Sun, Sea & Ceremony
Provincial Grand Convocation 17th May 2019The 17th May was a sunny, clear spring day for the journey to the Margate seaside and the Provincial Grand Convocation. Companions and guests were arriving and the business of converting the Winter Gardens hall into a Chapter meeting room was well under way from earlier in the morning.
All the banners were already set over the stage and the choir was practicing for the main event later in the afternoon. The bar was beginning to hum with the sound of Companions arriving, chatting and discussing the forth coming meeting. The Provincial Sword and Standard Bearers were ready to go early and lounging in the bar relaxing before the big event.
As the time neared for the opening of the Provincial Grand Chapter , VIP’s were taken to the East Balcony room to prepare while the companions began to fill the hall, finding their seats and joining the general hub-hub of the noise, which began to increase , bristling with anticipation for the main meeting of the year. Outside the sea beat a progressive retreat unaware of the Ceremony that was about to start.
It was now 2.45 pm, the Companions were beginning to take their seats, when the booming voice of the Provincial Grand DC, E,Comp Ian White was heard. He instructed the Companions to take their seats, that there would be 4 processions, concluding with the Province Grand Superintendent ME.Comp Neil Hamilton Johnstone . The choir sang while the VIPs and the Provincial Executive took their seats. The Provincial Grand Superintendent entered and was then assisted by the 2nd and 3rd Grand Principals to open the Chapter and take their seats on the stage.
Both minutes of the last meeting were presented, the audited accounts and various other business took place. A notice of motion was given to enable Provincial Chapter to pass a resolution next year to donate £7,500 to the 2025 festival.
The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent then addressed the meeting. He informed the Companions of the success of the launch of the 2025 Festival at the Provincial Craft meeting and the huge amount of work that the Festival Committee had already done, and he looked forward to meeting us all at the myriad of events coming up. He reported that our efforts to improve Chapter membership were now beginning to show improvement. In 2019 the membership had at last ceased to reduce; we are in a break-even position; but we have yet to move into a position of increasing the membership. He also praised both the Membership Team and the Communication Team for their active assistance during the year.
The meeting was then closed by the Principals and the choir sang as the procession left the meeting.
Deputy Grand Superintendent E.Comp David Kershaw, 3rd Provincial Grand Principle, John Baker.
The Grand Superintendant, Neil Johnstone.
2nd Provincial Grand Principle, Clive Manuel
John Baker and Clive Manuel
We congregate here,
To honour, to praise, and applaud.
In this Edwardian Ghost,
on the North Kent coast,
Many come to receive their reward.
Pairing in twos,
in meandering queues,
awaiting receipt of their prize.
From our leader resplendent
Our Grand Superintendent
Whom tonight we shall eulogise
But he is the only man here
debarred from such cheer
As he gets no honours at Margate
So we give him a toast
Cause that is the most
The Most Excellent is likely to get.
The Grand Superintendent left the dinner!