The 2022 Annual Meeting
Address given by R.Ill.Kt. Robert William Hancock, Intendant-General Division of Surrey

A sincere thank you again to our Distinguished guests especially our Grand Sovereign for attending this Annual General meeting of Surrey Division. It is always a great pleasure to be invited to Annual Divisional meetings and share the camaraderie of this wonderful Order. My thanks also to those members who have travelled long distances, particularly our Swiss knight companions Elie and Frances.

One thousand one hundred…that is the number of days since our last face to face AGM in April 2019! The benefit of modern technology assisted us during the lockdowns and dragged me into technical areas I did not know existed!

However, Masonry is built on social gatherings of brotherly love, relief and truth and isn’t it great to be meeting in person again! A special thank you to our Divisional Almoner John Coleman and all those worthy knights who kept in constant touch with those knights living alone or requiring some special needs. It is good to see the return of confidence towards meetings by those who have some underlying medical issues. We will continue with our approach of respecting the decisions of those still unsure about social meetings and demonstrate to them that we are very near a return to normal. Most of us will have received the 2nd booster and what with that with the flu jab and recent tetanus injection is making my left arm look like a pin cushion! The return to physical meetings meant we had to reorganise enthronements and consecrations, plus installing waiting new knights, particularly so as our conclaves meet twice a year. We are grateful to Grand Imperial Conclave for their pragmatic approach and assistance which enabled us to move dates to accommodate the backlog, and at no extra cost! The £10 refund on dues was also well received and thanks to the good housekeeping of our Divisional Treasurer we kept the Divisional dues to £1 for two years. However back to normal also means back to normal costs.

Our Operation Kickstart with Divisional Officers supporting Conclaves with numbers and also assistance with the ritual has ensured conclaves are back on an even keel. 8 new knights were installed in the past year and 9 knights have taken their Appendant Orders. We have 8 knights ready for installation in the coming year. One Conclave Surrey West Africa has required an emergency meeting for 2 installations and they have 4 waiting. There are still a couple of Conclaves who have not attracted new candidates. I make my annual appeal to you worthy knights to actively look amongst your Royal Arch Chapters and the other Christian Orders for Candidates to this wonderful and fulfilling Order. I have managed to find 2 new knights distantly related to the Hancock clan who will be joining this year. Please encourage potential candidates to look at our web site and learn more of the order and its Christian ethos.

Today however we have a triple whammy, our meetings on the last Saturday in April every so often runs to the 5th Saturday which is a Bank Holiday week end, coupled with the late Easter week we have been squeezed this year with knights wishing to take a deserved holiday break, many members of Surrey West Africa are visiting their families on that continent for the first time for many months. Sussex OSM Provincial meeting also meets on this day as does the Red Cross Recorders Conclave. Again sir, we are grateful to you for coming mob handed to swell our numbers and that gratitude extends to all our guests and our members. We in Surrey are rightly proud of our Charitable giving in Surrey. I presented a cheque for £2.5K to the Provincial Grand Master, Surrey Mark last September in support of his Festival, many knights and conclaves have also donated separately to the festival. The Division has also given £1K to St Mary’s Church, Long Ditton to fund their defibrillator which will be installed in May. The Grand Sovereign’s Care for Children Fund has assisted us further in supporting Stem4, a Surrey based charity, which supports teenagers suffering mental stress with a cheque for £2.5K which I presented last month. Such a vital charity for teenagers at this difficult time. I also had support from conclaves towards the free meals project at West London Masonic Centre, where I am Chairman, which provided over 17,000 meals for needy families during 2020/21.

Now some hearty congratulations. Promotions in Grand Rank this year go to Ill.Kt. Nigel Thomson to Past Grand High Almoner (making him a V.Ill.Kt.), so well deserved for the work he does in the Division, particularly for the Appendant Orders. Also to Ill.Kt. Mike Neville as Grand Orator, well deserved Mike we all know that Oration is your forte and your work for the Appendant Orders is well noted.

First Appointments go to P.Kt. Leslie Grout who unfortunately is engaged on other Masonic business today and P.Kt. Ian Keen both for their excellent support work in the Division. (Round of Applause) Their investiture will be at the Grand Imperial Conclave meeting in July. I wish to sincerely thank the outgoing Divisional Officers who have all stepped up to the plate to assist our Operation Kickstart. My hearty congratulations go to our newly appointed Divisional Officers who I know will be supporting the official visits over the coming year. The dates of those will be announced in the coming month.

Our Red Cross luncheon will again be at the RAF Club, courtesy of Ill.Kt. Paul Fitzgerald. The date is Friday 26th August. A flyer will be out shortly. Please make every effort to come along with your wives and partners, it is a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful lunch in superb surroundings and to say a thank you to them.

Of course, these occasions require planning and dedication, and I am as always eternally grateful to Chris Cradock, our hard-working Recorder, Simon McCarthy, our Divisional Marshal, our Captain of the Sepulchre Guard, and our Treasurer for their planning which has enabled the meeting to flow perfectly. Last but by no means least I must inform you that this will be my last Surrey AGM as your Intendant General, I plan to retire on 31st March 2023, just short of 10 years. Subject of course to anything the Grand Sovereign might say. Ill.Kt. Andrew, Deputy Intendant General will be IG in charge from then until the next AGM. Andrew does not wish to take the I-G role and will stay on to assist the new I-G in his first year in office, your new I-G will be announced in the autumn. Staying until 31st March will enable me to visit all our Conclaves for a final hurrah.

Worthy Knights it has been a wonderful and thoroughly rewarding journey for me since my investiture in April 2013, when our Grand Sovereign, as Grand Marshal, supervised the day. He was there to clap me in and he is here today to clap me out! I am confident you will give your newly appointed Intendant General the unstinting support you have given me. I shall of course continue my memberships of conclaves withing the Division and be available as required for any ritual support.

Worthy knights and knights of all Distinctions I wish you well for the coming years and thank you as always for your kind attention to this address.

God bless and keep you all.

Robert William Hancock 30 April 2022

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