We are now over thirty days into lockdown and complying with the sensible guidance from Government and United Grand Lodge of England. We know this will save lives and together we can defeat this terrible virus.
My Executive and I want you to know we are so proud of you and your families for your compliance and patience in following these new and temporary rules.
But I want to go further, and praise you all for the ways I learn you have been helping others in the community. I have had so many examples of the good works that are currently being undertaken by our members.
Above all to those of you who are in the front line, risking your lives to care for others, we salute you and thank you for making us all proud to have you as Brothers. We thank you and your families for quietly putting into action the principles by which we live and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
At the beginning of the confinement to our homes, I suggested that lodges ensure every member has the contact list of other Brethren and that in conjunction with the Almoners – all members are contacted personally. This identifies those who need help and also encourages us to chat and keep in touch. I hear this has been much appreciated and I hope it becomes a regular activity as the lockdown weeks go by and before we can meet again.
I know many of you are communicating electronically and I too have been holding meetings on Zoom, which does enable me to see which of my Executive are getting tea in bed!
As your Provincial Grand Master I love to hear of the many acts of kindness which are constantly being undertaken. Here are just two examples:
- Over the Easter weekend Benevolent Lodge 303, Teignmouth, allowed a non-Mason and his son to cook Sunday roast dinners in their kitchen at for nearly 150 people and which were delivered free into the community. Well done Benevolent.
- W Bro. Mark Bowes-Cavanagh of Courtland Lodge 6706, donated 7000 hand sanitizers from his company to NHS care homes, schools and surgeries. Thank you Mark.
It does not go unnoticed that many more of you are working so hard to serve your community and I know it will continue – thankyou.
The UGLE Covid19 Response Group shares all our initiatives via our PGM’s Regional groups and in conjunction with the MCF, it is fully supportive of all we are doing.
Meetings are held on a frequent basis via WhatsApp and they are keen to share ideas to enable best practice throughout our order.
The support and advice and sensible guidance we have received from UGLE since the beginning of this situation cannot be praised enough, we must all be grateful.
I expect most of you are aware of the Covid 19 Relief Chest that has been opened, by the MCF, and is ready to receive donations. I want to make it clear that if you choose to donate to this fund your contribution will be counted towards the total of the 2023 Devonshire Festival. Your contributions to this Covid19 relief chest will also count towards a Steward’s Festival Jewel.
I know we are all sorely disappointed that we were not able to hold our annual Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting at Torquay. Those newly appointed and promoted officers will be entitled to wear the collar for that office from the 20 April 2020. It upsets me, as much as you, at not being able to make that presentation on the stage. I am truly sorry Brethren and I congratulate all those promoted for what you have done so far in Masonry to deserve this recognition. Well done!
Let’s just hope that after we get through this dreadful situation we may be able to enjoy the rest of this year together.
I would also take this opportunity to thank my two Provincial Wardens: WBro. Rob Summers and WBro. Antony Eldred for their dedication and support. This of course came with heading up another year of dedicated active Provincial Officers.
I thank them for the incredible amount of £2,202 raised for our MCF Festival.
Those of you that are alone in your homes be reassured that you are part of a very caring organization that will help you through these difficult times. V W Bro. Simon Rowe, W Bro. Peter Balsom and I are united in our endeavours to help you if we can.
Indeed we appeal to you all to join with us and the other leaders of the Provinces of Cornwall and Somerset for the 9 o’clock toast each day.
This dreaded virus has brought normal life to a standstill but given us a period of time to spend in quiet reflection on life. All the material things that we may crave for pale into insignificance and makes you realise it is the love and care we show for each other that is the most important.
You are all very precious and special people please keep safe and well.
R W Bro Ian Kingsbury JP
Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire