Bro. Wilson will be invested at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge in March.
Bro. Lord Cadogan has an unparalleled record of service to English Freemasonry since he became Senior Grand Warden in 1969. He was, of course, an ex officio member of the Board during his year of office, and was one of the members appointed annually by the Grand Master from 1983 until he became President in October 1999.
During that period he was Vice-President in 1991 and 1992 and served as Chairman of the Finance Committee from 1991 until he became President.
In the meantime, he had been doing sterling work for the Masonic charities, first as a member of the Board of Management of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, and afterwards as the first President, from 1981, of the Masonic Foundation for the Aged and Sick, later succeeding RW Bro. Sir Ian Percival as President of the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys in 1993.
Those of us who know him well are aware that behind a somewhat forbidding exterior he is a kind and approachable man, with a wide knowledge and experience of Freemasonry in this country and elsewhere.
He is a Mason who performs many personal sincere and kind acts of charity quietly and generously.
As President of the Board, reduced in size almost exactly at the time he took over the office, he has presided with kindness and efficiency over its meetings and has seen through the major transition of London from its old status of being directly under the Grand Master, administered through the agency of the Board and the Grand Secretary, via the period of London Management to its new status as a Metropolitan Area with its own Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Master.
During his time, we have seen the highly successful Freemasonry in the Community project, the introduction of Masonic Quarterly - MQ - as a greatly enhanced replacement for the Grand Secretary's newsletter, and the installation of a new and greatly improved membership database for Grand Lodge.
Brethren, I am delighted to be able to tell you that when the MW The Grand Master attends Grand Lodge at the March Quarterly Communication he intends to confer on Bro. Lord Cadogan the rank of Past Deputy Grand Master.
Brethren, 12 years ago today I was appointed and invested as Deputy Grand Master. Since then I have been through many memorable experiences both in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Great moments of rejoicing such as the 275th Anniversary of this Grand Lodge in Earls Court; great moments of sadness, deputising for the late Pro Grand Master, Lord Farnham, and supporting him at his hugely courageous last appearance here when he presided with such courage and great dignity; and then recently that great meeting at the Albert Hall to found the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London.
I have also had the privilege of attending Districts and other Grand Lodges abroad, installing many Provincial and District Grand Masters and attending many 200th anniversaries of private Lodges throughout the Craft.
So I look back with grateful thanks and with humility that I have been allowed to take part and work with many Rulers and been permitted to influence, or at least try to influence, the thinking and policies of this Ancient and Honourable Institution and our Great Masonic Charities.
As announced in September I am being succeeded by a Mason of great standing, well-known to you all, RW Bro. Peter Lowndes, the recently retired Grand Director of Ceremonies. Bro. Lowndes will be appointed and installed on 10th March. I wish him well.
I thank you all, not forgetting those at Freemasons' Hall, many of them unseen, for your support and encouragement. I also sincerely thank the Pro Grand Master for allowing me to preside, for the last time, at Grand Lodge today.