro Victor Jennett and Past Master of Lodge 584 Portadown.
W. Bro. Tom Russell Past Master and Past Director of Ceremonies of Lodge 55 Monahan.
W. Bro Noel Gordon Past Master and Past Director of Ceremonies of Lodge 39 Armagh.
W. Bro. Lesley Winter Past Master and Director of Ceremonies of Lodge 24 Lurgan and Lodge No. 625 Loughgall.
W. Bro. Louis McAvoy Past Master, Past Director of Ceremonies and Past Secretary of Lodge 851 Portadown.
W. Bro James H Kerr Past Grand Steward, Past Provincial Grand Lodge Standard Bearer, Past Junior Grand Deacon, Past Master and Past Secretary of Lodge 231 Portadown.
W. Bro. Wilfie Moore Past Provincial Grand Steward, Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Past Provincial Grand Deacon, Past Master and Past Stewart of Charites of Lodge 231 Portadown.

Finally

I would extend our grateful thanks to the Acting Grand Secretary and congratulate him on his appointment as Grand Secretary. To Heather and all the staff at Freemason’s Hall for their ready help and support during 2017.

I extend my thanks to my Senior Officers for their dedication and support to me in 2017. To those Halls and Lodges who provide accommodation and refreshments for our communications and meetings, also those Lodges who have extended a warm welcome and generous hospitality to the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge during official visits, thank you.

To my wife, Corrine, and the very understanding wives of my Senior Officers, I thank them for their support and understanding.

 

PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS REPORT FOR 2016 (R W Bro. R. David Hamilton). 

As with previous years, we held four Stated Communications.

JANUARY

Our 148th Installation Communication was hosted by the Portadown Brethren, in the Masonic Hall, Portadown.

It was announced that The Provincial Deputy Grand Master, R W Bro. Ossie Steenson and The Provincial Assistant Grand Master, R W Bro. John Clarke, both having served six years in their respective posts were stepping down. I thanked  R W Bro. Bobbie McDowell for continuing as my Assistant.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The  outgoing Officers were thanked for their support over the last year in particular thanks to R W Bros. Sidney Conn, David McFarland and V W Bro. John Richardson for their work and dedication. Thanks also to V W Bro. Barry Crawford who stepped down as Organist.

W Bro. J A G James was Installed as Provincial Grand Treasurer, W Bro. John Matchett was installed as Provincial Grand Steward of Charities and V W Bro. J Richardson was Installed as Provincial Grand Almoner together with the other Provincial Grand Lodge Officers.

Our first Provincial Grand Lodge Officers dinner was held on 30th October 2015 proved to be a great success.

Brownlow Lodge 781 Lurgan celebrated their 60th anniversary on Saturday 5th December 2015, the Provincial Grand Secretary and I enjoyed the celebration evening.

V W Bro. Robert Gill reported on a meeting he had attended with the Grand Master and representatives from the Provinces, in November in relation to Grand Lodge News and its future format.

Grand Lodge St. John’s Day Communication was well attended and it was great to see a large number from our Province there to witness VW Bro. Brian Ebbs Installed as Grand Lodge Inner Guard and VW Bros. Henry Blackburn and Ken Ramsey Installed as Foreign Representatives.

I announced that we would host the Grand Lodge March Communication in the City Hotel Armagh on Saturday, 5th March.

APRIL

The April Communication was hosted, as usual, by the Armagh Brethren, in the Masonic Hall Armagh.                                                                                                                                      Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master – we were delighted to welcome the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, R W Bro. Rodney L McCurley and he was presented with a cheque on behalf of the Province for the newly refurbished Northern Ireland Hospice. The Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master thanked the Province for their generosity and spoke of the work carried out by the Hospice.

Provincial Grand Steward of Charities

W Bro. John Matchett reported that a meeting of Almoners and Stewards of Charities had taken place in Tartaraghan Masonic Hall on Monday 11th April 2016. There were some 45 Brethren present, who were welcomed by W Bro. Geoff Lamb, Secretary of Lodge 789.

