David S. Pratt
Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren,
Increasing Membership * Raising our Civic Profile * Enhancing Member Experiences
You will know that I have set these three specific Objectives for this Province that dovetails beautifully into the UGLE Strategy:
It is tremendous to see some of our Lodges being successful with an abundance of candidates. Well Done! We all need to share the best practice of success and to plan how to maintain the interest of all new members through Mentorship, education and involvement.
The Membership Pathway - Proven Solutions & All in one place!
The plans to provide briefings and support to Lodges are in final preparation.
WBro. Andy Brown, PAsstGStdB, our Provincial Membership Officer and Team will be delivering presentations around the Province. The Membership Pathway? It works!
My thoughts? I am not interested in having any “targets” as I only want to attract quality candidates of the right calibre. Just think! If every Lodge in our Province admitted just two new members, then that would mean an overall membership increase of nearly 400!
Three new members would nudge an increase of nearly 600!
Now wouldn’t that be tremendous?
I do firmly believe that there are literally many thousands of suitable candidates “out there”.
Our challenge is to make contact and to show them just how much that they would enjoy by joining our ranks.
We will assist, motivate and support Lodges with guidance, enthusiasm and tangible ideas.
There is no intention to recruit members for Lodges centrally as I need individual Lodges to seize the initiative. If however, a Lodge does not wish to do anything and just wait for a miracle to happen then there is not much can be done.
Considering the predictable consequences of such inaction will be important.
As the Bard put it – “Nothing will come of nothing!” (King Lear, Act 1)
I need all of our members to feel empowered and confident in being pro-active in asking suitable family members, colleagues and friends to join their Lodges.
As this may be a new approach for some, some Brethren may feel uncomfortable initially.
I have asked W Bro. Andy and his Team to cover this specifically during the Briefings to show how the “Best” do this successfully and comfortably.
Looking for initial discussion points within your own Lodge to start the process?
“What is the profile and culture of our Lodge? Why should anyone want to join our Lodge?”
Open Days - Demonstrating to the World the beneficial effects of Freemasonry
I am encouraging different types of Open Days: Awareness events in City Centres and Lodge/Building Open Days for prospective candidates. Provincial financial support needed? Please discuss this with your Liaison Officer and Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
Raising our Civic Profile.
Yorkshire Day - Ripon - 1st of August
We were there again - Among many Civic Leaders and with an increased contingent!
A splendid day at Ripon and so well organised by Ripon Council and the Yorkshire Society.
There is something tremendously uplifting to march behind a military band.
“Yorkshire Freemasons United“- Together with my counterpart and friend from the North & East Province, RWBro. Jeff Gillyon, we marched with our Brethren through the City in the procession to the Service of Celebration at Ripon Cathedral.
The 2019 celebration will be held in Whitby, and we shall be there again and in force!
Why not come and join the Masonic contingent with your wife/partner, families and friends?
Provincial Grand Master’s Fund
It is a delight to see the press coverage when presentations are made to the worthy recipients. More, please! The community impact of our donations is enormous, and the generosity of Freemasons is always appreciated. Let’s choose to make a difference.
I was delighted to be informed that over 400 of the special ties have now been purchased by Brethren. Please accept my sincere thanks. As we wear the ties during the month of November, it will be a fitting and discreet tribute to all those who have made the supreme sacrifice during times of conflict.
“When you go Home, tell them of us and say, for your Tomorrow, we gave our Today” John Maxwell Edmunds.
Three “Masonic” Mayors
I have written to three of our Brethren who have attained the distinction of becoming Mayors this year. We are all very proud of any Brother who becomes a “First Citizen”.
Enhancing Member Experiences
As a “Member” Organisation, I would like every Brother to derive the greatest of personal satisfaction and enjoyment from being a Freemason. I am always looking for ideas and encourage every Brother to give suggestions - both within your own Lodge and also for Province-wide.
Company of Provincial Grand Stewards
I was inspired as I watched proceedings at the inaugural meeting held at Castleford Masonic Hall on the 20th of August. Positive energy and enthusiasm abounded with the objective of providing support for Provincial Projects and Initiatives. History was made! Congratulations to WBro. John Williams, PProvGStwd who was elected as the first ever Chairman of the Company. I have thrown down the gauntlet for the Company to “make a difference” and based on the motivation exhibited at the meeting, I am sure that the response will be positive. You will see members of “The Company” supporting such activities as the cascade of the “Membership Pathway” and Remembrance Day Parades. The “2019 Provincial Quiz” is under the banner of this band of Brothers, and following the outstanding success of the 2018 Quiz, great things are anticipated for 2019. Watch this space!
First Team Outing for the 2018/2018 Acting Officers
Well, we went to Boothferry Lodge in Goole and had a great evening!
“Oh, what a Night! What an Atmosphere!” An absolutely brilliant first Team outing of the year. We witnessed with pleasure the delivery of a tremendous Third Degree ceremony that was enjoyed and appreciated by all. An excellent standard of ritual and clearly the product of hard work, dedication and rehearsal. Out thanks to the Master, Warden and Brethren.
It was wonderful to hear the buzz of conversation at the Festive Board – Great Team bonding. My especial thanks to my Provincial Grand Stewards for getting stuck in to assist with serving and also clearing the tables. “Here’s to the next time Team!”
Our New Provincial Website
This Project is coming to fruition, and all seems “good to go” as scheduled. This is great news!
I want to thank Lodges for supplying our Webmaster with examples of their Lodge badges/emblems for the Website. We live in a visual age, and such illustrations add interest and enhance the on-screen presentation. More, please!
Electronic Provincial Honours System
First indications are very positive. We already have had forms submitted at a much higher response rate than the former manual system.
