Mess President’s Address, Friday 25th November 2016
Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren, Brethren all, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all here tonight and to thank you for supporting this Mess.
Some of you may have noticed that I am from the North, even further North than the Northern outskirts of Colchester which is where I live and which is almost as far as you can go in Essex before you come to Suffolk, if you need any help interpreting I am sure there are a few spread around the room this evening who will be only too happy to help, otherwise you will have to wait until this appears on the web site to find out what it was all about.
It is a great honour to hold the position of Provincial Grand Junior Warden and I feel very privileged to be following in the footsteps of some very illustrious Brethren. When our Provincial Grand Master first offered me the role he told me to think very carefully before I gave him my answer, I thought long and hard for about a millisecond before accepting, he told me I would be expected to support 1044 (the Installed Masters and Enthroned Commanders Lodges); not a problem I said; to accompany him where possible on his visits, again not a problem, and to conduct official visits of my own. By this time I was thinking this is a bit of a breeze, then he said “and of course you will be Mess President and give the address at the Provincial Mess” and I thought “maybe this isn’t such a breeze after all”.
So, with reflection I thought, “what on earth am I going to say at the Mess?” bearing in mind that the usual topics for great debate, religion, politics & sport are, generally, all to be avoided. So I turned to the press and discovered that today is something called “Black Friday”. Apparently it is the day following Thanksgiving in the USA and for some reason it has been imported into the UK. That said, however, here in the UK we appear to have expanded on the theme and it now lasts all week and in some cases up to 10 days; my personal view is that like that other import, Halloween, we seem to be importing too much rubbish from the USA. That said, they can also be good for a laugh as the past two years of election hype over there has shown us-- oops almost strayed into politics there, although does American politics count as it is mainly light entertainment?
So I looked at the press again and noticed that England had lost a cricket match to India which can in no way be classed as sport and again must be classed as light entertainment- have you seen England batting!
I looked again and saw that FIFA are charging the FA and ScottishFA for having the temerity to wear poppies on black armbands for a recent football match and for staging an unauthorised ceremony and silence before the game! Obviously I have now strayed into politics, religion and sport as FIFA consider the poppy to be a symbol of political and religious significance!
Since I started writing this short address it has also come to light that FIFA are also to charge the FA Wales & FA Ireland because some spectators at their games wore poppies! It is indeed a poor reflection on the world when one of the most (allegedly!) corrupt organisations in world sport, takes action against its members for the simple act of remembrance.
Turning to the evening, once again the staff here at Saxon Hall has done us proud with the meal and I am sure the table stewards have been working tirelessly to ensure your glasses have remained charged. I would like to thank them all on your behalf for the excellent service they have provided to you this evening.
Thanks must also go to W.Bro. Mick West for all his hard work in ensuring this event runs as smoothly as it does. It is unfortunate that there are other events in the Province of Essex that are also taking place tonight and which must, as a consequence, reflect on the fact that our numbers are, slightly, down this year in comparison to previous years. Hopefully in future years we can stress on the Craft Province the importance of our Officers Mess and that some agreement can be reached.
So, Brethren, it is now my pleasure to propose the health of our Provincial Grand Master, I wish him continued good health and success for many years to come. Brethren, the toast is “The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master!”