When I was installed as Provincial Prior of this wonderful Province of East Anglia on the 8th. July 2010, by the M.E. and Supreme Grand Master, the late Leslie Felgate Dring, I never realised in a million years what a wonderful journey it would be.
What started off as a bit of fun, soon developed into a tradition, where Provincial Priors and guests came in their masses, to our Provincial meetings, to hear me insult them, but always in that kind, friendly and thought provoking way, and I hope today was not an exception, but in a not so time consuming way, as in the past.
I would like to thank all of our guests, both official and personal, as well as the Heads of Orders in East Anglia, for giving up their free time in such a liberal way, your friendship and companionship means a lot to not only me, but to the Brother Knights of this Province.
I would like to pay tribute to a few Brother Knights, who have helped me develop and mould this Province into a vibrant, happy and above all, a coercive one.
V.E. Kt. Bill Hagger has been unstinting in his support in making certain that the Brother Knights do not swerve off the straight and undeviating course he wishes them all to be on. To V.E. Kt. Peter Coles for making certain that I do not stray from the straight and undeviating course, he wishes me to stay on, and last but by no means least to E. Kt. Colin Birkbeck, whose attention to detail makes certain that every Provincial function is dealt with in meticulous detail. These are the members of my Executive, that as you all know have not changed since I started, so if you pick well at the start, they will be there at the end. Thank you Great Captain of Our Salvation.
Of course I have had three Chancellors, Marshals, Commanders of the Bodyguard, as well as Deputy Commanders, who have served this Province well, and in an exemplary fashion, and in many cases are the envy of other Provinces, and long may that continue.
I would like to thank all the Brother Knights for helping us as a Province to achieve such wonderful results in our giving to the Eye Hospital, which was one thing I was so keen to achieve over my tenure of office, which last year yielded over £14,500, or 14% of all the monies given by Provincial Priories in this country, and in thanking you all I would of course say a personal thank you, to E. Kt. Roger Hack our Provincial Treasurer, for co-ordinating all our charitable giving. The money that we have given will just about pay for one nurse for a year, so well done to you all.
We now have 503 members according to our statistics from Mark Masons’ Hall, which have swelled our attendance to 237, so after 10 years we have managed to beat Lancashire as the best attended Province, so thank you Brother Knights.
We have had a lot of innovations over the years, like our Provincial visits, one to each to our three respective Counties that make up East Anglia, two K.T., and one K.M. each year: our Family Church Services, that moves around the three Counties as well as our Knight Templar Banquets, held at a different venue each year, the Bodyguard Bar-B-Ques, as well as our Boat trip on the Broads last year on that iconic sternwheeler, ‘The Southern Comfort,’ not forgetting, over the years a bicentennial, three sesqui-centennial and a presentation for a 60 year certificate, still the only one in the Liber Book.
I was so pleased to be awarded the K.C.T., this year in May, by the M.E. and Supreme Grand Master, and even more pleased that so many Knights attended Great Priory to support me, I can assure you it was a wonderful occasion.
Lastly I would like to thank you all for making this a most memorable and fantastic journey for me, and one I promise to you all that I will never forget, and remember,
‘Good, better best,
May you never rest,
Until your good is better,
And your better, best.’
Remember, worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.
May the Great Captain of our Salvation be with us all.
Stewart C. L. Middleton K.C.T.
Provincial Prior East Anglia.
Saturday 22nd February 2020