UGLE League Table - Media Coverage
No: 1 on the UGLE League Table - Again! This is not luck but down to really hard work by W Bro. David Simister, PProvSGW our Provincial Information Officer and the Team.
I would like every Brother to feel confident to talk about Freemasonry in any setting and especially if with the Media. I have asked the Provincial Education Team to conduct some research to see if there is an appetite for providing support learning activities for Members.
The trained members of the Provincial Communications Committee stand ready to assist with advice and guidance should any Brother needing urgent support.
Dealing with the Media? Always best to get it right - first time!
Installation Panel Briefing - Batley
Many Brethren look at September as the start of the new Masonic season.
It’s true that several Lodges meet every month of the year and never have a close season. For me, the Briefing Meeting for my Installation Panel Members heralds the start of the new Masonic season and focusses the mind on our successes and current issues.
How times have changed! Masonic news and information are now more readily available than ever before and available almost instantaneously. The important role of my Installation Representatives continues – For the night of an Installation when one of my Representatives attends, they are the most senior Provincial Representative. All are carefully selected and are both knowledgeable and approachable. I would ask every Brother to listen carefully to their comments at the Festive Board. There is no set script, and each Representative is empowered to shape the content of his message as appropriate for the audience and for that moment in time. Together with Lodge Liaison Offers, my Representatives provide a vital conduit for information to flow between the Province and Lodges. I am always most interested to read the Reports regarding Installation Meetings. Reported standards of conduct and ceremonial continue to provide satisfaction, and if there is ever a situation revealed, this allows resources to be allocated to provide appropriate and timely support.
Your Province is calling
Confirming that will have seen the request for volunteers to join the Provincial Professional Register:
1. Provincial Grand Treasurer
2. HR Generalists - Ideally CIPD Qualified or similar
Please do not be shy! These are golden opportunities to be seized and enjoyed!
I cannot promise that every volunteer will be asked to become involved however I will try to involve as many as possible in Provincial activities as required.
Provincial Office - Staff Changes
We are all saddened to have received the resignation of our Office Manager, Mrs Ruth Waythe. We will all miss that cheery Welsh voice on the telephone.
Thank-you Ruth for your service that has been most appreciated over the years.
We all wish you every success in your future career. It will be a challenge to replace you.
As a result of receiving the resignation, the need to move quickly has been paramount.
The Office Manager vacancy details have been circulated, and a recruitment and selection schedule agreed. It is anticipated that there is likely to be a resource gap until the Office Manager vacancy is filled. I would ask Brethren to carefully consider if they need to contact the Provincial Office during September. Interim arrangements have been put in place to ensure that essential activities continue and I am grateful to all involved in ensuring the smooth operation of our Province.
Some Personal Musings to Close August
Masonic Stone Laying Ceremony at Ripon Cathedral - The Re-run!
There was a technical malfunction, of the camera, on the actual day of our Tercentenary Celebratory Service. It was, therefore, necessary to re-run the ceremony to record the event for posterity. With some clever “cutting and pasting”, this now appears on YouTube here
Brethren, this is really worth seeing and for sharing with family and friends.
Celebration Lunch - Retired Provincial Grand Secretary
The Rulers and Past Rulers of the Province hosted a farewell and thank-you lunch for our Past Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro. Keith Tolan, PAGDC.
Thank-you for your service W Bro. Keith! It was a goodly turnout and a lovely occasion.
W Bro. Keith continues to serve as ProvGSE in the Royal Arch until November.
Britannic Lodge of Madeira (Regular/Legal Grand Lodge of Portugal)
My thanks to W Bro. Doug Mills, PProvSGW who has sourced some Working Tools in response to my appeal. Many thanks, W Bro. Doug!
Gratefully received, they will be faithfully applied across the water.
Now here’s a thing! On the 1st of October, I will be installed as Master of the Lodge much to my amazement! How did that happen I ask myself?!!! I said that I was happy to assist the Lodge and the next thing I knew ... Does that sound familiar Brethren?
If you happen to be in Funchal on the 1st of October - Do let me know.
You would be very welcome to attend the meeting and then to enjoy excellent Madeiran cuisine and wine at the Installation Banquet.
2018 - Best Year Ever!
Fraternal Regards and My Very Best Wishes to All,
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren of our own wonderful Province and Families and Friends and everyone from elsewhere and also overseas who read my Monthly message.
It’s July 2018, and plenty of exciting things are happening!
(That’s in addition to the FIFA World Cup and The Championship at Wimbledon!).
I have been amazed and delighted by the number of positive comments received in support of my June comments on this subject. It does go to show just how easy it is for new practices to creep in and then to become accepted as the tradition! We all have a part to play in maintaining high standards, and I do look especially to my Grand Officers, Provincial Grand Officers and Past Masters to assist and support the Masters of their own Lodges in this matter. The solution is “More Light than Heat” please when correcting any bad habits that have crept in! Gentle guidance is always more effective than public admonition.
Volunteers - The On-going Provincial Talent Search
My personal mission to identify and harness potential and ability within our Province continues! No Past Master is ever a Past Mason, and our newest members also have specialist talents. There is always much to do - So with apologies to the famous RW Bro. Kitchener poster:
The invitation for volunteers included in the Monthly mailing to Lodges was of a non-specific nature. May I ask any Brother who is keen to respond to the invitation to hold fire as such requests will only be circulated when specific skills being sought? Of course, I cannot guarantee that every Volunteer will be called upon however willingness is always noted.
Our Provincial Grand Treasurer, W Bro. Brian Priestley, PJGD has intimated that he wishes to stand down after many years of stalwart service to the Province. Thank-you indeed W Bro. Brian for your prudent and professional stewardship of our financial affairs. W Bro. Priestley has been such a reliable Brother who has always been a source of wise counsel to me and also to my predecessors.
You will be aware that I have advertised for a successor Provincial Grand Treasurer and I take this opportunity to confirm that the current rank or age of any applicant is irrelevant. The essential attributes are professional competence and experience to be able to discharge the duties of the important Executive Office. It is likely that the Office will appeal to Past Masters and the Role Profile in circulation provides details of what is expected.
Do not be bashful! If you would like to become involved in the efficient running of our magnificent Province and its many and varied, exciting activities, please email the Province Grand Lodge Office with details of your specific skills and experience when you see something that is right up your street.
The evolution of the Governance of our Province to a “Cabinet and Council” approach is already proving beneficial. Each of the Council Functional Heads has developed the first drafts of impressive strategic and operational plans. The final versions will be published on the **NEW** Provincial Website that will be released on the 3rd of September.
The Provincial Company of Stewards
Sometimes we get it wrong! A final check of all the operational documentation and working practices revealed something! The use of the word “Board” for anything under the United Grand Lodge of England is restricted, so the name has been changed to “The Company”.
The inaugural meeting will be held in August to introduce this new and exciting support service for designated Provincial Projects.
Remembrance Day - Ties & Parades 2018
I will be delighted to provide a general dispensation for Brethren to wear regalia in Public at Remembrance Day Parades. All Brethren have my encouragement to attend as representatives of the Craft to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in time of conflict. Discretion and the weather will determine the choice of regalia to be worn if any,
I do ask Brethren not to wear their Masonic jewels as this can cause confusion to the general public can mistake Masonic Jewels for gallantry and/or service awards.
In my July Message, I introduced details of an optional special “Masonic Remembrance” tie that may be purchased and worn at Craft and Royal Arch meetings in this Province during November only. This approval extends beyond 2018 and is granted in advance for each November until further notice. The details of how to purchase this optional tie are in current circulation.
I am grateful to the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Derbyshire who has advised me regarding this tie. My approval extends for the tie to be worn at our Meetings by visitors from outside our Province for November only. I reiterate that the wearing of this tie is optional and entirely a matter of personal choice.
Charity and Making a Difference for Families and our Communities
Personal or Family Distress? Our Provincial Confidential Helpline Number continues to provide a discreet option for communication with our Provincial Grand Almoner and his Team: 0344 902 0220. A similar Confidential Helpline Number also exists at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) in London: 0800 035 6090. It is occasionally appropriate to remind the Brethren that we are indeed a Fraternal Organisation and no Brother or his Family should ever be in distress or in need. I ask every Brother to ensure that that wives, widows, partners and children know about Masonic Charity and what to do and who to contact in cases of distress.
Our Communities? Grants from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund (ProvGM’s Fund) and also from the MCF continue to provide significant and very welcome support to our local Communities. Many and varied worthy local causes have been supported both big and small. One thing that continues to surprise me is that many Lodges and Chapters have never, or have rarely, applied to the ProvGM’s Fund for a grant to support a local worthy cause? I do suggest that everyone takes a look around their own communities as I am sure that additional opportunities exist to provide local support from the ProvGM’s Fund.
Provincial Honours Process - If you are due for Consideration in 2019 - Read On!
It’s goodbye to paper! A letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary has been included in the Monthly Mailing to Lodges detailing the changes to the Honours process with a move to full electronic completion and transmission.
NB: In terms of Data Protection and General Data Protection Regulations, the inclusion of such details on the documents falls within the ‘legitimate interest’ basis for the use of personal data.
It is vital to note that the Brother being considered for either First Appointment or Promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge now has the personal responsibility to complete and forward the document outlining personal contribution made to the Lodge, the Province and the wider Community. Brethren, I encourage you to be expansive and accurate on these forms by stating the facts and describing the impact of what you are doing or have done.
This does enable a consistent and objective analysis of each and every Brother under consideration.
The late RWBro. J. Trevor Broadley, one of my predecessors, captured the essence of Provincial Honours with that very apt Yorkshire saying: “You don’t get owt for nowt!”
If any Brother does not have access to electronic support there is no problem, please talk with your Liaison Officer for guidance and support as there will be an alternative solution.
Masonic Meeting Places
Our Province has the “distinction” of having the greatest number of Masonic Meeting Places.
You will know that the Masonic Meeting Places is one of the integral aspects of the UGLE Strategy for the development of Freemasonry.
The emphasis is focussed on both financial viability and quality of Member experience.
As Provincial Grand Master, I am charged with the responsibility of ensuring that each and every Masonic meeting place in this Province is fit for purpose and that I am satisfied that Lodges may continue to meet in the premises. This decision is not just based on the basic legal and regulatory requirements such as Fire, Hygiene, Health & Safety, etc.
As far as I am concerned these are givens and must always be in place to allow any building to accommodate a Lodge Meeting. My focus includes the immediate, mid-term and long-term financial viability of any Masonic Building and also upkeep, appearance, decoration and furnishing. A special consultative Team has been established to undertake the process of analysis. This Team is already performing well by offering suggestions for improvements and economies.
Some questions that every Brother should ask about his own Masonic Meeting Place:
I am pleased to learn that the Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works and his Team has received completed copies of the Masonic Meeting Places survey from 25 of our meeting places. On the other hand, I am perplexed by the fact that questionnaires have yet to be returned by 29 of our meeting places despite the form having been distributed to all Masonic Halls in January earlier this year.
I urge those Masonic Hall management teams which have not returned their completed survey to do so as soon as possible to avoid the necessity of further enquiries by the Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. I know W Bro. Martyn and his Team are willing to meet Hall management and to assist with the completion of the surveys if necessary.
