Thursday 15th March 2017 saw over 220 East Kent Freemasons gather at the Winter Gardens in Margate for the Spring meeting of the Provincial Officers’ Mess. Guest of Honour and Speaker for the day was none other than the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England, Dr. David Staples. He confessed that he had been expecting an intimate lunch with 20 or so people, but expressed his delight at having the opportunity to address so many East Kent Brethren at a single event.
In his address, the outgoing President of the Mess, Geoffrey Dearing, thanked the Brethren for their outstanding support over the seven years he had served as Provincial Grand Master. He also referred to his new role as President of the Board of General Purposes and said how much he was looking forward to working with Dr. Staples specially in relation to the “Enough is Enough” campaign.
Before he replied, Dr. Staples took the opportunity of taking to the Winter Gardens stage the boards of which had been trodden by many show-business legends. He recalled that his last appearance on such a stage was some years ago when he had appeared as the back end of a pink elephant in a Hospital pantomime.
In a wide ranging speech he recalled his own links to Kent. He was born in Sidcup, and fondly re-called his mother’s memories of the county as an evacuee during the Second World War.
He then went on to describe the reasoning behind the “Enough is Enough Campaign, in particular the need to counter the huge degree of ignorance and misinformation which persisted about Freemasonry both in the media and society at large. He also discussed his own very personal experience of discrimination against Freemasons.
We managed to get an exclusive interview with Dr. Staples. You can listen to it here
The Mess ended with a poignant moment when The Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Martyn Summers proposed the last ever vote of thanks to the outgoing President. He reviewed Geoffrey’s many achievements during his time in office and offered the thanks and good wishes of all the Provincial Officers, wishing him well in his new Role as President of the Board of General Purposes at UGLE.