On Saturday 19 November 2022 the Provincial Grand Senatus Annual Meeting was held in Gateshead. Although the expected attendance of 90 Companions was reduced with several of our members from Scotland unable to travel due to cancellation of trains following extensive flooding, we still had a wonderful turn out of 60 Provincial members and 18 guests.
The Meeting started in silent tribute in remembrance of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a memoriam to 5 Companions called to Higher Service since our last AGM in November 2021 in a very dignified manner with prayers from the Provincial Episcipous T. W. David Railson.
After a friendly introduction of our Distinguished Visitors by our Provincial Grand Summus Michael A. Jacques he also acknowledged the presence of 3 Provincial Grand Supreme Rulers from the OSM Provinces of Durham, Northumberland and East Scotland and other Heads of Orders including the recently appointed Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, Prof. Denovan K. Wilson.
Following usual administrative matters including minutes, accounts, and the re-election of the Provincial Grand Treasurer Mark J. Gilpin, the Provincial Summus re-appointed his Deputy, Gary Douglas Taylor.
The Provincial Grand Summus then thanked Comp. Colin Hume for 4 years distinguished service as Assistant Provincial Grand Summus which he had carried out in an exemplary manner befitting of such a dedicated Freemason.
The new Assistant Provincial Grand Summus, Morgan McDonald, ProvGSR East Scotland, then entered in procession and was Obligated, Invested, Installed and after Proclamation by the Deputy Provincial GDC Peter Layton, was saluted with five by members of the Province.
The Officers appointed to assist the running of the Province for the ensuing year were then invested by the Provincial Summus who also promoted Martyn W Greene to Past Provincial Grand Chancellor, T Gordon Mitchell and T Ewan Notman to Past Provincial Grand Registrar and S Jim Neil to Past Provincial Grand Lecturer.
The Provincial Grand Summus then Addressed the Senatus and gave thanks to all for attending today especially those that had travelled great distances in such inclement weather. Special thanks were given to the administration team led by John D Watts, Prov Recorder and the ceremonial team led by ProvGDC Peter J. Ronan paying especial tribute to the retiring DepProvGDC Peter Layton and AsstProvGDC Bill Chrystal and for wonderful fanfares and music provided by ProvGOrg Clive Warham.
After the meeting 70 Companions repaired to a fine festive board where chef Neil and his catering team had risen to the challenge of providing a Durham & Northumberland theme by dressing the tables in blue and yellow (the county colours of Durham), red and yellow (the county colours of Northumberland and serving a 4-course banquet including Northumberland Broth and Durham Trifle (blue jelly, yellow custard).
Those involved in the planning and execution of this meeting were delighted to receive this message from one of our guests the following morning:
“A note to thank all of you for your warm welcome and hospitality yesterday, which was very much appreciated. Please permit me to add that the meeting itself was as well organised and performed as any I have attended in the last 15 years or so as a Provincial Officer – in any Order. The preparation was meticulous; any late changes, and we know the weather caused many, were dealt with seamlessly, and the whole proceedings were efficiently carried out with a warmth, caring and pleasant light humour rarely experienced in such quality and quantity. It was a real pleasure to be part of it.”