Peterborough 2016

Annual Investiture 2016

This year’s meeting took place on 14th May at the Masonic Hall, Peterborough. The meeting commenced with the promotion of RE Chevalier David Haywood to Grand Chancellor, and he took over the chair from RE Chevalier Barry Uttley at this point. The Grand Master went on to thank Barry for his loyal and efficient service as Grand Chancellor.

There were two postulants this year – Ian Bates and Helen Wilson, and we welcome them both to the Order.

There were four St Raphael promotions this year, including the Grand Prior, the Rt Rev’d Geoffrey Robinson, to the newly created rank of Ecclesiastical Grand Cross. The Grand Master then had great pleasure in making a number of awards in the Order of St Mark.

The Grand Master then had pleasure in appointing E Chevalier Alan Blackstone as Commander of the Conclave of St Martin at Sées, and E Chevalier Lawrence Day as Commander of the Conclave of St Thomas Becket – Martyr.

Following the service, the usual convivial meal took place, attended by  31 members and guests. Unfortunately no representative from Whiz-Kidz was able to attend, but the Grand Master read out an update from the charity.

The Grand Council meeting took place after lunch, and items discussed were as follows:

  • The GM made a formal announcement to the Grand Council that he was stepping down as GM this summer after 25 years in the role. His nominated successor is RE Chevalier Julian Gunnell. A vote to this effect was passed nem con and the GM wished his successor every success in his new role. Julian responded to say that it would be a hard act to follow Howard, but he is mindful of the honour, and willing to listen to any ideas anybody might have for the benefit of the Order.
  • The Grand Chancellor announced that in its previous form the Constitution and Statutes did not allow for the resignation of the GM. Accordingly, a few minor changes to the C&S were suggested earlier in the year, and put to members of the Grand Council by email These were approved unanimously and a copy of the revised document can be found on the Order’s website.
  • The GM announced that the Installation service of his successor would be held at Rugeley, Staffordshire, on Sunday 21st August, and encouraged everybody to attend. The Grand Chancellor added that we were most grateful to the Grand Prior for the use of his Cathedral church, and that a special Order of Service had been written specially for this occasion. Full details and application forms will be sent out shortly.
  • The Grand Treasurer circulated a copy of the accounts to 31st December 2015, which showed a surplus for the year of £328.70. Only one member is now in arrears with subscriptions, and it is reported that he is very poorly. He added that this year the accounts had been independently examined by Dame Rhoda Ross, and at the GM’s suggestion she was approved as the Order’s Accounts Examiner.
  • The GT went on to add that following today’s raffle, and with membership donations and donations from Conclaves we had around £600 to distribute to our nominated Charities. A suggestion was made from the floor to make a large distribution but both the Grand Chancellor and Grand Master Elect advised against this, particularly as there were as yet unknown costs associated with the Rugeley event, and that we should defer this decision until next year, when we would have a better idea of our financial position. The GM suggested that we make donations of £350 each to Whizz-Kids and Combat Stress, and this was unanimously approved. Chevalier John Goodenough spoke briefly about the work of Combat Stress and thanked the meeting for the donation.
  • The Grand Custodian of Insignia said that we were continuing to make progress with the supply of our insignia from new suppliers, but her job was being made difficult by members not advising her of requirements for new insignia in good time. It was stressed that all insignia should be ordered from the GCoI and that all members should be encouraged to wear the Order’s mantle and correct insignia on all formal occasions.
  • Each of the three Conclave Commanders gave brief reports of their activities, and it is pleasing that we now have three active Conclaves. Copies of the reports or events can be found on the website.
  • The Grand Master announced that the Grand Officer appointments would be made for the year but it will be up to the GM Elect to make his own appointments after August. However, in practice, most of the appointments will run until the next Annual Investiture. In addition to the existing Grand Officers, the following were appointed:
    Grand Herald –  Chevalier Ian Cameron
    Grand Registrar     –   Dame Elaine Starritt
    Deputy Grand Marshal    –   Chevalier David Gibb
  • Any other business – mention was again made about the time and location of the National Investiture Service. We will be going to Rugeley in August, on a Sunday, and will see how this works out, but the GM is of the opinion that at Peterborough we have a good venue, all under one roof, with an excellent meal at a very good price, and that unless anybody could come up with an alternative providing better value then we would remain here in future. The Grand Chancellor added that he would be putting out a member survey later in the year which should give us a much better idea of what members think individually, and this will hopefully allow us to plan better for the future.
  • The Grand Master closed the Grand Council Meeting at 3.30pm.
  • The provisional date for the 2017 Investiture is Saturday 13th

New members admitted:

Chevalier Ian Bates (KSR)
Dame Helen Wilson

Promotions: St Mark Awards
Rt Rev’d Geoffrey Robinson (EGCSR) RE Chevalier David Haywood (GCSM)
Chevalier Lawrence Day (KCSR) Dame Lesley Doe (GCSM)
Chevalier Lawrence Bell-Wright (KCSR) Chevalier Michael Stephen (OSM)
Dame Pamela Robinson (DCSR) Dame Anne Stephen (OSM)

Photographs of the event can be viewed in the Gallery