On Monday 28th November a very foggy day dawned over “The FED” at Dunston for the Installation of the new Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of Durham.
There was lots of activity from early hours to set everything up and prepare for the formalities which were to follow. This would be the culmination of many weeks of diligent preparation by Allan Gurney and his team, and also Mike Davies and the DC team. The installing team from Grand Lodge assembled and progressed through practices with the officers from Durham, with the aim of a problem free ceremony.
Whilst this was going on, Brethren started arriving from all over the country and assembled for the big occasion, with an excited atmosphere building. A new Provincial Grand Master had to be installed following the recent appointment of Denny Wilson to Assistant Grand Master (AGM).
There was an air of anticipation building along with a few nerves for the big event. What would follow, was a splendid and slickly performed ceremony with all the panache and pomp to be expected of such an occasion.
To enable the meeting to proceed, Presiding Officers Frank Rankin and Danny Guy, both Past Deputy PGMs of the Province, opened Provincial Grand Lodge. The Pro Grand Master, John Prizeman and his team from Grand Lodge were announced and entered in majestic procession. They then occupied the various offices and took over to install the new Provincial Grand Master.
The Pro Grand Master, acting as Installing Officer, addressed the meeting and thanked Frank for his service to the Province and also for acting as Presiding Officer. In a slight break with protocol, the Past PGM was allowed to attend, much to the delight of all present, although it was pointed out with a smile, that Denny was here as the AGM.
The Patent of Appointment was presented to the Installing Officer. An escort was prepared comprising of members of Mark Lodges from across the Province of Durham. They then re-entered accompanying the PGM Designate, David Nigel Hanson. The chain of office was proudly carried at the front of the procession by Gil Crossley Snr. The Patent of Appointment from the Grand Master was read to all present by the Deputy Grand Secretary, Dan Heath.
The new Provincial Grand Master was duly presented, obligated, invested and installed by the Installing Officer, John Prizeman. David was then proclaimed Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Durham by the Grand Director of Ceremonies.
With David in the chair, the job of the day however was only partly completed. David then had the pleasure to instal the new Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Trevor Lynn in similar grandiose manner. The new Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Michael Wilkinson was then installed with the same splendour.
David then thanked the Pro Grand Master and his team for making the day such a wonderful occasion for the Province of Durham. He commented on how busy he is in his new role, having just performed ceremonies in Switzerland, Italy and Romania as well as installing two new Provincial Grand Masters. He also took the opportunity to acknowledge his good judgement of character, having appointed Prof. Denovan Wilson as Assistant Grand Master. David then made his presentation to the assembled brethren.
A full transcript of David’s presentation is available HERE.
Following closing of Provincial Grand Lodge, the hall was readied for the banquet where everyone enjoyed a fine meal and a few drinks. It was a wonderful happy and friendly atmosphere where enjoyment was the order of the day.
In replying to his toast, the Pro Grand Master, John Prizeman stated that it had been his pleasure to install the 10th Provincial Grand Master of Durham Mark Province. However, he was no stranger to Durham, having attended the AGM as the PGM of Hampshire & Isle of White and more recently at a number of centenary celebrations. He acknowledged that occasions such as this take much time and effort to organise and thanked the Provincial Grand Secretary, Allan Gurney for his work.
In addressing the membership, he advised that this Province can only prosper by supporting the new Provincial Grand Master. But above all, continue to enjoy yourselves. It has been a special day, the PGM’s role is a very demanding one, but David brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, with your support he will be able to lead the Province.
It is customary for meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge to be covered by members of the St. John’s Ambulance Service, this was no different. In recognition of their continued support and assistance, the Durham Mark Benevolent Fund presented a cheque towards their funds.
A very memorable day for everyone in attendance, but especially so for some.
You can find out more about St. John’s Ambulance service HERE
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For more about the Durham Mark Benevolent Fund click HERE