Bro Michael is probably the most senior Grand Secretary in the world, having held that office for some 24 years since 1981. He is certainly one of the best known and most respected, and we in the United Grand Lodge of England will be sorry not to have the benefit of his wise counsel, kindness and wit in our official meetings with the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
I have invited him to address a few words to our Grand Lodge. Before I do so, however, I would like to present him with a gift, on behalf of this Grand Lodge, as a token of our respect and appreciation for all he has done for Freemasonry during his long Masonic career.
It is largely thanks to him that we have always enjoyed good relations with our sister Constitution. It is a spirit decanter, Brethren, and I know that he will be particularly pleased that it also comes with a bottle of his favourite spirit.