The speaker for the meeting was V W Bro. John Richardson, who had recently submitted a successful application to the charities commission for the Richardson Memorial Charity Fund, and gave a very informative talk on the progress of the Fund.

The appointment of R W Bro. Rev. Richard Moore as Provincial Deputy Grand Master was announced, with his Installation at the June Communication in Dundalk. This announcement was met with a standing ovation.

R W Bro. Ossie Steenson, Provincial Deputy Grand Master returned his chain of office to Provincial Grand Secretary and spoke of the kindness and support he received while in office.

Defibrillator training took place in Markethill, conducted in a very professional way by an instructor from the British Red Cross. Thanks to the Brethren who attended for training.

The Provincial Grand Secretary and his team were thanked for their work in arranging Grand Lodge Grand Lodge Communication in Armagh City Hotel, when R W Bro. Gilbert T Irvine was Invested as Foreign Representative for the Grand Lodge of France.

The Provincial Deputy Grand Master designate, Provincial Grand Secretary, V W Bros. Philip Dowzell and Tom McBirney, W Bros. Russell Barr, David Crozier and Geoff Lambe will recommend how best to celebrate our 150 year anniversary in 2018.

The commitment that R W Bro. Eric Mackaral gave to our Order was acknowledged, having just stepped down after 23 years as secretary of Lodge 881, Clones.

JUNE

The June Communication was held in the Hamilton Suite, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk. Our grateful thanks to all the Dundalk Brethren for their excellent arrangements.

WELCOME

We welcomed our distinguished Brethren along a warm welcome to Provincial Grand Lodge of Down Masons V W Bro. Neil Coey and W Bros. Billy Thompson, Billy Downs and Richard Totton on what they consider annual pilgrimage to the Province of Armagh.

Installation of Provincial Deputy Grand Master

R W Bro. Rev. Richard Moore, Provincial Deputy Grand Master designate, was presented for Obligation, Investiture and Installation as Provincial Deputy Grand Master. R W Bro .Moore’s  sponsor was W Bro. Ray Walsh and his chain bearer W Bro. Steven Merredew of Lodge 411. Placing him in his chair I thanked him for accepting the role of Provincial Deputy Grand Master and I look forward to working with him in the future. The Director of Ceremonies called the salute to the Provincial Deputy Grand Master and R W Bro. Moore replied thanking the Provincial Grand Master for the honour bestowed upon him. He thanked his sponsor and chain bearer and referred to having fond memories of working with R W Bros. Dermot Hill and Charles Hatch, Past Provincial Deputy Grand Masters. He said he was aware of the importance of the office and would carry out his duties to the best of his ability, thanking everyone for their good wishes.

Tribute was paid to R W Bro. John Clarke, who was Installed as Provincial Assistant Grand Master in June 2010 in Markethill, remarking on his quiet manner, wise counsel and support during his term of office. We wish him well and trust he will be long spared to attend Provincial Grand Lodge.

V W Bro. John Richardson, who had previously served as Provincial Grand Treasurer and Almoner, was announced as R W Bro. John Clarke’s successor, and would be installed at the October Communication in his home town of Lurgan.

V W Bro. Richardson’s appointment left a vacancy in the office of Provincial Grand Almoner and I was pleased to announce that W Bro. Bobby Stewart had accepted the office and would be installed at our October Communication.

It was announced that V W Bro. Derek Scott had decided to resign from the office of Local Charity Treasurer, having been most diligent and enthusiastic in that role from 1997 our grateful thanks to V W Bro. Derek for all his hard work and attention to detail, and we were pleased to announce his successor; V W Bro. Tom McBirney of Harmony Lodge No. 352.

OCTOBER

The October Communication was hosted, by the Lurgan Brethren in Brownlow House, Windsor Avenue, Lurgan.

