In what seems like the blink of an eye the eight years since the launch of our 2020 Festival for the Mark Benevolent Fund have passed and our 2020 Festival fundraising is now closed. I have formally handed over the baton to R.W. Bro. Alex McLaren, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, and I have wished him and his members every success with their 2021 Festival.
Whilst I am unable to tell you the overall total raised towards our target of Â£1.25 million, that figure will have to wait until the Grand Secretary reveals it at our rescheduled Festival Result & Gala Dinner event, I am able today to make some other announcements…
All 60 Mark Lodges in the Province have qualified as MBF Grand Patron Diamond Lodges and, in consequence of that superb effort, Kent has become an MBF Grand Patron Diamond Province, the very first Province in the whole Constitution to achieve the highest accolade available from the MBF.
Secondly, I had hoped that all of our Royal Ark Mariner Lodges would achieve at least MBF VicePatron by the end of the Festival. Well, they have done rather better than that! All 47 R.A.M. Lodges have become MBF Grand Patron Gold Lodges and 22 of those have gone one better by becoming MBF Grand Patron Diamond Lodges.
Thirdly, 105 of our 107 Mark and R.A.M. Lodges have achieved a 2020 Festival Provincial Award including 33 Bronze Awards, 13 Silver Awards and 59 Platinum Awards, the highest Festival Award available.
These results are quite simply stunning and I thank every single individual, Lodge, Province, District and Order for their wonderful support. I am grateful to V.W. Bro. David Green for his tireless work as our Festival Chairman and to every member of his 2020 Festival Committee for the many hours of hard work over the last eight years. I do hope they all believe it was well worth the effort.
We now look forward to our Festival Result & Gala Dinner at the Kent Event Centre & Showground when we plan to provide you with a spectacular conclusion to the 152nd Annual Festival of the Mark Benevolent Fund. But please be assured that we shall not hold this event until it is safe to do so.
R.W. Bro. Archibald I. Torrance
Provincial Grand Master