Notes from the Provincial Grand Junior Warden's Speech
Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren, Brethren All. Provincial Grand Master,
Sir, I have had great difficulty in finding some superlative to say about our PGM that has not already been said. Over, the short duration I have had the honour of working with you, I have not only learnt about our trade but have met an individual of varying traits who has disseminated the bond of happiness and friendship in such a way which makes one really feel that this is a true family and fraternity.
I have even learnt to take insults: At the festive board of a Lodge meeting “that was ****** work in the Lodge, Ranjit!” or; “What time do you call this” looking at his watch. Make a mistake i.e. wear or have the wrong regalia or tie, and something you wish to hide is announced loud and clear in the Lodge leading to happy laughter. Wear a floral shirt, forget to pack the white one, O my God, the word goes around all day long!
Terry, you are also amusing and funny. Brethren, at a dinner in the restaurant in Spain, he tells the waiters (pointing discreetly and mumbling words behind his hand), “it’s his Birthday!” What next? The whole waiting team, the chef and kitchen staff come out with a cake the size of a muffin with a candle all singing “happy birthday”. What a laugh. What a jovial PGM!
A few years ago I was honoured as Prov.G.Stwd, although that was an office with no work. At meetings I would go round and looking for a job, only to be told “Ranjit relax, we will call you if needed”. Soon afterwards I was again honoured with the office of Prov. G. Sword Bearer. Wow, my mind was wondering, “how did I deserve that, there must have been an error!” But, Terry, thank you! I once remember the words you used “Sikhs are known to use the sword well! Make sure you use it well”.
It was during this period when the Royal Oak Tree Lodge was suffering with very low numbers when, at one of the EIMM meetings, you came up to me with a short message in my ear “You’ve got to do something to get the Lodge going, even if you change to an Indian Lodge!”
The words started echoing in my ears. I took it to heart and said to myself something has to be done. We had tried all avenues, what now. That was a mission come from the “High of High”, I’m a Sikh, and Orders must be followed. The rest is history.
Later, following the success of the Khalsa Royal Oak Tree, to my surprise in a little room at Chingford, the same voice again, “Ranjit, I should like to appoint you as the ProvGJW, (my heart started pitter pattering) will you take that office?" I still do not know what I said, but here I am today!
Terry, sipping pints (and pints!) of that famous beer, San Miguel, in Benidorm in the company of our Mark Brothers was an absolute Godsend. The first visit was more of a feeler, but now I believe in Jan/Feb 2020 it will be the 4th with some well experienced Brethren. Thank you for introducing pleasure in Mark visits abroad and what a great time we have had.
Sir, you visit many Provincial Meetings, and I have had the pleasure of accompanying you to some of them. What I feel at these meetings is the surprise of the manner of the introductions you plan. For example, when I’m having a casual conversation, someone creeps up behind me and gives a massage on my shoulders, who better to have organised that but Terry, but who is the individual? Only RW Bro David Powell, the PGM of Monmouthshire. I had similar introductions to RW Bro Gareth Jones PGM of South Wales and RW Bro Gordon Craig PGM of Northumberland and RW Bro Bob Clancey, the PGM of North and East Yorks!
Finally, at a sesqui-centenary Lodge meeting at MMM’s Hall, again you found the time to introduce me to MW Bro Raymond John Smith, the Pro Grand Master! This special care and attention which I believe you give to us all is greatly appreciated, you really make Essex Mark what it is today.
At a meeting we talked of it being an ancient custom in India to touch the feet of an Elder as a mark of respect and in turn you get a blessing by way of pat on the back or head. That was purely information. The next thing I had a proposal to do this on entry to the Consecration of the Essex Armed Forces Lodge. I think that on the first occasion somebody thought you had dropped something and I went off track to pick it up. On the second they were all better informed. Great observations all round. What a great idea. Different!
Provincial Grand Master your visits in the last 12 months. You have attended in the last 12 months 19 external events. These visits stretching from Northumbria over to Wales, down to the Channel Islands and then over to East Anglia.
You have attended in your official capacity 16 Essex Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. During this period you have consecrated two new Mark Lodges in Essex, the Northern Star Lodge, No. 2012 and the Essex Armed Forces Lodge, No. 2016 and in addition resurrected the Fillebrook RAM lodge as a “DC’s Lodge of Excellence”. You have been supported on average by 18 Provincial Officers at each meeting you attend. Also, in 2020 you have earmarked for attending 21 Provincial meetings up and down the country. A truly remarkable journey representing the Province of Essex and supporting the Members and Lodges of Essex. How you get time to do all this I do not know. You must have an understanding family especially your wife, who lets you loose to attend all these meetings. We thank your lady for allowing you to be with us, without you our Essex Mark Masters Lodges would not be the same.
Sir, thank you for all you have done for all of us here. Thank you for the manner in which you conduct the affairs of Essex Mark Masonry. We could not ask for any more.
Brethren, the toast is “The Provincial Grand Master!”