Grand Treasurer report 2018

Grand Treasurer’s Report May 2018

The report presented reflects the position set out by my predecessor David Starritt as at 1 Jan 2018 and audited by Rhoda Ross at the end of January 2018. It reflects the accurate position as at the time. As the incoming Treasurer, however, I have to advise you on how I perceive the accounts in regard to our future as they show a continued deficit in 2017, following a similar loss in 2016.

As you will note the position at the end of 2016 showed a deficit of £524.66 and this was followed by a further deficit in 2017 of £760.53. The latter reflecting two aspects. Firstly, the transfer of £960 to the conclaves. Secondly, new costs of £558 for the website and newsletter.

Whichever way these figures are addressed, one obvious message remains, we are living beyond our means. For example, our income from subscriptions is £1,000 and yet we transfer £980 of this to the Conclaves at the same time as our assets are reducing. I understand the explanation given but it seems to be a strange way of transferring funds. Moreover, it raises the question as to why the Conclaves are not recovering subscriptions and raising their own funds. Clearly there is a need to offset some of the administrative costs arising from the Grand Council of the Order, but the individual membership aspect and fund-raising activities should be controlled by the individual Conclave.

If we continue with this trend of expenditure, in 4 years’ time we will run out of funds. I would advise that this aspect needs to be urgently addressed by the Grand Council. I’m also of the view that it would be prudent to increase subs by £5 and to review this on an annual basis. This would result in a modest increase of about £265 on our current membership, which would go some way to covering the central administrative costs. Whatever decision is taken, we must either find ways of increasing our income or cutting back on expenditure. We are existing on the earlier contributions made by those who are now life members – 14 in total, whilst the remaining 53 must fund the organisation through their subscriptions, aided by other donations.

I could suggest that the costs of running the Order must be separated from the support costs of the Conclaves or reliance on charitable donations. Membership subscriptions should rest with the Conclaves and part of this, an amount to be agreed, should be passed on to support the central administration of the Order, not the reverse way around. There should also be greater encouragement to grow the membership if the organisation is to become financially viable;

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that the matter needs to be addressed as a matter of some urgency if the Order is to survive as a financial entity.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure  twenty pounds and sixpence, result misery”

(Charles Dickens)

Brian D. Everett, MBE (Grand Treasurer)

May 2018

Peterborough AGM 2018

Annual Investiture 2018 (see also attachments at end of page)

This year’s meeting again took place at the Masonic Hall, Peterborough on 13th May. The Grand Master opened the meeting and the Grand Chancellor read out the apologies.

There were no postulants this year, and so the Grand Chancellor and Grand Prior changed the format slightly to compensate for the loss of this part of the proceedings.

E Chevalier Leslie Grout was promoted in the Order of St Mark to Knight Grand Cross, Chevalier Ken Shipman and Dame Penny Bell-Wright were admitted to the Order of St Mark as Members, and E Dame Helen Neaves-Wilde was promoted to Officer. Unfortunately, Helen suffered some nasty injuries from a fall at home and was unable to travel, and the Grand Master agreed that the Grand Chancellor could present the certificate to her at home.

Lawrence Bell-Wright was then appointed as Commander of St Thomas Becket Conclave, and Grand Officer certificates presented to Penny Bell-Wright as Grand Custodian of Insignia and Helen Wilson as Grand Steward.

Following the service, the usual convivial meal took place, attended by 26 members and guests.

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

  • The Grand Chancellor announced that the Order was required to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations, and letters were being sent out today to all new members requesting completion of a form. It is important that our database is kept up to date, and those officers holding a separate list must ensure that this is also kept up to date. The Grand Chancellor will sent out updates of changes from time to time.
  • The Grand Chancellor said that a lot of positive reports were received following the Service of Thanksgiving at Rugeley, with an informal lunch. It has been decided to make this an annual event, but to move it to locations close to one of the Conclaves each year, on a rotating basis. This would give members of the Order an extra opportunity to meet and it was hoped numbers would swell over time. It is, however, too late to do this for 2018 and so we will once again meet at Rugeley on Saturday 13th A comment was made that the sound was not good in the Cathedral and the GC will ensure that we use a suitable sound system. Full details and application forms will be sent out later in the summer.
  • The new Grand Treasurer circulated a copy of the accounts to 31st December 2017 which had been presented to him, which showed a deficit for the year of £760.53, due mainly to donations now being made via the Conclaves, and a double year cost of the website and newsletter. The accounts had been independently examined by Dame Rhoda Ross. The new Grand Treasurer was concerned about our reducing assets, and issued a lengthy report, which can be read in full on the Order website.
  • The Grand Hospitaller explained how we had now changed our distribution process for donations and this is now split between the Conclaves to enable them to choose and distribute to local charities. The only criteria is that the charity must have a “human healing” aspect to it, and that details of any charities chosen must be submitted to the Grand Hospitaller and Grand Chancellor for approval before the cheques are issued by the Grand Treasurer. Commanders are to invite the local press and radio to any donations to ensure a photo opportunity.
  • Each of the three Conclave Commanders gave brief reports of their activities, and copies of the reports or events can be found on the website.
  • Chevalier Steven Turner updated the meeting about the International Confederation of Chivalric Orders (ICCO) which we agreed to join last year on a trial basis. It is still early days so we will wait another year to see what developments there have been.
  • Steven Turner also talked about the benefits of easyfundraising, which enables people shopping or searching on the internet to have a small amount donated to their charitable cause and issued instructions as to how members can support this.
  • The Grand Chancellor encouraged members to view our website and Facebook pages where up to date information can be found about events in the Order. He also thanked Helen Wilson for taking photos on the day, and it is hoped that these will be published on the website shortly.
  • The date for the 2019 Investiture is Saturday 11th May

