The Monmouthshire Mark Mason’s officers mess met for Lunch at Castleton Masonic Hall on Sunday afternoon 22nd of February. The second of the Masonic season.
In all, a total of 91 members and wives sat together for a relaxed afternoon of dining and chat.
A bumper return on the raffle elicited a general response of thanks from our Provincial Grand Master to everyone who attended and contributed towards making the lunch a happy and memorable event.
Christmas is the time for celebrating and giving and so it is particularly concerning when we hear of families struggling at this special time of year. Our Provincial Grand Master was especially concerned to hear of a young boy with severe learning difficulties whose most effective means of communication with others is an iPad but, due to a series of difficult circumstances that had befallen his family, was without one for significant periods in the day. Further enquiries uncovered the reality of a family struggling at this time even to make ends meet let alone provide a level of festive cheer enjoyed by the rest of us at this time of year. In conjunction and collaboration with Professionals , R.W.Bro Derek and his wife Enid personally undertook and oversaw the provision of an iPad for the young boy and a hamper of considerable size , laden with appropriate fare. Gift vouchers were also included to provide for the young boy’s older sister.
Our Provincial Grand Master is especially keen to reinforce the message that at all times the Mark Degree ensures its donations are centred on the point of need and are whenever possible done in as timely manner as can be achieved. R.W.Bro Derek also wishes to thank Bro Paul McGrath and W.Bro Norman Davies for their invaluable assistance. Pictured with R.W.Bro Derek are Mrs Darya Brill- Williams, Head Teacher and Mrs Cheryl Buck, Senior Teacher of Pen y Cwm school who collaborated with this initiative.
What started out as a simple attendance by the Provincial and Deputy Provincial Grand master to Belgium District Grand Lodge, snowballed into a full blown winter excursion. Such was the interest generated by the Brethren of the Province, that 32 Mark Brethren and their respective partners eventually made the trip via Luxury coach.
The four day trip took in the sights of the historical city of Ghent and a day in Brussels, where the ladies assailed the Christmas markets while the brethren attended the District meeting. The District brethren greeted the block of visitors enthusiastically as did R.W.Bro Keith Emerson Deputy Grand Master, who was also visiting.
The long weekend was deemed a resounding success by all who attended. Future plans are being made for further such excursions….. watch this space!
The Provincial Grand Master has been please to make a donation to the Abergavenny and District deaf and hard of hearing class. It had come to his attention that this small but highly valued group were in need of financial assistance to secure premises for the class to run for the coming year . The very timely intercession of the Mark degree has now ensured the class has access to suitable rooms for the foreseeable future.
Pictured is R.W.Bro Derek Thomas presenting a cheque to Mrs Jo Glynn a group Member on 16th January. The Lady on the left at the rear is the instructor, Mrs Chris Coventry . The Spaniel dog in the picture is a highly trained “hearing dog” that provides invaluable assistance to one of the more severely impaired members of the group.
Early in this Masonic season our Mark Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro Derek, announced his intention to donate a sum of money to each Masonic hall in the Masonic Province of Monmouthshire, irrespective of whether a Mark lodge met within the building or not.
The donation to Rhymney Masonic Hall was enthusiastically taken up by hall committee members, Bro Alan Chamberlain (Ashlar 109) and W.Bro Roy Veale (Ashlar 109) who found four antique chairs for sale on the Internet, purchased them and had enough of the donation left over to have them re-covered. The chairs will now be used in the dining room at top table for the Worshipful Master, senior visitor, Senior and Junior warden’s respectively.
Pictured is the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro Derek Thomas and Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro David Powell in their Mark regalia presenting the chairs to Hall committee members, Bro Alan Chamberlain and W.Bro Roy Veale in their craft regalia.
Although Rhymney Masonic Hall does not have its own Mark Lodge, a great many Mark men meet as members of its established lodges.
Banner dedications are always happy occasions and the Maius RAM banner dedication proved to be no exception. Almost 20 yrs to the date of consecration, this RAM lodge, based at Risca now has it’s own banner. In a packed temple, the Worshipful Commander , W.Bro Keith Barnett, called off and the brethren were joined by wives and family members to witness this landmark event. A full Provincial team were in attendance to add lustre to the occasion. There wasn’t an empty seat to be seen. The colloquy between the Worshipful Commander and Provincial Grand Master , R.W.Bro Derek Thomas, was delivered with solemnity and dignity, the banner was paraded around the Lodge accompanied by the principal officers. The Provincial Grand Chaplain delivered a fascinating oration on the differences between a flag and a banner. At the completion of the dedication, the Provincial Grand Master retired from the lodge accompanied by the provincial team , the wives and family members to finish the evening with a celebration dinner.
Picture shows Provincial Grand Master , R.W.Bro. Derek Thomas and Worshipful Commander, W.Bro, Keith Barnett with the newly dedicated Maius RAM Lodge Banner.
Torfaen Mark Lodge Member, Bro. Phil Godsell has been ordained “Deacon ” in the Church of Wales by the Bishop of Monmouth. This has been the culmination of many hours and years of hard work, and on Saturday last at St Woolos Catherdral his ambition was finally realised. Bro Phil will begin his Holy Orders at Cyncoed Parish. He is now titled Reverend Phillip W Godsell. I know that you will all join with me in wishing Phil and his wife Kelly every joy and happiness in his new calling.
Picture shows The Rev. Bro Phillip Godsell just before the service of his ordination at the Deanery, St Woolos’ Cathedral.
On remembrance day, 11th of November. There was a fraternal visit from the Mark Provincial Team of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to the Loyal Monmouth Lodge of Mark Master Masons 1940, at Monk Street , Monmouth. The team was led by V.W.Bro Roger Blake, DPGM. They were treated to an exemplary advancement ceremony with W.Bro Terry Garrett at the helm. Bro Jim Blanch was advanced in fine style and at the end of the ceremony was greeted into Monmouthshire Mark Masonry by R.W.Bro Derek Thomas. The Brethren retired to the Royal Oak Inn to partake of an excellent Festive Board. V.W.Bro Roger Congratulated everyone on a most entertaining evening and welcomed Bro Jim into the mark fraternity on behalf of the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire brethren.
Having witnessed the plight of a stricken brother at a Mark Provincial meeting, our Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro Derek Thomas, made it known on his installation that he intended to provide and donate a “state of the art” Defibrillator unit to each Masonic Hall in the Province of Monmouthshire. Over the course of the Masonic season he has made good on that promise and on Thursday 29th of May , the eve of Llantarnam Mark Lodge installation, he presented the last of the units to Bro. David Llewellyn, the chairman of the Pontypool Masonic Hall Committee. The units are “top of the range” as used by all the county emergency services. Follow up training will also be provided for hall personnel. It is hoped that these machines will never need to be used but their very presence should reassure us that if only one life is saved it will all have been worthwhile.
The January meeting of St Margaret’s Lodge MMM 1478 is always a memorable event as it is a truncated meeting with the ladies joining the brethren at the dining table. The 2015 January meeting was made more memorable by a visit from the Provincial and Deputy Provincial Grand Master, to present charity collarettes to five of the Lodge Brethren.
Also in the first picture with the five recipients are: R.W. Bro Derek Thomas PGM back right. W.Bro Norman Davies Back Left. W.Bro David Powell DPGM and W.Bro Byron Thomas who was also presented with his 50 year Mark Membership certificate and lapel badge.
W.Bro Byron being congratulated on his accomplishment of 50 yrs by the Provincial Grand Master.