History in the Making – a report by our PGM of the recent Romanian Visit

On Friday 2nd March I was thrilled to attend an extraordinarily meeting of The Mark Internet Lodge, held at the Ramada Nord Hotel Bucharest in which a further 42 brethren were advanced into the Mark Degree. 

I was then invited to accept the gavel in order to undertake a quite unique ceremony.  To “Confer the Secrets of the Chair” on Bro. Radu Balanescu, Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania and Bro. Razvan Buzatu his Grand Chancellor.

The following day, Saturday 3rd March, I was then privelaged to witness and participate in the Consecration of the first Lodge of Mark Master Masons in Romania.  The new lodge is the Alexandru Vaida-Voevod Lodge No. 1988, and W Bro. Florian Birlea was installed as the Primus Master. 

More excitement was to follow as at the end of the meeting the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro. John Prizeman announced the appointment of W Bro. Radu Balanescu as Past Grand Junior Warden, so his style and title is now RW Bro. 

But the icing on the cake was to happen later at the Gala Dinner.  The children of a local orphanage gave an enchanting display of folk dancing and singing.  Afterwards when thanking the children and staff it became apparent that due to a recent cut in state funding the orphanage was in severe financial straits.

A discussion amongst the senior representatives present from Mark Grand Lodge led to the Deputy Grand Master announcing to the ladies and brethren present that the Mark Benevolent Fund would make an immediate grant of £10,000 available.

The Worshipful Master, Officers and brethren of The Mark Internet Lodge then made it known that the alms collection taken at the advancement ceremony would also be presented to the orphanage.

Just to complete the story on my return home, and following a series of brief telephone calls to the executive it has been decided that the Mark Province of Monmouthshire will make a further £1000 available, the intention being to make this presentation in person on my return to Romania in April.

Derek Thomas



PGM presents £4000 to the Urology Department in the Royal Gwent

The brethren of Monmouthshire Mark Masons held a successful Sunday Lunch at the  Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel, Usk in support of Prostate Cancer.  The event was well attended and raised the sum of £4000-00p.

The photograph shows the Provincial Grand Master presenting the cheque at the Urology Dept. Royal Gwent Hospital Newport.

Left to Right:  RW Bro. Derek Thomas (PGM), Mrs Janet Marty (Uro-Oncology Nurse Specialist) Adam Cox (Consultant Urologist), and Adam Carter (Lead Cancer Urologist)


Officers Mess gets a farewell from the PGM

Another successful Officers Mess organised by W.Bro John Sommerin and presided over by the ProvGJW W.Bro Ken Heath.  As usual a lovely meal was served  at Castleton.

Responding to the toast to the ladies, the PGM thanked all for the support he had received during his time as PGM and was sure that the same level of support would be given to his deputy VW Bro David, who will be taking over as PGM in June.








The Ultimate Raffle Prize?

The question of the provision of a Provincial Grand Master’s apron for the future Provincial Grand Master had been touched upon on numerous occasions with senior members of the executive over the last two to three years. A particularly sensitive issue within the Province as the only one in our possession, previously worn by RW Bro. Frederick Mansell Gabb (1990-1996) was quite old and in very poor condition.

However, a short while ago I managed to track down the apron worn by RW Bro. Brian Charles Cull who had served the Province from 1996 to 2006.

It may not be generally known, that whilst as an act of courtesy a retiring Provincial Grand Master is invited to submit three names as his successor for consideration, Grand Lodge are the sole arbiter of the selection process. So, after informing the Grand Secretary of my intention to stand down immediately prior to our Provincial Meeting in June my thoughts soon turned to how the apron should be presented to my successor, no matter who, and when.

The decision to hold a Celebratory Mark Advancement ceremony at Maius Lodge in January in the magnificently refurbished temple in Risca Masonic Hall provided the opportunity to do something a little different. Initially it was to be a straightforward presentation either within the temple or at the festive board. But having worked closely with VW Bro. David Powell for almost 5 years I knew he would appreciate something a little different.