WELCOME

I was pleased to welcome many friends of VW Bro. John Richardson, Provincial Assistant Grand Master designate, who were attending to witness his Installation.

Installation of Provincial Assistant Grand Master

V W Bro. John Richardson, Provincial Assistant Grand Master designate, was presented for Obligation, Investiture and Installation as Provincial Assistant Grand Master. V W Bro. Richardson’s sponsors were R W Bro. Ossie Steenson and W Bro. Kenny Lawson and his chain bearer was V W Bro. Tom Gardner.

Placing him in his chair I thanked him for accepting the role of Provincial Assistant Grand Master and looked forward to working with him in the future. After the salutation, R W Bro. Richardson replied thanking me for the honour bestowed upon him and having accepted it with pride.

Investiture of Provincial Grand Almoner

W Bro. Bobby Stewart was Invested as Provincial Grand Almoner, an important role and a job for which he is well qualified.

I thanked the Provincial Grand Lodge Directors  of Ceremonies for the dignified manner in which they perform their duties.

Presentation to Children to Lapland Trust

W Bro. Jack Rogers, Founder and Chairman of the Children to Lapland trust, was presented with a cheque in support of the Children to Lapland Trust. This presentation was followed by a personal presentation from my Standard Bearer W Bro. Jim Rogers.

W Bro. Rogers thanked everyone for their generosity and support, speaking of the work of the Trust he delivered a very moving account of their previous trips to Lapland and in more recent times to Euro Disney.

Provincial Grand Steward of Charities

Our October meeting of Almoners and Stewards of Charities, in Richhill hosted by Lodge 328, was attended by 45 Brethren. The guest speaker was Lisa McGrogan of MacMillan Cancer Support who gave a most interesting and informative talk on Cancer Support and took questions from the floor. My thanks go to the Provincial Grand Steward of Charities,  W Bro. John Matchett and Provincial Grand Almoner, W Bro. Bobby Steward for a successful meeting.

Samaritans

The Province continues to support our local Samaritans by helping with the annual street collections. This year it was held in Armagh, several Brethren from various Lodges assisted with the collection, which was greatly appreciated by the local branch of Samaritans. Thanks to R W Bro. Sidney Conn for coordinating the collectors.

Provincial Grand Lodge Officers

Our second Provincial Officers dinner was held on Friday 21st October in Markethill, with our Ladies attending, it proved to be an enjoyable evening.

Presentation Dinner

A celebratory dinner was held on the 28th October in Portadown to thank R W Bros. Ossie Steenson and John Clarke for their loyal services to the Province and we were delighted to welcome our guests from other Provinces.

Provincial Grand Lodge Golf

Our grateful thanks to the Charity Golf committee, R W Bros. John Richardson, Bobbie McDowell and W Bros. Dennis Robinson, Jimmy Blair, Alan Hewitt and Gareth Watson for their work at the competition held on Friday 17th June at Portadown Golf Club. Local and Masonic charities profited.

OBITUARY

During the year the Province suffered the loss of several esteemed Brethren: R W Bro. Charles Knipe, V W Bro. Frank Richardson, V W Bro. Sam McIntyre, W Bro. Richard Heslip and V W Bro. Tom Kenny, to their families and loved ones we extend our sincere sympathy.

Finally

I would extend our grateful thanks to the Grand Secretary and Assistant to the Grand Secretary with best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Also to Heather and her staff at Freemason’s Hall for all their ready help and support during 2016.

We are grateful for the dedication of the permanent Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge, especially the Provincial Grand treasurer, V W Bro. John James, the Provincial Grand secretary, V W Bro. Gilbert T Irvine and the Assistant Grand Secretary, W Bro. James Blair.

To those halls and lodges who provide accommodation and refreshments for our Communications and meetings; also those Lodges who have extended a warm welcome and generous hospitality to the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge during official visits, thank you.

To my wife Corrine and all the other understanding wives and families of busy senior Officers, I thank them for their support and understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 2019
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