Please do not hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07778 230851
Full Team Visit of the 2018/19 Acting Officers
All of the Team are very much looking forward to our first outing of the year:
Boothfrerry Lodge No: 7637 at Goole where we will be treated to a Third Degree Ceremony.
A reminder that the Provincial Office is open: Monday to Friday 10.00am to 3.00pm.
As I am passionately committed to ensuring that we have the most competent colleagues supporting this Province, the Office will be closed on the morning of Thursday 26th July and the afternoon of 31st July and 7th, 14th and 21st of August for staff training
Heads of Other Orders Meeting - “Our Extended Family of Freemasonry”
Our Annual Meeting was held at Morley where we discussed matters of mutual interest and ways in which can work together, especially in growing our respective memberships.
This is always a most convivial and worthwhile gathering. We all appear to share similar challenges and are happy to share ideas and initiatives.
It was a delight to learn that the “2018 Northern Masonic Variety Show” held at Bradford Grammar School and organised by the Order of Mark Master Masons was a great success and enjoyed by all. (I agree!). The “2020 Northern Masonic Variety Show” will be in support of the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund.
The Great Yorkshire Show
The sun shone, and the crowds came! Indeed they did! Once again a magnificent opportunity was seized to engage with the general public. For the first time, The Order of Women Freemasons joined us on the Stand, and their presence was warmly received. There is nothing new about such joint representations at events, e.g. it would not be possible to participate in a Fresher’s Week event at any University as a single-sex Organisation.
This fact is particularly relevant to the Universities Scheme Lodges. I can state without any hesitation that there is absolutely no intention for our respective Orders to become any closer as we both enjoy and indeed celebrate the fact that we are individually separate and distinct.
My sincere thanks to our “GYS Team” for their hard work in making this event happen.
A Request from Our Brethren “Over the Water” in Madeira
Being a new Lodge, they are short of a few items of equipment and need two Working tools:
1st Degree – Chisel
2nd Degree – Plumb-rule (Wooden)
Can anyone assist, please? Do please drop me a line.
Fraternal Regards and, as always, my very best wishes to All,
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master
My Beloved Brethren,
June is indeed “Bustin’ Out All Over” and so said, Rogers and Hammerstein.
It’s a lovely day, and I know that many Lodges will be in their Summer recess whereas a number of other Lodges are still meeting. The Rulers are also very busy and having only just conducted the Annual Provincial Meeting and Investiture at Harrogate, the essential business of the Province continues. This includes identifying potential, and the planning for 2019 has already begun. Now it does not happen very often, but sometimes a Brother, e.g. a joining Brother from another Province is not picked up by the automated records system.
It is ever my intention to prevent any Brother being disadvantaged by a systems deficiency so if you think that you are due for consideration for a first appointment or promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge in 2019 – Please talk with your Liaison Officer.
The Summer months are packed with Ruler planning meetings to ensure that we offer the best of member experiences for every Brother in our wonderful Province.
Decorum Matters - Yes indeed it does!
The longevity and ongoing health of Freemasonry can be put down in some considerable part to the very high standards that we have long upheld and practised – This includes the delivery of our ceremonial.
I must say that I am delighted with the quality of the ceremonial that I have had the pleasure to have witnessed in my Provincial perambulations. The participation of so many Brethren in the delivery of our ceremonies provides opportunity and creates a culture of involvement to ensure that the experience for our candidates is memorable. We are all the current custodians of standards and must be careful to pass on high standards to future generations.
Now the following may not apply to your own Lodge, however, I have observed an increasing trend of loud celebration and applause after individual pieces of the ritual are delivered.
On the one hand, no-one ever needs to tell a Brother that their delivery was not up to the mark – They know! On the other hand, some of our Brethren do the very, very best that they can, and it may not be perfect. These Brethren also need to be encouraged and celebrated.
So my request: To demonstrate to candidates that we always expect high standards and that a well-delivered piece of ritual is generally the rule and not the exception – By all means congratulate the delivering Brother(s) discreetly after the Lodge has been closed.
Please do not over-interpret my request Brethren – We should indeed celebrate success appropriately and at the same time not forgetting the efforts of Brethren who do their very best and who may not be able to achieve the levels of ritual perfection demonstrated by others. My request is to avoid raucous applause during the actual ceremony.
The Provincial Grand Master’s Fund (ProvGM’s Fund)
One of my very pleasant duties as Provincial Grand Master is to Chair the PGM’s Fund Committee where applications, sponsored by Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters, are considered. Approval of applications and any subsequent donations are certainly not my personal prerogative, and I do not carry a cheque-book or any cash with me to make immediate payment. After due deliberation and often robust discussions, the ProvGM’s Fund Committee recommends such applications as are considered worthy of support to the Directors of the West Riding Masonic Charities Limited who make the final decision.
I am delighted to see the names of certain Sponsoring Lodges appearing regularly. However, I cannot help but note that many Lodges (and Royal Arch Chapters) have never made an application to the ProvGM’s Fund? This is most perplexing as I am sure that in every one of our communities there are potential causes worthy of consideration by the ProvGM’s Fund.
If you are not sure of the process or the ProvGM Fund qualifying criteria for an application, please would you consult the Provincial Website? If you do not know what to do, please ask for guidance regarding an application. Our ProvGM’s Fund Administrator, WBro. Ian Wright who does truly splendid work tells me that there is never such a thing as a daft question.
The 2018 Provincial Quiz - An Outstanding Finale
This was concluded at the very end of May. A wonderful evening of tense enjoyment at Castle Grove Masonic Hall, Leeds.
