My first duty is to thank all brother Knights of the Province of East Anglia, for once again contributing to a highly successful and happy year, which I am certain, will continue throughout this year.
I must also acknowledge once more all our guests both official and private, who together with the Heads of Orders who represent their various Orders, all of whom have given up their time so freely, plus I must also pay my thanks to those Brother Knights who are representing the Order of the Knights of Malta.
We have maintained our membership this year, and I have every confidence that will continue throughout 2019, as we continue to enrol Brother Knights who we chose to work with, and not just play the numbers game.
Our Annual Church Service was held at Wymondham Abbey, where we had a magnificent attendance of over 220, and this was confirmed by the Church Wardens. The tea afterwards was provided by Housdens’, one of our Masonic Caterers, and was at the Community Hall in Wymondham. This year we will be returning to St. Mary’s Church at Woodbridge.
The Banquet was once again a superb event with over 136 filling the Sunning dale Suite at Dunston Hall, where a delightful meal was enjoyed by all who were present, and our grateful thanks goes to E. Knights Stephen Mann, Roger Door and Michael Smith for all the arrangements, and they certainly made certain that nothing was left to chance. This years’ banquet will be held at Ufford Park, near Woodbridge on Saturday 23rd. November.
We have enjoyed several Provincial visits last year, with the vast majority of our Provincial Officers attending on every occasion, as on 30th. June we celebrated the 150th. Anniversary of Tancred Preceptory No. 102, in the presence of the Grand Master, later on we visited the Isle of Ely Preceptory No. 677, and then to Walsingham Preceptory No. 497 where I had the pleasure of dedicating a new Bible, and lastly we went to the Priory of St. John No 418, where we were treated to an excellent ceremony, all be it shorter than normal!!
The Grand Master has exceeded to my request to award three Brother Knights with their First appointment and one Brother Knight with a promotion, but as these have not been announced as yet, I am sworn to secrecy!!! But I would remind all of you that Great Priory will be held at Great Queen Street, London, on Wednesday 15th. May 2019, where I hope as many of you as possible will join me to help celebrate this occasion.
We have an addition to our Provincial calendar, as on Sunday 19th. May, we are going for a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads, which includes a meal, and it is on the Southern Comfort stern wheeler, and is a trip not to be missed, so please book early as numbers are limited.
The whole executive for East Anglia cannot be praised enough as they have all surpassed all that I have asked and Iinmany cases exceeded what is expected, and they all keep giving me sound advice, support and good knowledge, and I am so fortunate to have Bill Hagger, Peter Coles and Colin Birkbeck as my Executive.
As with all things, progress must continue and we are saying goodbye to E. Knight Roger Gray for three years wonderful service as my Chancellor, and he is being replaced by E. Knight John Rowell, who I am certain, that if he enjoys it half as much as Roger has done; he will have a great time.
Finally I would like to thank E. Knights Robin Shaw, David Abbott and Tony Mason my Marshals, who have added to the smooth running of the whole day, as well as my Commander, E. Knight David Hedges, Deputy Commander, E. Knight Ian Gray, and the rest of the Bodyguard, and last but by no means least to E. Knight David Walker for his diligence in once again producing our wonderful year book.
The whole Executive would like to thank Prudence Preceptory No. 16, for their help, and assistance in arranging this Provincial meeting today.
Many of you will remember that last year I issued you all with a challenge, to make your Preceptory the best in the Province, by obtaining the largest percentage of gift aids for your Preceptory towards the Eye Hospital at Jerusalem, and I am pleased to say that in addition many of you have managed to donate sufficient money to obtain your own Swift, which can be displayed at all your meetings, as well as the Festive Board’s. Now in reverse order the winners are:-
In third place, Walsingham No. 497 with 30.77%, in second place, Lynn Regis No. 330 with 36.36%,, and the winner is with 43.18% Cabbell No. 69, and these figures have been verified by our Provincial Treasurer.
I would like to thank you all, on behalf of the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, for your help and participation in making this yet another East Anglia success, and if the Swift co-ordinator E. Kt. Malcolm Fisher, of Cabbell. Preceptory No. 69, would like to come forward to receive the prize, I am certain that the Brother Knights will greet this with tumultuous applause.
I have found a delightful quote attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, ‘Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell, in such a way that they ask for directions.’
I would like to thank you all, for your attendance, attention and above all your friendship, and may the Great Captain of our Salvation, be with us all.
Stewart C.L. Middleton
Provincial Prior of East Anglia
Saturday 23rd. February 2019