ANNUAL CRAFT INVESTITURE
27 April 2011
An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG
I welcome you all to this Annual Investiture and I should like to congratulate all those who have become Grand Officers or who have been promoted in Grand Rank. This is a special day for you. At the same time I thank those other Grand Officers who, reappointed from year to year, do so much to ensure continuity in the direction of the Craft.
Grand Rank should be regarded as a challenge to greater effort and as an incentive to shoulder greater responsibilities. Some of you already hold executive appointments in Metropolitan, the Provinces and the Districts. All of you, whether you hold these appointments or not, must remember the importance of training the next generation, which is precisely why the Mentoring Scheme has been set in motion.
The Mentoring Scheme is designed eventually to mentor members at all stages of their Masonic progress. Initially this will be especially for candidates during the three degrees and to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. All Provinces now have a Provincial Grand Mentor who will be responsible for ensuring the selection of a mentoring coordinator in each Lodge. The mentoring coordinator, in turn, will select the member in the Lodge with the right personality and knowledge to actually do the mentoring of each individual. The Pro Grand Master announced yesterday to the Provincial and District Grand Masters the formation of a working party, under the chairmanship of the Grand Secretary, to look at for example, the selection of coordinators and mentors as well as guidelines to make sure that the messages are consistent.
The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry. By ambassador I mean a member who not only lives as honest a life as possible, but also understands the meaning of the ritual and, importantly, is able and willing to talk about Freemasonry to family and friends. Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation. As Grand Officers I shall of course be relying upon you to give your full support to the Mentoring Scheme as it develops.
Brethren, in July I visited the Province of Buckinghamshire to see their Freemasonry in the Community projects. I was particularly impressed with their iHelp youth competition – involving young groups competing for prize-money to show the positive side of young people – and the Rock Ride covering a 1,500 mile bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School to raise funds for non Masonic Charities within the Province. These projects are supported by the local dignitaries and are enormously important for our external image.
Another important example of our external image is the very successful event business run here at Freemasons’ Hall. As one of the Unique Venues of London we are highly respected within the event industry. I was pleased to hear that, last year, we had 53,000 non Masonic visitors to our events. Events that included the London Fashion Week and the after party for the latest Harry Potter world premier! Many of our visitors did not know that they could come into a Masonic building and all of them I believe left having had a very happy experience.
I understand that the head of Disaster Management at the British Red Cross came to speak at the March Quarterly Communication. This was timely as I am particularly mindful of our Brethren in Christchurch, South Island New Zealand with the earthquake, and those north of Rio de Janeiro in the District Grand Lodge of South America, Northern Division with the mudslides and flooding. Both these Districts received immediate help from the Grand Charity through the British Red Cross. I am pleased to report that though there was considerable structural damage none of our members were lost.
In conclusion I should like to congratulate the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies and the Grand Secretary and his staff for all they have done to make this meeting such a success.
The Duke spoke to everyone present and saw the work of the province in its ‘Freemasonry in the Community’ projects, particularly the iHelp youth competition and the Rock Ride 1,500-mile charity bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School.
The former project has involved heats of young groups in Buckinghamshire competing for prize-money worth £13,500 to show the positive side of young people, while the latter project has raised around £70,000 so far, including funds for several non-masonic charities - the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), the Royal British Legion, Air Ambulance and the Pace Centre, Aylesbury, who provide an education for life through programmes which incorporate all daily living activities and address the needs of the whole child. In addition, the Rock Ride also raised £22,000 for the province’s RMTGB 2010 festival.
The continuing support the RMTGB provides to young people is only possible due to the donations that are often inspired by the imaginative fundraising activities of Freemasons.
This summer has witnessed prime examples of such imagination, with three incredible journeys being made to raise money for the RMTGB.
To mark the launch of the 2016 Festival, John Donoghue from the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight cycled over 500 miles to deliver Festival details to every masonic centre in the Province.
After four days of cycling, John said: ‘I thought it would be an eye-catching way to highlight the Festival and hope it marks the start of a successful period of fundraising for the RMTGB.’
John had previously donated a kidney to his daughter, making his journey even more remarkable. He is hoping his endeavours will raise in excess of £20,000 towards the Festival Appeal.
Manuel Mouzo and his son Sebastian walked the El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. Manuel, from Rochester in East Kent, said: ‘I had always wanted to make this spectacular journey and raising money for the RMTGB made the experience even more enjoyable.’
Their twenty-six-day journey has so far raised £1,000.
Buckinghamshire Freemasons organised the Rock Ride, a 1,500 mile cycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School. Nine cyclists took part in the journey which lasted fourteen days and involved climbs totalling twice the height of Mount Everest. As well as helping a number of other charities, the Rock Ride has so far raised over £22,000 for the 2010 Festival in support of the RMTGB.
Les Hutchinson, RMTGB Chief executive, commented: ‘These remarkable fundraising journeys show the charitable nature of Freemasonry at its very best. I am extremely grateful to everyone who raises funds for the RMTGB. We rely heavily on these important initiatives to support our lifechanging work, particularly during these difficult times.’
Go to www.rmtgb.org for further information about the work of the RMTGB and fundraising.
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £50,000 to the Calibre Audio Library, based at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The presentation was made by Provincial Grand Master Ray Reed, to Calibre director Michael Lewington and chairman Martin Findlay.
Calibre is a national charity which lends audio books to around 20,000 members across the