My congratulations to all who participated at every stage throughout the Province and also to the Organising Team.
The worthy winners were the “Four Just Men” from Zetland Lodge No: 603 who will hold the cup for the next year. Team “The Hidden Mysteries” from Kirklees Lodge No: 4710 were runners-up with a three-way tie for third place. All great fun and a keenly fought contest.
Watch this space for details of the 2019 Quiz! It will be even bigger and even better!
Provincial DCs’ Workshop
I had the pleasure of visiting a “Training Day” at Wetherby Masonic Hall to witness our Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro. Ian Smith leading a highly participative Workshop, ably assisted by WBro. Alan Hurdley. As you know, I am always keen to identify talent, and the team of Provincial DCs will be refreshed annually by Brethren with ability.
The identification period for 2019 is already in full swing. This will culminate later in the year with certain Brethren being invited to attend an awareness and assessment event.
The successful candidates will then be invited to join the 2019 Team of Provincial DCs. Interested? Please talk with your Liaison Officer.
General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) Training
Excellent feedback received from the training sessions in our Five Areas in the Province. One comment that does resonate – “Personal data must be treated as money, and some wicked criminals have no scruples about stealing it from the unwary”.
Electronic storage of information and communication is wonderful! – I caution every Brother to take great care when holding the personal data of others to make use of encryption, install virus software and to change passwords regularly.
Communications - Further Successes:
Our Province continues to be the “No: 1” on the Grand Lodge table of media coverage.
(Dare I say it? “By a country mile!”)
Every Brother is a part of our extended Communications “Team”. There is so much that is good about Freemasonry, our Province, our Lodges and what we do for our communities. We should have no hesitation in telling the World. The Provincial Office staff will be pleased to point you in the right direction should you ever have an opportunity to share good news.
The long-awaited “New” Provincial Website will go live on the 3rd of September
November Remembrance Month – The “Masonic” Tie
It is always pleasing to note the number of Brethren who read my Monthly Message and who let me know their thoughts. Overseas Brethren especially tell me that that learn much from our Province and that is a credit to every “Yorkshire, West Riding” Brother.
Last month, I introduced the topic of a special Masonic tie that may be worn during the month of November only. This appears to have been exceptionally well received as a fitting tribute to fallen heroes – Yes indeed – All Brave Men and Heroes.
13% of all the Holders of the Victoria Cross were/are Freemasons. As one recipient told me – a very modest man who was very reluctant to talk about his award – “Surely anyone would have done what I did to save my friends, but the last bullet that hit me did sting a bit!”
(He repeatedly ran across the field of battle through open fire to collect wounded comrades and was shot five times!)
It is also pleasing to note that it has been clearly understood that the wearing of such a tie is entirely optional and a personal choice. Ties will be on sale soon – please watch out for details on how to purchase in the Lodge Monthly Mailing and on the Provincial Website.
Fraternal Greetings to All. Home or Away? Happy Holidays!
(If you are watching the FIFA World Cup - Come on England!)
2018 - Best Year Ever!
Right Worshipful Brother David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master
This is one of my busiest times of the year in the Masonic Calendar. The Annual Investiture at Grand Lodge in London, Provincial Grand Lodge in Harrogate and a plethora of delightful visits to the meetings of other Provinces.
I am also delighted to see just how busy our Lodges have been and the number of Provincial support activities taking place. AND! It’s such a lovely day today.
Provincial Grand Lodge – Harrogate – 8th May
Yet another glorious occasion celebrated in such good company. So many happy, smiling faces! This was the 50th consecutive year of Provincial Grand Lodge being held at the Royal Hall and Conference Centre complex. I am told that our association with Harrogate goes back to 1903 when the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge was held in the Dining Room of the Majestic Hotel.
The “no-increase” in Provincial fees has been roundly welcomed. This is as a result of ongoing prudent and disciplined financial management. This is further demonstration of the passion and commitment of all of the Rulers to ensure that every Brother enjoys value for money from their fees to Provincial Grand Lodge.
Congratulations to all who received preferment in Provincial Grand Lodge. Richly deserved!
“Well Done” to the 2017/18 Team of Tercentenary/Bicentenary Acting Officers and “Greetings” to the 2018/19 Team. My thanks also to all who made everything happen so well on the day!
2018 Major Grants = £90,000. The generosity of our Membership is legendary!
Among many of the highlights of the day was the presentation of the cheques to the recipients of the major grants awarded from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund.
Donations to such worthy and eclectic activities provide a further example of the generous support that we, as Freemasons, provide to the well-being of our local communities.
All the recipients told me just how grateful they were for the donations and what a difference the money will make. All also told me how impressive we look at the Royal Hall in our resplendent regalia. Not surprisingly, some recipients were very nervous, even trembling, when they came onto the stage. A few kind words of welcome and reassurance always settle even the most nervous recipient.
Thank-you Brethren I am deeply conscious that our donations are from family funds.
My Address - Extended extracts are published in full in the White Rose Magazine however my words can be condensed into a few key messages:
I have been made aware of certain service deficiencies experienced at the Majestic Hotel.
These matters are being discussed with the current management who we understand will be handing over to new Owners in the near future. Our 2019 booking will be honoured by the new Owners.
Provincial Office Team
After several years of stable staffing, we now have a new Team at the Provincial Office brought about by moves and promotions.
We bid a sad farewell to Rachel Dolman who is seizing a fantastic career opportunity.
We all extend our grateful thanks to Rachel and send her our very best wishes for the future.
On the retirement of W Bro. Keith Tolan, W Bro. Mick Dyson is now the Provincial Grand Secretary and W Bro. Malcolm Whiteley continues as Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary.