St Mark Awards :

E Chevalier Leslie Grout (DGCSM)

Dame Helen Neaves-Wilde (OSM)

Chevalier Ken Shipman (MSM)

Dame Penny Bell-Wright (MSM)


Photographs of the event can be viewed in the Gallery on the website.


Lion Rampant Commander report 2018

St Martin Commander report 2018

St Thomas Becket Commander report 2018

Annual accounts 2017

GT report 2018


Annual Newsletter 2017

The newsletter will be sent out in the late summer. If any active member of the Order does not receive their copy, please contact the Grand Chancellor with your current contact details.

Annual Newsletter 2016

The newsletter was sent out in early December. If any active member of the Order has not received their copy, please contact the Grand Chancellor with your current contact details.

St Thomas Becket / St William AGM

At the previous meeting and at the Grand meeting in Peterborough as well as by email correspondence members of the St William of Rochester Conclave had decided that it would be sensible to place the Conclave into abeyance and transfer into St Thomas Becket – Martyr. Following a brief discussion at which the Kent members present had voiced their agreement with this view and following a proposal from Penny Bell-Wright seconded by Peter Robins, the members of St Thomas Becket – Martyr voted unanimously to accept the Kent members. A general discussed then ensued and it was agreed that all members should be encouraged to attend and that those who did not generally respond should be telephoned.

It was agreed that a Conclave meeting would be held in Kent, probably at Dartford, on a date to be decided. It was also agreed that a Dinner would be held on the Friday before the 29th September each Year, three courses excluding drinks. To encourage members to become more active, 3 or 4 activities per year would also be arranged. The following initial suggestions were put forward, a tour of Windsor Castle, to be arranged with Leslie Grout, renowned expert, a trip on the London Eye and a trip down the River to Greenwich, possibly with a meal in the O2.

Installation of new Grand Master

Investiture of New Grand Master Julian K Gunnell GCSR, GCSM

August 21st 2016

Many members went to stay at Rugeley the Saturday night before the event and as such had a very enjoyable impromptu Saturday night gathering arranged by David Haywood in a nearby hostelry. A careful eye was kept on Julian just to ensure he did not have a “wee dram” too much before his big day!

On a bright and sunny Sunday morning, members started to arrive at Hawkesyard Estate; one just knew how impressive it was as you drove into the estate – in front of you the large rambling Mansion, flanked on one side by a golf course and on top of the hill our destination, the Cathedral & Priory Church of St Thomas the Apostle.

On arrival coffee and tea was available as always and we were all able to make our way around this lovely Cathedral, with its magnificent stained glass windows, carvings and superb roof structure.

Julian was taken off for his vigil in a side Chapel and we all lined up for the procession. After being seated, the congregation was welcomed by Most Rev John Lycett Archbishop, with a little history of Hawkesyard, a place known to previous generations by a variety of names including Hawkeserd in Hondesacre, Armitage Park, Spode House and Hawkesyard Priory. The original hall, pulled down in 1665, was much closer to the River Trent, about half a mile to the west of Armitage Church. In 1760, when the estate was renamed ‘Armitage Park’ by Nathaniel Lister, he built a gothic style mansion on the sandstone hill above the site of the original hall. The building of the Priory and Church began almost immediately. Some say that this decision was inspired by a vision of the Virgin Mary appearing to someone in the grounds of the estate.

Then to business of the Installation of our New Grand Master. Everything went so smoothly thanks to our two Marshals, and soon Julian was brought in to be installed with due reverence by the Grand Master and Grand Prior. After rousing applause from the congregation, and greetings from members of Grand Council, Commanders of Conclaves, the Chaplaincy and a Member of the Order, Julian then called upon David Haywood to be installed as his Deputy Grand Master. We were all lined up for the photographs, got changed and wandered or drove down the hill to the mansion house.

On our arrival we were greeted by staff, shown the way to the bar (of course) and then to the room where we were to eat, with bright surroundings and large glass chandeliers. We sat down to a splendid lunch, following which Julian was called upon to make his maiden speech, which he did with humour.

Finally the Quaich was passed around with one of the finest Malt Whiskeys I have ever tasted! That done, it was time to leave and wind our way home.

A super weekend and one well worth repeating.

Lawrence Day

n.b Photographs of the occasion can be found in the Gallery section of the website.