District Grand Council
Of Surrey
Address by RW Bro John VC French at the District Meeting, Saturday 2nd December 2017

Brethren all, it is now my honour to address you at this our 11th Annual Meeting since the District of Surrey was formed here at Croydon out of the old District of Southern Counties and as you can imagine a very special one for me.

An important part of all Freemasonry is visiting; I thank all of our guests today for their support and attendance, some of whom have travelled from near and far as well as our own members and for making this an even more special day for me. I hope you have enjoyed the meeting so far and the festive board earlier this afternoon. It is so lovely to see the temple so full this afternoon!

To those that I have been pleased to appoint or promote in District Grand Rank today I offer you my congratulations and hope that you will enjoy the year in that Office. I will be visiting each Council in the District during the year, with my new (Old) Deputy, and I invite you to join us on these visits. I do however appreciate that you are all very busy in your private and Masonic lives so there is no pressure but I will be delighted to see you if you can make some if not all the visits.

I would also like to congratulate the Brethren who received Appointment or Promotion in Grand Rank at the Annual Meeting of Grand Lodge at Great Queen Street last month. It was a lovely meeting which was well supported and my congratulations go out to W Bro Len Hayward (Promotion to) Past Assistant Grand DC as well as (First appointments to) W Bro Alan Brockwell and W Bro Ian Smith Past Grand Standard Bearer and W Bro Alastair Mackenzie Past Grand Inner Guard - I do congratulate them all for these well-deserved appointments.

My driving passion moving forward will be two fold ENJOYMENT and RECRUITMENT - please let me know if there is anything that can be done to help and assist you in any way on that front? The good news is that we brought in 7 new members and 4 joining members albeit we have unfortunately lost 4 members (for reasons beyond our control). We are very fortunate to have the full support of the PGM in the Mark to promote our wonderful Order at Mark meetings so please take full advantage of his help and assistance by spreading the word and wearing your Allied napkins. To assist you with that we have had a reprint of our leaflet which explains the various Degrees in our Order and rather conveniently has the application form inside. We will continue to do the leg work in that regard and just need you all to get those application forms filled in! The District Secretary has plenty of the leaflets so please make good use of them. I congratulate and thank those Councils that recruited new Members, well done. To those who did not manage it last year please let me know how we can help you in any way to reverse this trend.

The new Web Site, which I hope you will all approve of, is now up and running. It has lots more details and hopefully you will find it more user-friendly. I am sure that Bob Tuthill will quickly download all the pictures that his young apprentice has taken today so please visit and have a look. Please keep articles, information and photographs coming so that the Web Site is up to date and vibrant. I thank Bob for all the work he does on our behalf and also a special thanks to Chris Eley for help today (Is there an official office for District Grand Photographer – maybe we should look at that!).

In July we again held our annual Hog Roast at Guildford which was again a sell out with over 100 Brethren and guests enjoying the excellent cuisine and hospitality of Guildford Masonic Centre. It will be repeated next year at lunch time on Sunday 8th July so please put that date in your diaries. I have been assured by our past DGP that he will be continuing to take full responsibility for the weather and that it will be another glorious sunny day and a reminder from him that he hasn`t been wrong yet. I thank W Bro John Coleman for all of his hard work in organising the event.

District Meetings do not just happen and a lot of people have worked extremely hard to put today together and I offer my sincere thanks to all of them, particularly the District Grand Secretary W Bro Alan Brockwell and the District Grand Director of Ceremonies (acting) Chris Cradock and all their teams for their hard work.

The Charity collection at this Meeting today will be going into the Benevolent Fund and I will be presenting the Provincial Grand Master of the Mark degree of Surrey with a cheque for £1,000 in support of the Surrey Mark 2022 Festival on behalf of the MBF.

Before I finish my address I would like to give my true and sincere thanks to our past DGP RW Bro Ray SH Hussey for having served this District so well and for the support he has given to me personally. I promise you the same level of commitment and the good news is that I will be less fussy about my potatoes! I would also like to thank the Most Worshipful Deputy Grand Master and his team for all of their hard work – this truly has been a memorable day for me and one that I will never forget!

The District Meeting next year will again be held on the first Saturday in December which will be the 1st of December 2018 so please make a note in your diary. I finish by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Thank you for the attention you have given to my FIRST address – and May the Great Disposer of all have you in his holy keeping now and forever.

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