The Office is now managed by Ruth Waythe, ably supported by Margaret Hooks and now joined by our most recent recruit, Connie Greenwood.
The recruitment and selection process for all the roles was conducted in the most professional manner resulting in the appointments.
I receive tremendously positive feedback about the Team in the Provincial Office who are always friendly, helpful and efficient. We are so fortunate to have such a Team at the heart of our Provincial operations. If you are ever passing the Office at Castle Grove, Leeds, do drop in as it is always good to put a face to a name.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
This cannot be ignored and comes under the quality objective of the Province and Lodges always being “Model Corporate Citizens”. GDPR affects everyone personally and also impacts on private Clubs and Associations. Your Lodge Secretary will have received the guidance sent out by both Grand Lodge and also Provincial Grand Lodge. I urge every Lodge to be represented at one of the training events being conducted to ensure that there is no misunderstanding concerning individual actions and responsibilities concerning Data Protection. If for any reason your Lodge cannot be represented then the Slide decks will be sent out however this would be no real substitute for attending a training event.
On Wednesday, 9th of May, we were honoured by the visit of our Assistant Grand Master, RWBro. Sir David Wootton in his capacity as President of the Universities Scheme.
At a Regular meeting of Universities Lodge, Sheffield No: 3911 we were treated to an exemplary Second Degree Ceremony. I was delighted by the quality performance of my personal Acting Provincial Officers who attended upon me and also on the Assistant Grand Master. All had only been appointed some 24 hours earlier at Harrogate.
Great Yorkshire Show (GYS): 10th – 12th July
The joint Stand with our Sister North & Easy Province will again be very much in evidence at Harrogate. We have been at the GYS for a number of years and always look for ways to refresh the presentation to engage with the general public. This is a major public-facing activity offering golden opportunities to educate and enlighten.
This year, with the full support of our Grand Lodge, we are inviting the Order of Women Freemasons (OWF) to join us on the Stand. The OWF already participate with us in appropriate public-facing activities such as Fresher’s Week at Universities.
There is a gentle and refreshing breeze blowing through Freemasonry and this is the time to show the public what we are about and what we do. We are always eager to educate the public regarding male and female participation in the practice of Freemasonry.
At the same time it is an opportunity to confirm our separate identities by providing information on the equality of opportunity regarding membership choice.
Gentlemen who choose to practice Freemasonry with gentlemen will come to UGLE Lodges.
Ladies can choose either of the Female Grand Lodges.
I have been asked if I have any plans to introduce a new Provincial tie. I confirm that I have no such plans as our current tie remains both elegant and sartorially pleasing.
I am however following an example set by the Province of Derbyshire.
This year is the centenary of the end of the First World War. I have mentioned previously that I would like as many Brothers as possible to attend local Remembrance Day activities as a tribute to those brave Freemasons who have given their lives on the field of battle.
For the month of November only, I am authorising the wearing of a special tie at Lodge meetings that combines a masonic emblem and also a poppy. The wearing of such a tie is optional and purely a personal matter. The ties will be marketed on the Provincial Website.
White Rose Magazine
Providing this excellent publication at no cost to Members means that the cost of production and distribution must be self-financing. Acts of enormous generosity by discreet donors has meant that the books have balanced – Just! I am appealing to all the Brethren to see if additional advertising can be secured. The Editor would be delighted to hear from you.
On the Horizon
Actions always speak louder than words. So please do not wait... – Take action now!
Maintain standards, look for ways to evolve to match the needs of Members, involve every single Member in planning for the future, find out why Members are not attending and provide support and .....
Go out to attract new Members
Do not be shy! They are out there just waiting to be invited!
My fraternal best wishes to you, your families and loved ones as ever,
2018... – Our Best Year Ever!
Eclectic and Diverse Notes from a very busy and very happy Provincial Grand Master
Time’s Winged Chariot! Yet Another Month Has Flown By!
At the start of the month, my elder daughter and grand-children came-over from Los Angeles and we all went on holiday. Our trips included going fossil hunting and Harry Potter’ing in Oxford in Dorset among many, many other things. It is just amazing how many Freemasons from all over the World that you bump into during such visits. Brothers and Friends that we did not know existed!
Presentation of a PAsstProvGM’s collarette and jewel
It was a delight to attend Concord Lodge No: 4126 at Lindley Masonic Hall, Huddersfield. Following a tremendous Initiation Ceremony I had the pleasure of acknowledging the services of a Past Ruler by presenting WBro. John Gledhill, PSGD with his Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master’s collarette and jewel. Well done WBro. Gledhill - Richly deserved!
Bitten by a Goose! (An Industrial Injury I wonder as I was on duty?)
A true story – I was on Masonic Business in York and walked past a goose not knowing that I was walking nearer to another goose! It clearly did not like me and gave me a real nip on the arm. No damage as I was saved by my sturdy black jacket and raincoat! Team of 2017/18 Acting Officers – Team Visit to Aurora Lodge No: 4047 An absolutely splendid Initiation Ceremony and the final Area visit of the year for the current Team of Acting Provincial Officers. My thanks to all of the Team for their tremendous support during a wonderful Tercentenary/Bicentenary year. Attendances at the visits to Lodges in each Area during the current year have been supported nearly all the Acting Officers on each occasion.
The 2nd Northern Masonic Variety Show
We were treated to an evening of superb professional entertainment at The Bradford Grammar School. A really good time was had by all in the presence of High Rulers who attended from London. The profits will be applied to the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund 2023 Festival. Well done to all the Acts, the Organisers and the Stewards. A delighted and enthusiastic audience were most appreciative by applauding with vigour! How was I “arrested” and dragged on to the stage? I felt well “Run in” by those Bold Gendarmes! Here’s to the next time when the event will be held in support the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund
St. George’s Day! Royal Society of St. George - Celebration at Morley
Once again, I was treated really well as part of the official and civic delegation to observe a magnificent parade of local organisations and youth movements. How lovely that we as Freemasons were invited to this Civic occasion. 2018 will see an ever increasing participation in appropriate Civic activities.