So, the idea of a raffle was born. Disguised as a box of redundant Christmas Crackers the “booby prize” was duly “won” by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Probably another first for the Province of Monmouthshire, the first time a Provincial Grand Master’s Apron and Collar have ever been won in a raffle, something I’m sure my successor will always remember.

RW Bro Derek Thomas



PGM Announces Retirement

Following the first Mark meeting of the year at Risca, which was to celebrate the refurbishment of the Temple at Risca Masonic Hall, the PGM, RW Bro. Derek Thomas, announced his retirement.

This surprise news came following the Advancement of Bro. Wilfred Chivers by the PGM himself, who was ably assisted by the team that carried out multiple Advancements whilst at Bucharest in July 2017.

He explained that this meeting, the first of the year, was the appropriate one at which to make his announcement. The Maius Lodge of MMM is his Mother Lodge and he recalled that his first involvement with masonry was at the age of 11, helping to lay tables in the Risca Masonic Hall.

An impressive array of distinguished brethren were at the meeting, including the PGM of Craft in Monmouthshire, RW Bro. Richard Davies. He gave much praise for RW Bro Derek, when responding to the Visitors Toast and talked of his pleasure of the close relationships that had been developed within the principal masonic groups within our Province.

The New PGM

Following his announcement the PGM was pleased to confirm that his recommendation had been agreed by Grand Lodge, and that his successor will be the Deputy PGM, VW David Powell.

Whilst there was a general disappointment that RW Bro. Derek was standing down, all were very pleased that VW Bro David was to take over.

VW Bro David spoke about the continuation of the policies that RW Bro Derek and he have formulated during the last 4 years. These have proved to be very successful in promoting the Mark, not only within Monmouthshire, but also, via The Mark Internet Lodge, to other areas of the world including Romania.

He finished by expressing his pleasure to receive such a promotion, but that will happen in June, and in the meantime there was still much to do under the leadership of RW Bro Derek.



Large MMM Charity Donation reported in Abergavenny Chronicle

Nevill Hall Hospital’s £17,000 charity boost

By Staff reporter in Community News

The Mark Master Masons of Monmouthshire have donated £17,000 to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny to fund equipment for its Critical Care Unit.

The Masons’ contribution will be used to purchase a specialist portable ventilator, which can be used by children when they need to be transferred inside or outside the hospital. The ventilator is adaptable and can also be used to help adult patients.

The donation came after Bernard Williams, of the Monmouthshire Mark Masons, was cared for in the Critical Care Unit at Nevill Hall Hospital when suffering with a perforated bowel and Sepsis in March 2016.

Romania to get their first Mark lodges in 2018 thanks to the PGM and The Mark Internet Lodge

Romania – Provisional Consecration Programme

Prior to the advancement ceremony held on Tuesday 28th November, the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Monmouthshire RW Bro. Derek Thomas took the opportunity to meet with the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania MW Bro. Radu Balanescu in order to discuss the introduction of the Mark degree in Romania.

As March 2018 will mark the centenary of the formation of Romania as we now know it, it was felt that it would be appropriate if the Primus Mark Lodge could be consecrated that month. Several dates were proposed and as this first ceremony will be undertaken by Mark Grand Lodge they have been duly forwarded for consideration and it is anticipated that confirmation may be received prior to the Christmas recess.

What has been confirmed is that the second lodge will be consecrated at Mark Masons’ Hall on Saturday 2nd June 2018. Provisional dates have also been made for the consecration of further lodges in Constanta on the 10th November 2018, Bucharest on the 9th March 2019 and Timis on the 15th June 2019.

It is proposed that ceremonies of advancement will be undertaken on the day before each of the consecration ceremonies in Romania.
Please note that whilst the majority of these dates are provisional at this stage, when each or any of them are confirmed this news section will be updated accordingly.