Intendant General Address 2021

RCC West Midlands Divisional Meeting 20 February 2021

Good morning again Worthy Knights. I have already introduced our guests from other Divisions and once again I welcome them and thank everyone from our own Division for their support today.

We have lived through difficult times and I am aware of the significant pressures that the COVID pandemic has created for all of us, not least the concern for the health and safety of our loved ones.  Thankfully we can now see some light at the end of a very dark tunnel and can hope for a return to some form of normality later in the year.

A number of Conclaves have candidates in the pipeline and I encourage you to maintain contact and cultivate them, to retain their interest in joining us. When we start meeting again it is important that we deliver good ceremonial to new Knight-Companions. The long recess may mean that we have all ‘gone off the boil’, therefore I strongly recommend that when it’s possible, we have some formal rehearsals before we ‘go live’ with actual candidates, so they gain the best possible impression of the Order.  If any conclave needs assistance in performing ceremonies the Division will be delighted to support

As well as my excellent Divisional Recorder, Ill Kt Geoff Watkins, who has been a tremendous support during this past year.  I’m sure Geoff would like me to acknowledge and thank the staff at Mark Masons’ Hall, for the support we have received from them, they have given us tremendous support, despite working under very difficult circumstances.

I thank each of the Conclave Recorders for their work in maintaining communications with their members, particularly arranging Virtual meetings using video conferencing. Their work has been vital during this extended ‘closed season’. I encourage all the Conclaves to conduct these Virtual meetings, even if they are informal events. It will still be some months before we are able to hold physical meetings and it is important to keep in close contact with each other.

I also thank the Treasurers for maintaining Conclave finances in good order and paying dues in a timely manner. This has been particularly difficult during a period when we have not been meeting regularly and I am grateful for all that they have done. May I, on behalf of the Conclave Treasurers, request that you all pay your Annual Subscriptions as soon as they become due, with such a long break between meetings it has been a herculean task to gather in all the outstanding monies, which has caused significant additional work for some Treasurers.

This is a good moment to mention that, as you will have seen, Grand Imperial Conclave has announced a reduced in the Annual Fees of £10 per member, for the year commencing 1st September 2021. This saving must be passed on to each subscribing member of the Conclave.

I congratulate all those who have today been appointed to Divisional Office, my hope is that at some point this year we shall be able to resume our normal meetings, I shall then be able to properly invest those I have appointed to Divisional Office.

Some may think it strange that I have not left the current Divisional Officers ‘in post’, suffice in to say that I have my reasons, mainly related to progression.

It would be remiss of me not to congratulate all those who were appointed and promoted to Grand Rank last July. Obviously, the meeting of Grand imperial Conclave could not take place, but your appointments are just as effective and I am sure the Grand Sovereign would have reminded you that they are based, not only on what you have done for the Order in the past, but also what you are expected to do the future.

I shall not dwell further on the current pandemic, I am sure that we have all heard enough on the subject, however it has caused me to postpone the Divisional Sunday Lunch, originally planned for the 16th May. This has now been scheduled for Sunday 15th May 2022 and again this will be held at the Wishaw Country Sports Ground at Sutton Coldfield. Those who have visited this venue will know what a fabulous meal they provide and I look forward to your support for this event next year

The extended recess has had a very significant impact on all charities and those we support are suffering a reduction in the donations they receive, whilst at the same time experiencing an increased demand for their services 

Through the Grand Sovereign’s Care for Children Fund, we have continued to make grants to local Children’s charities, with £2500 each, donated to the Donna Louise Hospice for Children, the Pied Piper Appeal, Winston’s Wish, Jigsaw Thornbury and Worcestershire Young Carers. They each provide care & support to young children and their families. Three of these charities said that without our support they could not have survived, so we know that our support is necessary and valued.

Last year we also donated a further £2000 to The Royal British Legion Battle-Back Centre. I would like to be able to continue with these grants, but this is entirely dependent on your continued generosity, all donations, no matter how small, are important. Some of you have continued to make donations to the Divisional Fund, either directly or through your Conclave, for which I sincerely thank you.

Equally others have suffered financial hardship and I certainly don’t expect them to make that situation worse by giving what they cannot afford remember “without detriment to yourself or connections”.

Where you do feel able to make a donation, we have included the details of Divisional Bank Account on the Invitation to this meeting. The proceeds will go to the Grand Sovereign’s Care for Children Fund.

Before I close, I would like to thank Ill Kt Paul Mycock for arranging the loan of the Zoom facility from the Operatives and P Kt Tony Cheesman, our Divisional Marshal, for acting as Zoom host today.

I look forward to the time when we can hold physical meetings again, hopefully it will not be too long. Our next Annual Meeting, on the19th February 2022, should be a ‘live’ event, in the meantime, please continue to take care and look after yourselves and your families. Thank you for your attention, I would normally wish you a safe journey home, but I expect most of you are already there.

John Tristram