He added: "More importantly, any member of the public who attended one of our events could not fail to have been impressed by the general feelings of Masonic goodwill and enthusiasm.
"Hundreds of thousands of pounds were donated to local worthy causes and many people will benefit from the generosity and efforts of our members.
"But, above all, the feeling that struck me most as I paraded in full regalia down Warwick High Street, was that at last we were doing something open and proactive in our communities to demonstrate the good things we stand for, and to show how proud we are to be members of this antient and honourable institution:'
Lord Northampton added: "The whole Craft pulled together to get our message across and we had great fun doing it. We started this initiative with a service in St. Paul's Cathedral and it was encouraging to hear the Dean of St. Paul's extolling the virtues of Freemasonry.
"I wrote to thank him for his address, and in his reply he said, and I quote: 'I am well aware of the misrepresentations that you and your colleagues in Freemasonry have suffered over the years, and not least of all from the hands of many churchmen, and I hope that what I tried to say in my sermon has gone a little way towards redressing the balance'.
The Pro Grand Master thanked Assistant Grand Secretary Graham Redman for the work that he and others put into the arrangements for the service, and Grand Lodge Director of Communications John Hamill and his department for their efforts at the centre of communications, dealing with the media and co-ordinating the different events.
Lord Northampton said: "Bro Hamill alone gave live broadcasts on some 35 occasions. We are very fortunate to have two such dedicated Brethren in positions of great responsibility and their knowledge of internal and external matters is invaluable.
"I am pleased to tell you that in recognition of their past service to Freemasonry, and of course in expectation of more to come, the Grand Master has promoted both of them to Past Grand Sword Bearer and has asked me to invest them today on his behalf. [loud applause].
Turning to other matters, Lord Northampton said that in order to stop any further speculation, the Grand Master has indicated that if Grand Lodge in March 2003 and Grand Chapter in May 2003 approve the changes to the Book of Constitutions and the Royal Arch Regulations to make possible the creation of a Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London, he intends to appoint RW Bro the Rt. Hon. Lord Millett PJGW as the first Metropolitan Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for London.
Bro Lord Millett in turn has chosen VW Bro Russell Race PGSwdB, GStwd, DepProvGM for East Kent, as his intended Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master and Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent.
Moreover, on the inauguration of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter, the Grand Master intends to confer the rank of Past Metropolitan Grand Master and Past Metropolitan Grand Superintendent on RW Bro Rex Thorne PJGW in recognition of all the work he has done as Chairman of London Management, particularly in preparing for the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter. [applause].
"Finally, Brethren, it may amuse you to know that a group of senior masons recently attended a presentation at the Royal College of Surgeons.
"Needless to say I was chosen to perform various surgical techniques with the Assistant Grand Master acting as my assistant surgeon.
"One of the procedures involved the simulated retrieval of some kidney stones. The operation seemed to go well, but would the brother who took the photograph please send me the negative. [more laughter].
"I wish you all a very happy Masonic year in the season ahead:'