Provincial Grand Lodge Of Gloucestershire

“I thought it was going to be a quiet evening”

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“I thought it was going to be a quiet evening”

Having arranged the last of some 120-plus installations over which he has presided during his ten-year tenure as Provincial Grand Master, Tim Henderson-Ross was truly expecting his visit to Lodge of Fidelity, one of the smaller lodges within his jurisdiction, to be a quiet affair.  Afterwards, he modestly confided, he could discreetly fade into obscurity.  Unbeknown to him, someone had secretly arranged a bumper attendance and, amongst the 47 visitors, there were no fewer than three Past Deputy PGMs, 9 Grand Officers, 14 Provincial Grand Officers, 5 ruling masters and, to top it off, the PGM Designate, Ian Davies, who on Saturday will take over the reins.  Clearly overawed by the attendance of so many brethren who were there to wish him well, Tim confessed to the Worshipful Master, Mark Arscott, “I am in danger of becoming emotional,” as he declined the offer of the gavel.

The Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Will Durman, in proposing a toast to the Provincial Grand Master, revealed a host of statistics he had calculated relevant to the period during which RW Bro Tim had ruled the Province.  Also during this time, in addition to successful festivals and projects, £400,000 had been distributed by GMCA to local charities.  Past Deputy PGM, John Thurston, used the opportunity of responding to the visitors’ toast, to recount some of the onerous but unseen tasks needed to be undertaken for Grand Lodge, which are included amongst the duties of a ruler . . . and one or two amusing instances too.

To mark the occasion of this, his final lodge visit, the PGM accepted on behalf of Stapleton Masonic Hall, a gift of two framed and signed prints, later to be hung in the bar.   Fittingly for the occasion, the originals were painted by the world-renowned artist, Steve Burgess, a Devon Past Master, and the son of the late Cyril Burgess, a Past Master and stalwart of Lodge of Fidelity.  The pictures were donated by Dick Smith, who had met in a professional capacity since when Cyril was a Senior NCO in the RAF Provost & Security Section, some forty-five years ago.  It was doubly appropriate as Cyril, Dick, and the PGM, were all 2000 Circle Masters, as was Bob Preece, who added that he too had a Steve Burgess picture at home.  [Other examples of this hugely talented artist’s work are viewable here.]

We thank Dick Smith for this article and photographs

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The team assemble for a final photo
“I thought it was going to be a quiet evening”