London - Annual Investiture
Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter. Meetings and Dinner with the High Rulers, Provincial and District Grand Masters. The Annual Banquet – This time at the Guildhall. Many congratulations to recipients of Grand Rank honoured by the MWGM/1stGP.
Masonic Meeting Place Seminar 2
Led by the Provincial Consultation Team, this was the second gathering of Directors and Trustees of Masonic Halls held at Greenhead Masonic Hall, Huddersfield. It was such a shame that a number of Masonic Halls were surprisingly not represented as important information on Fire safety and energy and insurance potential cost saving opportunities. The words of the Speakers were all well received. The presentation on Fire safety was particularly informative inspiring those in attendance to take immediate appropriate action.
Installation Meeting of West Riding Acting Officers Lodge No: 9645
It has been the custom for a Ruler to attend the Installation Meeting of the Lodge and this year I am delighted to be able to continue tradition with a personal visit. Looking Ahead – The Barometer says: “Even Busier”!
And finally for this month:
The Provincial Quiz Final - 30th May - Castle Grove, Leeds
Feedback from the Area Heats confirms that competition has been fierce with the winning Team being decided in the Final Round! I have no doubt that the “Grand Final” will be equally competitive. I do encourage Brethren to support their Area Finalists so we can all have a wonderful evening The cup has been polished. Whose name will be engraved on the cup as “2018 Champions”? From concept to reality! My thanks to the Organising Team who have done a great job in bringing this now Annual Provincial Quiz into being?
My Very Best Wishes to all my Beloved Brethren, Families and Friends
Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master
March Already? Yes indeed! 2018 is moving at a pace. What a Month! What a Year! 2018
Our Best Year Ever! Enough is indeed enough! – The Grand Lodge response to recent unwarranted Media attacks: You will have seen how things are changing? We will not turn the other cheek however I am delighted to confirm that our relationship with of local media is very good. I would like every Brother to have the confidence to stand up for Freemasonry if we are being victimised. There is never any need to be aggressive – just sufficiently assertive with the correct facts. Please contact the Provincial Office if you need guidance.
New approach to managing the Province: This has been circulated so I’m not going to go into any great depth. Suffice it to say that the World is becoming ever more complicated and we are now doing, and plan to do, many more things in the Province than ever before. We need the revised flexible and robust structure to take this Province on to greater achievements for the enjoyment of every Brother. The new structure comes into being in May and I am most grateful to my Deputy and W Bro. John Boyington together with all of the other Assistant Provincial Grand Masters for working the strategic concept into reality.
Royal Arch Matters: The animated ”Talking Heads” presentation on Royal Arch Masonry held at Huddersfield was both enjoyable and educational. A really good time was had by all. Even long standing Royal Arch Masons heard new information about the Royal Arch. I am delighted to assist the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent with this initiative and recommend to all a visit to a “Talking Heads” presentation.
Tercentenary Initiates’ Evenings: The final events held at Tapton Hall and Doncaster have also been resounding successes. The overwhelming comment was “More Please! As a result of such positive feedback, I am pleased to announce that the events will be repeated in early 2019 for this year’s intake of new Members and their families and friends.
West Riding Masonic Charities Annual General Meeting held at Barnsley: My continued thanks to VW Bro. Jack Pigott, PGSwdB, PProvDepGM and his enthusiastic Team of Directors for their prudent custodianship and active management of our Charity. C.H.O.I.C.E.S. continues to be one of the most significant support programmes ever introduced in this Province providing speedy relief to our Brethren and dependents in urgent need of support.
Well Done Team! We are all very proud of your efforts!
Couldn’t attend the AGM? You missed a treat with an excellent presentation from our well beloved Yorkshire Air Ambulance. My suggestion? Make sure that your Lodge is well represented at the 2019 AGM.
Honours: The first Saturday in March is historically the scheduled date for the delivery of certain letters. My congratulations to all who are due to receive their first appointment or promotion in both Grand Lodge and also Provincial Grand Lodge. Let me also confirm that if such a letter did not arrive for you that you are still a beloved Brother and special to me.
Our Provincial Grand Secretary and his Team did a splendid job in fighting the snow to ensure that the letters were put into the postal system on time. Alas the Royal Mail was unable to deliver all of the letters on the following day to all parts of the Province due to the extreme wintery conditions.
Ripon revisited – A Groundhog Day Stone Laying Ceremony: You will remember our glorious event at Ripon Cathedral to celebrate the Tercentenary? It was so good that we had to do it all again! Why? I think the technical term is that there was a “technical malfunction” with the main camera. My thanks to all who have assisted in recreating the event for posterity however I must make special mention of the outstanding efforts of one of our Brethren: The original stone is now firmly laid in the floor of the Cathedral and cannot be moved so W Bro. Graham Shelton, PProvSGD of Chantry Lodge No: 4065, an operative stonemason, inscribed a substitute stone with the exact wording for the re-shoot. I know just how much work was involved and such willing support provided is much appreciated!
Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting – Tuesday, 8th May at the Royal Hall, Harrogate: I would be delighted to see all my Lodges represented and this is my special invitation to Master Masons – Do come and enjoy the glittering experience. I am told that there is a distinct possibility of me bursting into song! (If you are lucky!).
