Below is a copy of the address given by W.Bro Nick Parsons PSGD, APGM at the Provincial AGM on the 22nd June 2016.
RWProvGM and Brethren
This is my annual opportunity to update you all on Festival progress. The first point I would like to make is that our new ProvGM has confirmed the target remains at £3.25m. So, how are we doing? We are at the half way mark and as of this week you have donated £1,352K and pledged a further £338K by way of the Regular Promise to Pay scheme.
A total to date of £1,690K sounds good, Brethren, but we did get off to a flyer and there’s still a long way to go. You are all aware of the GSB award scheme and so far we have 50 Bronze, 6 Silver and 4 Gold (one of which will receive their award in a few minutes). My congratulations to you all and don’t forget that you can now display your award logo on your summonses for the duration of the Festival.
I mentioned pledges by way of the Regular Promise to Pay scheme. This is the easy way of qualifying as a Festival Steward by spreading your donation over the rest of the Festival period – still only £5 per month. You all know that I am keen to see as many Stewards as possible wearing their jewels. Don’t worry, Brethren, I’m not going to ask for a show of hands this year – you’ve wised up to that one!
I will say, however, that whilst the number of Stewards and Patrons approaches the 2000 mark that still only represents a third of our membership. So, my request to you this year, and challenge, is that if each of us can persuade just one brother to become a steward between now and Christmas we can significantly improve support. Just one (could be yourself) during the next 6 months is all I’m asking. Please take a hand-out after you leave the meeting.
To celebrate the half-way mark we are about to embark on the Big Week next month. There are celebrations across the Province and I know of at least 22 events being organised. So far the Big Week has raised more than £10,000 and it hasn’t even started yet!
One of the notable events taking place in which I have a vested interest is the tandem parachute jump on 16th July. When I say vested interest, Brethren, I mean, of course, personal involvement. Oh yes, you’ve got it, my wife Angela is jumping this year! She is one of a group of women who hope for your support. One other Brother, not far from me, also has a vested interested in the parachute jump – our new ProvGM will launch himself out as well. On your tables at the Festive Board you will find sponsorship forms for this event. Please mark their commitment by giving as generously as you can.
I have, of course, to express my thanks on your behalf to all the members of the Festival Committee and their teams. We have had some changes this year so I would particularly like to thank Paul Crockett who has been an excellent ProvGChStwd and will now be Chairman of the Festival Committee; Bill Caughie, who sourced the exciting venue for our Festival dinner in 2019 and now moves on to other things and, Brethren, the freemason formerly known simply as WBro Ian Chandler, who steered the committee through the pre-launch planning, the launch and right up to date – and who has also moved on to other things!
Brethren, with reference to our new ProvGM, he is of course our new Festival President and has lost no time in sanctioning a new award. The Festival President’s Award will be open to Lodges, Chapters, groups, masons and non-masons, men, women, boys and girls. Full application details will soon be available but this award will celebrate the second period of the Festival by rewarding how funds are raised rather than how much. So, the funniest, craziest, most inventive, innovative and those going the extra mile will all be considered. Get your families involved and have fun qualifying. Remember, Brethren the award will be based on how, not how much.
Finally, Brethren, my thanks to you all for your support to date. Let’s carry on as we’ve started and I’m confident that you can deliver, and who knows even exceed, the target.