Most of us are only too aware that among Mark Master Masons you will ever find friends, who will administer relief to your distress and comfort in your affliction.
These key words truly came to the fore over the weekend of June 13th 2020.
As you know, the culmination of the 152nd Mark Benevolent Fund Festival at The Kent Event Centre & Showground in Detling, just outside Maidstone, was originally scheduled for Saturday June 13th. However following the Covid-19 outbreak, and the necessary general suspension of all Masonic activity, including social events, the celebratory proceedings of the weekend were postponed.
The weekend’s festivities were due to commence on Friday 12th with the President’s Inter-Province Golf Championship at Kings Hill Golf Club, when teams from far and wide planned to combine the trip to Kent for the Festival with a bumper golf tournament.
With everyone having already cleared their diaries many months ago, R.W.Bro. Archie Torrance and his wife Maggie arranged a special, virtual T@3 to send best wishes from our Provincial Executive, our Festival Planning Team and their wives and partners to everyone that would have joined us at the Festival weekend.
Our social media channels and inboxes were overflowing both before, during and after the weekend with comforting messages, some of which can be read below:
How sad it is that we will not all be gathering later today to begin the weekend of celebrating what would have been the climax of all the wonderful effort within the Province, supported by our other Provinces and other Orders, in support of the Mark Benevolent Fund and the excellent work it does on behalf of all our Members supporting those among us who find themselves in distress and also assisting many Worthy Causes.
Whilst not aware of the detail I am in no doubt that through your inspirational leadership, the devotion and dedication of the Festival Committee and the amazing support of the membership of the Mark Province of Kent, the Festival total will be a result that the Province will and should be rightly proud of. That total would have been announced at the Festival dinner tomorrow, it would have been the highlight of the evening and the subject of conversation and pride until it was time for sleep.
I know how much work has been put into the preparation for the Festival dinner and the following entertainment and I along with some 1,300 others had been looking forward to it with great expectation and excitement.
We remain, however, in hope that the current lockdown restrictions will be lifted when safe to do so and in time for us to celebrate these deferred festivities on the 9th and 10th of October, containing our intoxicating desire for what will undoubtedly be an evening to remember and savour for many years to come.
I share with you and all those who would have been joining us for this weekend’s festivities a huge sense of disappointment but also great expectation that we shall keep well and be able to get together when safe to do so and enjoy ourselves even more.
With very best wishes
M.W.Bro. Raymond J. Smith
Pro Grand Master
Dear R.W.Bro. Archie,
Who would have thought just 4 or 5 months ago that the 152nd Festival event would have to be postponed because of Covid-19?.
Whilst we all lament the fact that we arenât at Detling this weekend enjoying the sunshine and basking in the reflective glory of a fantastic result, we can use this time to reflect on all that has been achieved by you, your Festival Committee and your Brethren. The final total is almost irrelevant alongside an assessment of the enjoyment that you have all had raising funds for the Mark Benevolent Fund and I know how much you have enjoyed what you have done.
I look forward with great hope to October and am keeping my fingers crossed that the event will go ahead then as planned but, if not, Plan C is in place and even if government restrictions limit the attendance, we can still celebrate Kentâs latest entry on the Roll of Festival Provinces.
Some would say now is the time to ease back the throttle a little and draw breath after a frantic few years fundraising but I know you have lots of new initiatives in plan and these will undoubtedly keep you busy for the foreseeable future.
Stay safe and keep well.,
R.W.Bro. Ryan A. Williams, P.G.J.W.
At about this time we should have all been gathering for the weekend with you in Kent to celebrate your MBF Festival, which for obvious reasons has been postponed.
I am sure your disappointment and that of your Brethren must be immense as the culmination of all your hard work should have come to fruition tomorrow.
Please extend to all your Brethren my best wishes and that of all of West Lancashire on what I am sure would have been a most successful and enjoyable event. Hopefully it will be possible to hold it at the earliest possible future date.
I have at hand a special bottle of Port which at 9 pm tomorrow I will toast your health and that of the Province of Kent.
R.W.Bro. Keith Beardmore
Provincial Grand Master – West Lancashire
I thought Iâd let you know that a number of us – who would have been there to support you in Detling, had the original date been possible last night – got together for some socially-distanced drinks and a curry, and we toasted you, Maggie and the Mark Province, on what would have undoubtedly been a stunning evening, in what proved to be such glorious weather.
Iâm very hopeful that we shall be able to support you suitable in a similar way in October, and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to hold the function at that time.
RW. Bro. Mark Douglas Estaugh
Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Lodge of West Kent
I really hope you and your lovely lady have managed to keep safe & healthy. I do feel sorry for you that firstly you were not able hold the Inter-Provincial Golf yesterday.
I had lined up a very competitive team and we were looking forward to putting Sussexâs name on the Trophy again. However that pales into insignificance with the delay in Kent not being able to celebrate the MBF Festival tonight.
I am sure you would have come close if not exceeded our total last year and it would have been a fantastic evening.
Please accept mine and all from Sussex congratulations for your very successful Festival and we will definitely be at the Festival Banquet having a great night, whenever it is possible you can make it happen.
Keep safe & healthy
Ivor Bennett was P.Prov.G.ChStwd. Sussex
It was such a shame that you were unable to host the big Festival Event but I am sure we will able to, in some way, in the not too distant future.
I am just emailing you really to congratulate you on the amazing job done by you and your team. I do not know what the total published amount is likely to be but I have no doubt it will be an incredible figure. The work and commitment of you and your team has been astonishing and a huge credit to your organising ability and leadership.
We do not have such things in the Rose Croix but, if we did, I can honestly say that there is no way that I could have even attempted to match what you and your team have achieved.
So, sleep well now, in the full and happy knowledge that you have completed a very wonderful and hugely successful Festival.
Sincerely, fraternally and with very kind regards,
Graham C Higgs, 33Ë
Inspector General â District of West Kent
Ancient & Accepted Rite
In conclusion, R.W. Bro. Archie commented “We look forward to welcoming everyone to our Festival Result & Gala Dinner at the Kent Event Centre & Showground, hopefully in October, but only when it is safe to do so”.