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The Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset was opened in due form by V.W.Bro Ben Batley, Deputy Provincial Grand Master In Charge, at 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday 26th October 2022 at the Webbington Hotel, Loxton, Somerset.
The occasion was called in order to install V.W.Bro. Ray Guthrie as Provincial Grand Master (PGM) for the Province of Somerset.
A unique event, always, but made even more special due to a couple of very unusual circumstances……………
Firstly, the Installing and Presiding Officer, from The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) was R.W.Bro David Medlock DL, himself having been the PGM for Somerset since April 2019 and until his recent and much-celebrated promotion to Assistant Grand Master on 14th September 2022.
Secondly, in May this year, Ray had also been Installed as the Grand Superintendent of Royal Arch Masonry, making him now the Principal Officer of both Craft and Royal Arch Masonry in Somerset.
Thirdly, Ray was very pleased to able to reappoint his son, Tony, as one of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, alongside Richard Winter, both of whom had been previously appointed to that office by David Medlock whilst he was PGM. Ben Batley was also reappointed as Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Any one of these situations would have been really quite unusual in isolation, but for all three to occur together really made this occasion extra special………
Around 460 Brethren were in attendance of which nearly 290 remained to dine after the Installation Meeting.
Ten Rulers from neighbouring Provinces were also in attendance, in the persons of, R.W.Brothers Ian Kingsbury (Devonshire), Tim Henderson-Ross (Gloucestershire), Jonathan Davis (Bristol), Roger Pemberton (Shropshire), Michael Holland (Herefordshire), A. James Ross (West Wales),
Jonathan Whitaker (Hampshire and Isle of Wight), D. Gerald Rowbottom (South Wales), John Reid (Wiltshire) and V.W.Bro. Roger Cargeeg, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge (Cornwall). Also, three other Past PGM’s of Somerset were also present – R.W.Bros. Stanley Hopkins, David Jenkins and Stuart Hadler.
Ray’s Installation was completed in an exemplary manner, ably assisted and coordinated by V.W.Bro Charles Hopkinson-Woolley, Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Ray then made an insightful address to the meeting, outlining his appointment and also his intention to oversee the consolidation and increasing membership numbers in Somerset, as well as further strengthening the link between Craft and Royal Arch Masonry.
Proceedings were brought to a conclusion after lunch with the traditional toasts and responses, which further highlighted Somerset’s reputation as a happy, effective and fun-loving Province. Long may that continue!
The Brethren of Somerset wish R.W.Bro Ray many happy and successful years at the helm.
Below are some of the photos from this very enjoyable event, mostly by courtesy of Bro Les Pickersgill, Provincial Events Photographer…
Date for your diaries……The 2023 Provincial Annual Meeting will be held at the Webbington Hotel on THURSDAY 6TH APRIL.
Most of the photos courtesy of Les: firstname.lastname@example.org