And finally: “Have some Madeira M’Dear?” – Consecration of the Britannic Lodge of Madeira I know that there are many Brethren, like myself, who enjoy visiting that Magic Island – “The Pearl of the Atlantic”. I attended the Consecration of the fourth Lodge on the Island. What a week-end! Although there is a rich and long history of Freemasonry in Madeira, there was a gap of nearly 80 years following the proscription of Freemasonry by the then communist regime in Portugal in 1935. The new Lodge, meeting under the Legal Grand Lodge of Portugal, will work in English and looks forward to welcoming visitors. Wives and families are fully involved in all social activities! For more details please contact: email@example.com (direct contact should only be made when you are in Portugal or Madiera).
Fraternal Regards and Best Wishes to all.
My Beloved Brethren,
“The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom”.
Le Morte D’Arthur - Thomas Malory c: 1469
“The sun’s up above, it’s a glorious day to inspire my Brothers and to celebrate May”.
Personal Musings – ProvGM 2017
Provincial Grand Lodge –Harrogate 2nd May
Indeed! A Grand Day Out in magnificent surroundings at Harrogate with perfect weather.It was so pleasing to see the smiling faces and so many Brethren in attendance.
The presence of Masters and Master Masons who shared the experience was a delight for us all as these Brethren are the future of Freemasonry!
Congratulations to all who received rank preferment in Provincial Grand Lodge.
My thanks to the 2016/17 Team of Acting Officers and a big “Hello” to the 2017/18 Team.
As I presented the cheques to the worthy recipients of the major grants from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund I was struck by the gratitude expressed by the recipients. Let there be no misunderstanding Brethren we make a huge difference in local communities. The lusty singing of “Jerusalem” made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!
Provincial Grand Master’s Fund
Be it a small or major grant – They all make such a difference! This year there is £300,000 available so I would ask every Lodge (and Chapter) to pro-actively seek out local needs.
No absolute guarantees regarding support can be given, however we will always do our very best to respond positively to a qualifying request.
True Story from a recent visit to a Lodge:
PM to ProvGM: “We get nothing from the PGM’s Fund!”
ProvGM to PM: “Really? What have your recommended?”
PM to ProvGM: “We’ve never applied”
And the moral of this? I’ll leave this to you Brethren.
Support for Victims of the Manchester Bombing and their relatives
West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd has generously donated £10,000 to the Emergency Fund
set up by the Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire. Thank-you Brethren – This is where we have acted quickly in response to a request from our nearby Brethren.
You will also remember that the Masonic Charitable Foundation has provided an additional
£3 million this year for local causes to celebrate the Tercentenary. Please look at this link
and make sure that your vote counts: https://mcf.org.uk/community-awards-vote/
May Diary Notes:
10th - A 60th Certificate presentation at Lightcliffe Lodge No: 3332. It is always such a
delight to celebrate long and faithful service. 60 Glorious Years worthy of great celebration!
20th - The Lodge of Charity No: 4105, Bradford hosted the Annual meeting of Lodges with
“Charity” in their names. A splendid occasion enriched by the attendance of Brethren from
all over England and also a deputation from a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
Right Worshipful Brother David
March – Spring appears to be “Springing” in this part of our glorious County.I felt exhausted last Sunday having beaten down the jungle that hid a lawn beneath!
West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd – Annual General Meeting at BarnsleyIt was a privilege to be in the company of such caring and generous Brethren. I do thank the Chairman, VWBro. Jack Pigott and his stalwart Team of Directors for their prudent and generous management of the Charity. C.H.O.I.C.E.S. is proving to be one of the most significant support programmes ever introduced in this Province providing speedy relief to our Brethren and dependents in urgent need of support. Well Done Team! We are all very proud of your efforts!
If you have not been able to attend an AGM – A visit to the 2018 AGM will confirm the enormous beneficial impact that our own Charity makes in our local communities.
Grand Lodge Tercentenary/Provincial Bicentenary CelebrationsActivities are starting to happen everywhere and I am most grateful to my Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro. Paul Clark, who has the responsibility of co-ordinating our Provincial response.
We have distributed nearly all of our Provincial allocation of tickets for the Royal Albert Hall event and there now is a waiting list for places at the celebration dinner in Battersea.
I would like to encourage the management of all Masonic Halls to open their doors to the general public on the 24th of June being the very date of the Tercentenary. We should be proud to show who we are and what we do. My thanks to the Masonic Halls who already have this matter in hand.
I note so much going on and my thanks to all organisers with my best wishes for memorable events.
RMBI 2017 Festival – Almost There!
The February figure has been released. I have asked not to be told anything more until the final
figure is actually revealed on the evening of the Festival Banquet at the Armouries, Leeds. I am sure that our Great Province of Yorkshire, West Riding will not be found wanting. My continued thanks to all the Brethren and their families for such tremendous support.
The first Saturday in March is the scheduled date for the delivery of certain letters.
My congratulations to all who are due to receive their first appointment or promotion. Let me also say that if such a letter did not arrive for you that you are still a beloved Brother and special to me.
The transparent and robust system of assessment in this Province is scrupulously fair and consistent.
I am always inclined to apply the human touch of generosity wherever possible. On this matter, I
thought that it would be useful to have an article published in White Rose again providing a candid explanation of how the system works and it does work!
Finally, I am looking forward to the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Harrogate.
Watch out for some changes in my address! With so much news so readily available, I intend to
dispense with matters already in circulation and concentrate on the celebratory nature of the event. I might even burst into song? Who knows? Trust me - It will be a splendid occasion!
It would be a delight to see Masters, Wardens and Master Masons in the body of the Hall.
My love and very best wishes to you and yours as always.
RWBro. David S. Pratt - Provincial Grand Master