2017 Annual General Meeting : Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee.

The Arthur Square Masonic Centre, Belfast.

The Arthur Square Masonic Centre, Belfast.

I was very grateful to the members of The Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee for their kind invitation to attend the Annual General Meeting of their Committee, which was held in one of the top floor function rooms of the Arthur Square Masonic Centre, on Saturday the 11th March 2017.

Right Wor Bro John Dickson P.G,M of Antrim with some of the Committee Members.

Right Wor Bro John Dickson P.G,M of Antrim with some of the Committee Members.

Their Guest of Honour on this occasion was Right Worshipful Brother John Dickson, Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, and he performed the important duty as Chairman, to superintend the annual election of Officers to serve on The Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee for the year 2017-18. The meeting was well attended by members of the Orphan’s Welfare Committee, and they were supported by a number of representatives from The Belfast Masonic Charity Fund and the Belfast Masonic Widow’s Fund.

Wor Bro Michael Alexander.

Wor Bro Michael Alexander.

The meeting began promptly at 11.00AM with the Summons to Attend, followed by a report from Wor Bro Michael Alexander with a few of the many thank-you letters received from third level students who have received financial support through the efforts of this committee. A number of these letters were read, from recipients, living all over the island of Ireland, who are currently at various stages in their university studies, on a wide range of academic subjects. The general theme, from most of these students, is the fact that these financial grants, remove an element of worry from all of these recipients, allowing them to concentrate fully on their studies.

The Honorary Treasurer Making his Report.

The Honorary Treasurer Making his Report.

The second report came from Wor Bro David Wallace, Honorary Treasurer, which laid out in great detail, the sound financial investments and, ongoing fund raising underway to under-right the work of this Committee. In this the Centenary Year of The Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee, he spent some time on how the Committee were going to mark this important anniversary, with the production and sale of Centenary Jewels to mark the work of the fund, and their forthcoming Centenary Dinner, which will be held in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast in the run-up to the Summer.

Our next report, from Wor Bro Alan R.G. Patterson was particularly moving, as it, in fact would be his final report, marking the completion of 24 years as the Honorary Secretary of the Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee. This remarkable record of service to our charities was commented upon by Right Worshipful Brother John Dickson, who thanked him, for his dedication and contribution to the work of this Committee for a period just one year short of the past quarter century.

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The Honorary Secretary reading his 24th and final report to the Committee.

The Honorary Secretary reading his 24th and final report to the Committee.

At this point Right Worshipful Bro Dickson assumed the Chair and declared that all Offices in the Committee were now vacant. The various elections took place and the newly appointed members were confirmed in their various offices. I’m sure, that you will all, join with me in congratulating all those volunteers, who work within this Committee, in support of its stated aims – to advise, encourage, assist and promote the welfare of necessitous orphans and children of Freemasons, provided that they are not more than 25 years of age. I should of course note, that this is an active Committee with nine monthly meetings a year, as they receive applications and manage the issue of grants to approved applicants every year.

The Committee is permitted to appeal for funds from the Order at large, but has never yet done so. However it receives many welcome donations, in support of its objectives, from all branches of the Masonic Order, including from a number of the District Charity Committees, North and South.

At this point in their deliberations, the formal part of the meeting was concluded, and we moved into the Dining Room, next door for an enjoyable lunch. And on this occasion, another milestone was reached, as Flo, the well-known and respected Caterer at Arthur Square, will be stepping down after some 30 years of service, catering to the many branches and committees that regularly use the rooms in Arthur Square. Wor Bro Walker, Chairman of the Committee, invite Flo in to join with the Committee after lunch, when he presented her with a card and token of thanks from the Committee, for all the work she had done over the years, providing the lunches after each Annual General Meeting.

[The Committee is permitted to appeal for funds from the Order at large, but has never yet done so. However it receives many welcome donations, in support of its objectives, from all branches of the Masonic Order, including from a number of the District Charity Committees, North and South.

At this point in their deliberations, the formal part of the meeting was concluded, and we moved into the Dining Room, next door for an enjoyable lunch. And on this occasion, another milestone was reached, as Flo, the well-known and respected Caterer at Arthur Square, will be stepping down after some 30 years of service, catering to the many branches and committees that regularly use the rooms in Arthur Square. Wor Bro Walker, Chairman of the Committee, invite Flo in to join with the Committee after lunch, when he presented her with a card and token of thanks from the Committee, for all the work she had done over the years, providing the lunches after each Annual General Meeting.

Presentation to Flo to mark 30 years service to the Committee in its catering arrangements.

Presentation to Flo to mark 30 years service to the Committee in its catering arrangements.

large wp-image-3218″ /> Centenary Jewel of The Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee.[/caption]

The Committee still meets under the watchful eye of their founder.

The Committee still meets under the watchful eye of their founder.

Then I was invited to say a few words on the life and Masonic career of Rt Wor Bro Sir Robert Hanley Baird KBE, Past Grand Treasurer of The Grand Lodge of Ireland and a past First Grand Principal of The District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Antrim. This presentation will appear separately as an illustrated article on the www.irishfreemasonry.com website in the next couple of days.

Summary of the story of Sir Robert Baird. Summary of the story of Sir Robert Baird.[/caption

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