A sense of optimism
With planning for the Royal Albert Hall celebrations well in hand, Coordinator of Tercentenary Planning Keith Gilbert looks forward to the expanding calendar of events in the Provinces and Districts
The team of volunteers planning the central Tercentenary events is growing. In addition to myself, we have Tim Pope, the secretary of the Planning Committee; Ian Chandler, who is responsible for organising the transport for our distinguished guests over three days, as well as our own brethren, from the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) to Battersea Evolution (BE); and Gerry Hann, who is masterminding the major celebration at the RAH.
Taking on coordination of aspects of the three-day central events are Marc Wentworth (Mansion House), Stephen Finch (BE), John Clark (streaming the RAH across the country and the world) and Bob and Darren Upton (Grand Connaught Rooms).
Places at the RAH and BE have been allocated to Metropolitan, Provinces and Districts, who are now considering best practice for distribution among their brethren. Recent successes, such as the tickets for the Grand Ball selling within a short time of release and the sale of Tercentenary Jewels already passing 14,000, gives me a total sense of optimism.
The number of enquiries about dining places at BE means that we would be able to fill the venue twice over. Feedback from 2017 Provincial and District representatives on interest in their events suggests large numbers will be attending, and leads me to feel that 2017 will be a highlight in our masonic lives.
Spreading the word
Another success was the distribution of the Tercentenary Sticker in a copy of Freemasonry Today. What a great opportunity to show people we Freemasons have a very important birthday to celebrate.
John Parry, the organiser of the Met’s contribution to the Lord Mayor’s Show, set up the hashtag #tercentenarychallenge on Twitter and started using the tagline ‘Where will you stick yours?’ Just five days after launching the challenge, it had 1,000 hits a day, and by day 15 it had more than 22,600 impressions on Twitter.
But you can help us get more. Just put your Tercentenary Sticker, which would have come with your previous copy of Freemasonry Today, in an interesting or fun place, take a photo and tweet it to @JohnMetevent. Use the hashtag #tercentenarychallenge and you could win a prize for the best idea, most unique photo or largest number of retweets.
Classic visit from sir stirling moss
For the past 10 years the Masonic Classic Vehicle Club (MCVC) has mounted displays at the NEC Birmingham’s Classic Motor Show, the largest indoor classic car exhibition in the UK.
In 2013 the club’s display theme was Historic Competition Cars, with exhibits including a 1958 Maserati 250F F1 car owned by Gerry Hann, Berkshire Deputy PGM; a 1953 C-type Jaguar (replica) constructed and owned by Phil Cottrell of Lodge of Aviation, No. 7210, in London; a 1932 Austin 7 Ulster displayed by Roger Gourd from Merantune Lodge, No. 6149, in Surrey; and a 1922 AC Sports from the Brooklands Museum, loaned by Steve Gray.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the club year was when Sir Stirling Moss, considered by many to be the greatest British racing driver, visited the MCVC stand at the NEC.
All aboard for a fun day
Masons from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire raised over £42,000 at the Chiltern Centre Diamond Jubilee Family Day at Fawley Hill, near Henley, in Oxfordshire. Held at the Fawley Hill Railway and Museum, thanks to the generosity of Sir William and Lady McAlpine, the event was in aid of the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, which has lost significant government funding.
Chiltern Centre Chair of Trustees, Paul Barrett, said the day ‘exceeded expectations with more than 3,000 people attending’. The masonic team was led by John Clark (Buckinghamshire), Roger Hampshire (Oxfordshire) and Gerry Hann (Berkshire).