A large contingent of over 40 Mark men from Durham, travelled south for the Annual Investiture meeting of the Grand Mark Lodge. The magnificence of Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, was the setting for the holding of Mark Grand Lodge.
In attendance were brethren from all quarters of Mark Masonry who would receive their respective promotions or appointments in Mark Grand Lodge. Recipients from the Durham Province included: John David Watts, John Strachan Denham, Mark Julian Gilpin, William Elliot Hobson and David Battensby.
It was to be a double celebration where the Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent would celebrate his 40 years as Grand Master. The attendance of His Royal Highness would make it an even more special occasion for those to be invested and those attending.
Unfortunately, the delayed train made it nerve wracking for some as it became a mad dash to get to Great Queen Street in time. Fortunately, with only a couple of minutes to spare, everyone made it and were able to squeeze in. It was a packed Grand Lodge Room with numbers purported to be over 2000.
There were several processions into Mark Grand Lodge including PGMs from some forty-nine Provinces and Districts oversees, Active Grand Officers and Rulers. The final procession was to receive the Grand Master to rapturous applause which reverberated round the hall.
After some official business, the Grand Master reappointed the Grand Rulers to a fanfare from the trumpeters who were stationed at the back of the hall. It was then that those to be appointed to Grand Rank were invested. This was done in a regimented manner with each recipient being escorted to the dais. The Grand Master then placed the collar on the brother and shook his hand before he was escorted back to his seat. A truly memorable and enjoyable occasion for everyone.
The national anthem ‘God Save the King’ was sung by the brethren accompanied by the trumpeters and grand organ.
The spectacle of Grand Lodge is similar to our own Annual Meetings but with more splendour which is facilitated by the grandeur of the surroundings.
Celebrations continued at the grand Connaught Room where 1100 brethren were served with fine dining, wine and great friendship. John Watts only just invested as Grand Steward, launched into the role by serving wine to guests from Belgium.
The dining brethren were treated to background music by a string quintet and then the four trumpeters. During the meal two trumpeters then descended to the dining floor and entertained the guests. They then played a clever trumpet duel which was a delight to witness.
It was a splendid event enjoyed by those attending and a most memorable one for those receiving Grand Rank honours.