Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Kent
Annual Burns’ Night 2020

The Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Archie Torrance, and his wife, Maggie, were delighted to welcome almost 300 guests to the annual Mark Province of Kent Burns Night held at the Mercure Hotel, Maidstone on Saturday 25th January 2020.

Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020 Annual Burns Night 2020

Guests were warmly welcomed into the foyer by members of the Kent Mark Stewards’ Lodge who were on hand to give assistance if and when required. In the foyer, guests mingled and chatted with friends and acquaintances while enjoying drinks from the bar and listening to the skirl of the pipes.

At just before 6pm the Master of Ceremonies, Chic Cameron, called for guests to be seated in the banqueting hall, which had been beautifully decorated by Toni Ward. At 6pm precisely the Provincial Grand Master and Maggie Torrance where escorted into the dining room by the piper. Immediately following the Selkirk Grace which was given by Chic Cameron, the Haggis, borne by the Hotel Chef, was then duly piped into the banqueting hall accompanied by the Provincial Grand Master and the Master of Ceremonies. A spectacular Address to a Haggis was delivered by the Provincial Grand Master, which included removing the Chef’s hat with a flourish of the piper’s dirk. A hearty toast to the Haggis was then proposed by the Provincial Grand Master and eagerly taken up by all the guests, before the Haggis was returned to the kitchen for serving.

During the meal, the guests were encouraged to take part in a raffle organised by Peter Hayler, which included a separate prize draw for £50. Sincere thanks are extended to all who provided raffle prizes for the evening.

On completion of the meal consisting of haggis, followed by pulled venison, then shortbread shortcake with raspberries, the Loyal Toast was given by the Provincial Grand Master. the Toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns was given in word and song by Nigel Scott-Moncrief and was enthusiastically received and enjoyed by all the guests. Prior to the Toast tae the Lassies, the Provincial Grand Master took time to wish Mrs Heather Ward-Russell a very happy birthday before leading the guests in a chorus of Happy Birthday.

Annual Burns Night 2020

He then invited Linda Mitchell, Amanda Wiggins, Toni Ward and Maggie Torrance to receive their MBF awards and thanked them all for the support they give to the Province, (above).

This was then followed by a surprise presentation of a beautiful bouquet of flowers to Toni Ward by the PGM to thank her for all the hard work she puts into decorating the banqueting hall for the Burns Suppers. The PGM then set about delivering a most amusing toast tae the lassies which was enthusiastically received by the guests.

Julie Beavers then responded on behalf of the lassies with a wonderful reply that was extremely well received by all of the guests. Julie was then presented with a bottle of her favourite tipple by the PGM. However, before the PGM could leave the floor he was presented with a set of engraved glasses commemorating the 2020 Burns Supper on behalf of the organising committee by Toni Ward. Julie Beavers was then delighted to present a memento of the evening to R. W. Bro Ryan Williams, the Grand Secretary of the Mark Degree, on behalf of the Mark Province of Kent. Both these presentations were greeted with loud applause.

Before the guests had time to settle, Tom and Eunice Quinn took to the floor to deliver an extraordinarily funny musical interlude that had the audience in fits of laughter. When the set was completed Eunice was presented with an orchid by Archie our own PGM and Tom was presented with a set of engraved glasses by Maggie Torrance. In response to this Tom Quinn, who is the Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of London, surprised us all by making a magnificent donation of £2,250 to the Kent Mark 2020 Festival on behalf of Mark Province of London. This was greeted with thunderous applause by all the guests.

At this point in the evening it usual for the Provincial Executive to take to the floor and accompanied by the band Where’s Brian sing 500 miles. In truth everything was going splendidly well until an electrical circuit in the hotel entertainment consul tripped a fuse, despite this the Provincial Executive carried on with great gusto and enthusiasm to complete the song. Once the electrical fault had been repaired the rest of the evening was given over to dancing to the music of ‘Where’s Brian’ which was enjoyed by everyone. This was evidenced by the fact that the dance floor was never empty from the moment they started to play until the final chord was struck at just after midnight.

The Provincial Grand Master then took to the stage to thank everyone for coming and to wish them a safe journey home. He also thanked the organising team for all their hard work and efforts in making the evening such a huge success. Lastly, he thanked the band for making a donation of £100 to the 2020 festival from their fee.

There then followed Auld Lang Syne which this year was played by the piper and should signal the end of the evening but by popular demand the band were asked to continue playing which they did until half past midnight. Finally, it must be stated that this was the biggest, and some say the best Burns night ever held by the Mark Province of Kent and we are delighted to announce that the event raised a total of £5,750 in support of our 2020 Festival. A huge thank you therefore must go to everyone for their generosity.

The next Kent Mark Burns Night will be held on Saturday 23rd January 2021. Please do come along and give us your support and we will endeavour to make this another wonderful fun filled evening.

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