The Provincial Officer’s Mess Receives a Presentation on the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity


The Mess settles down for lunch

The Spring Provincial Officers Mess took place at the Winter Gardens Margate on Thursday 19th March 2015 and was attended by over 280 members.

The President of the Mess, RW Bro Geoffrey Dearing, was received with warm applause at 1pm and Grace was delivered by EComp David Kershaw.

The members enjoyed a three course meal of soup, pork and cheese & biscuits during which the President took wine with all those present, the Past President, RW John Bonomy and the Mess Secretary, WBro David Alexander.

The ceremonial aspects were smoothly and efficiently managed by the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Neil Johnstone.

EComp David Kershaw gave Closing Grace and the President rose to propose Toasts to Her Majesty the Queen and the Grand Master.

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Members of the Mess preparing for lunch

He then moved on to the business agenda for the Mess, starting by noting apologies for absence received from Distinguished Brethren and Companions including Roger Waltham, Roger Croucher, Michael Bailey, Peter Brooshooft, Reg Walter, Trevor Climpson, Graham Smith and Charles Boxer. He welcomed everyone to the Mess, particularly those Brethren and Companions soon to be appointed to Provincial Rank.

He reminded Brethren of the upcoming Provincial Festival on 17th April, at which the Province will be honoured with the presence of the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Jonathan Spence, and the Royal Arch Festival on 21st May.

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The President addresses the Mess

The President then handed over to WBros Peter Rodd and Wayne Smith for a presentation on the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity (CEKFC).

Wayne Smith explained that the CEKFC was designed to support Institutions and Charities and expanded on the reasoning for an overarching charity with the potential to develop into a marvellous asset for the Province as a whole. It is not a replacement for the EKPCA as it does not take deposits, but is intended to be a Charity for East Kent Freemasons and for the people of East Kent.

Peter Rodd emphasised that there were nearly 5,000 charities in Kent that needed support and exposure to help their cause. Joint ventures of assistance between different Lodges and Chapters on application to the CEKFC could lead to enhanced donations and on occasion, fund-matching for approved donations. He also appealed for Brethren and Companions to give their time by volunteering their help, for example a Pilgrims Hospice fund-raising event on 31st May, where 40 volunteers are needed to help raise £10,000 to sponsor the training of a palliative nurse. Volunteers are also invited to help steward the event and, by wearing hi-vis CEKFC waistcoats, they will help to raise its profile in the community.

WBros Peter Rodd and Wayne Smith present the new charity

To give the Charity a long term future, regular donations from Lodges, Chapters, Brethren and Companions from across the Province were requested, with all monies being spent in East Kent.

Questions from the floor were invited and it gave an opportunity to clarify that:- texted donations to CEKFC can be gift-aided; support would be considered to all worthy causes, not just registered charities; donations to CEKFC cannot be coupled with a request for that to be forwarded to a particular cause unless prior agreement has been obtained from the trustees. Peter and Wayne closed by advising that new tri-fold leaflets would be handed out to everyone by the exit door.

Members of the Mess attending to the presentation

The President thanked WBros Rodd and Smith for their excellent presentation and looked forward to an exciting future for the Charity. There being no questions from the floor, or any other Mess business, the President thanked all for attending and looked forward to seeing as many as possible at the forthcoming Provincial meetings. A Vote of Thanks to the President was proposed by WBro Jake Jackson, ProvJGW, and was received with warm applause by everyone before they headed home.

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