May 2018

Worthy Knights, it is very gratifying to see so many smiling and happy faces. Earlier, I had the great pleasure of introducing our visitors from other Divisions and I now formally welcome them and wish them a very enjoyable experience here today. I also extend a sincere welcome to all the Worthy Knights of the East Midlands Division and I take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued and loyal support. This is your meeting please do enjoy it. It is wonderful to have so many Heads of Orders here this afternoon, all of whom have very busy Masonic commitments and I thank them for their continued support. It is also a great pleasure to see my predecessors, R. Ill. Kt. Michael Roalfe and R. Ill. Kt. Max Bayes here this evening: a very warm welcome to both of you. Thank you Max, for allowing us to hold our divisional meeting at this marvellous venue again this year.

Those who have helped in the organisation of today's meeting are too numerous to mention by name. Many of your efforts go largely unseen by many but are greatly appreciated and I extend a heart-felt thank you to you all.

V. Ill. Kt. Peter Dawson has had a very trying and difficult year. As many of you will know, Peter is not able to be with us this afternoon due to his ongoing health problems. Behind the scenes he has been a source of great wisdom and guidance and accepted my decision to ask him to stand down from his office for a period with great grace and understanding. I am sure he and his wife Cass will benefit from the reduction in pressure. I spoke to Peter this morning and give you the latest news. He has bullous lung disease in his right lung, which I believe is a type of emphysema: hence the need for oxygen. The good news is that no cancer has been detected and that Peter's damaged left vocal cord is starting to regenerate its nerve tissue. He is waiting for his next appointment with his consultant. I am sure you will join me in thanking Peter for his dedication, wise counsel, friendship and support during his various tenures as Divisional Treasurer, Divisional Recorder and Deputy Intendant-General. Our Alms collection today will be donated to the British Lung Foundation: please give generously.

P. Kt. Tim Barrett has worked very efficiently and tirelessly behind the scenes, thank you Tim for all your support. Our Treasurer Ill. Kt. David Smith has kept a very steady hand on the Division's finances. He occasionally reminds me how robust the Division's finances are, for which I and we are very grateful. Thank you David.

Ill. Kt. Terry Roy has been an outstanding supporter in his role as Divisional Viceroy and I am very pleased that he has agreed to continue in Office for a second year.

I thank my brother Ill. Kt. Noel Manby as Divisional Marshal for his continued support together with his Deputy, P. Kt. Tim Almond and Ill. Kt. John White, the Divisional Registrar, who have all escorted me on various Official Visits. It would be extremely remiss of me not to mention our Divisional Captain of the Sepulchre Guard, W. Kt. Stuart Morgan, (who unfortunately is not here today) and his team who travel around the Division and perform to such a high standard. Thank you all.

During the year, P. Kt. Tim Barrett and I have had the great privilege of visiting many other Divisions at their Annual Meetings. The hospitality and Christian fellowship extended at those meetings is heart-warming and very much appreciated. We thoroughly enjoy being in the company of friends; we are made to feel very welcome and consider ourselves extremely privileged to be able to do so.

Our statistics show that throughout the year, the various Conclaves have installed nine new members as Worthy Knights and we have had two joining members. There have been ten resignations and two deaths: thus giving a net increase of one for the year.

I now take this opportunity to congratulate those Officers who have either received a first appointment to Divisional rank today or have received a promotion. All appointments and promotions were given serious consideration and all have been thoroughly well deserved. I look forward to seeing you at your Conclaves throughout the year and I feel sure that you will promote the work of the Conclaves and the Order.

During the year we have made two official team visits: an Installation at Luttertworth and an Enthronement at Peterborough and I thank those Divisional Officers who have given so much support throughout the year.

I am sure all those who attended gained valuable experience and had an enjoyable time. These visits afford tremendous opportunities to meet members from other Conclaves: to discuss procedures and cement friendships. I look forward to good support from the new Divisional Officers and Sovereigns, Viceroys, Generals and Marshals of the Conclaves on the occasion of future team visits.

On the Tuesday 3 rd July, Grand Imperial Conclave will be held at Great Queen Street and I am sure this will be a splendid occasion. I'm thrilled that several of our members will be in attendance to receive either a promotion or first appointment to Grand Rank.

They are: Ill. Kt. Richard Bedells of Rushden Conclave, who will be promoted to Past Grand Chamberlain, Ill. Kt. Mark Bigam of Isle of Patmos Conclave, who will be promoted to Past Grand Orator and Ill. Kt. Arthur March of Rushden Conclave who will be promoted to Past Grand Standard Bearer Constantine. P. Kt. Malcolm Talbot (Isle of Patmos Conclave) will receive a first appointment to Past Grand Prefect and P. Kt. Roger Whitbread of John Wiclif Conclave will receive a first appointment to Past Grand Herald. I am sure you will all join me in congratulating each of them.

Last November the Sepulchre Guard mess was reintroduced and a very successful evening it was too. It is planned that this will become a bi-ennial event and a new innovation is to be introduced: the Divisional Church Service. This will be held on Sunday 28 th October at St Mary's Church, Stamford and will be preceded by a family Sunday lunch at the Stamford Masonic Hall, where there is ample car parking and it's a five minute walk from the Church. The Service will be conducted by W. Kt. Rev'd Tony Avery and it is planned for this event to alternate with the Sepulchre Guard Mess on a bi-ennial basis. The date is extremely significant as the majority of you will know: it is the anniversary of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge at which Constantine defeated Maxentius. Please bring yourselves, your family members and friends who may be interested in our Christian Order.

I am very pleased to announce the production of a new East Midlands Division Marshal's Guidance. This will be made available to all Marshals within the Division after this Divisional meeting. It has been produced to assist in the general planning and organisation of the Conclave and will be available in PDF format from the Divisional Marshal upon request. It is not meant to replace the rubric in the ritual books and I recommend its use for all your meetings: we'll keep an eye on future proceedings with great interest!

At last year's divisional meeting I asked whether anybody would be willing and able to put together a Divisional website. There was one volunteer. The website continues to develop and I thank P. Kt. Malcolm Talbot sincerely, for the work he has singlehandedly devoted to this task. I feel there is still more to come; we have plans to publish the year book on line as well as in hard copy and I ask that you each have a look at the website, the address of which is printed on every Conclave summons.

Worthy Knights, I thank you all for your support and friendship and ask you to remember the watchwords of our Order: Faith, Unity & Zeal.

May God bless you all.

R. Ill. Kt. S. John Manby - Intendant-General

Ill Kt Noel C Manby - Divisional Marshal, V Ill Kt Michael A Robinson - Deputy Intendant General,

Rt Ill Kt John Manby - Intendant General, Ill Kt Terry Roy - Divisional Viceroy, Ill Kt David Buxton - Divisional High Prelate