A packed main temple at Sindlesham witnessed a once in a decade event on Thursday 4 June when E Comp. Ian Hopgood was invested as the new Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Berkshire, by E Comp. Peter Lowndes, Pro First Grand Principal.
The morning ceremony was attended by over 300 Royal Arch Companions, including 20 visiting Grand Superintendents, who witnessed a splendid ceremony in the Berkshire suite. Once installed as Grand Superintendent, it did not take long for E Comp. Ian to exercise his newly acquired authority by re-appointing, respectively, E Comps. Lionel Higgins and Jem Whitmore as Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals and to appoint E Comp. Bernard Greenwold as Deputy Grand Superintendent. In appointing these Companions he referred to his desire to balance the executive with both youth and experience – E Comp. Bernard is still wondering within which category he falls!
After the investiture a splendid Festive lunch was held in the Edwin Flavell suite where the new Grand Superintendent welcomed and thanked the Pro First Grand Principal and presented him with a fountain pen filled with red ink, a framed print of MGA Sports car and a box of Old Speckled Hen beer, all with special significance and an unusual reminder of the occasion. MEGS Toast to SGC. In his response The Pro First Grand Principal expressed his admiration for the progressive attitude of Berkshire Royal Arch Masonry, particularly in their choice of 'such a young' new Grand Superintendent.
E Comp. Peter congratulated E Comp. Ian on his preferment and, to commemorate his investiture, presented him with a personal gift from the Duke of Kent, a 'Kent Cube', in the form of a gold coin embossed with the coat of arms and signature of the First Grand Principal and encased in Lucite. In reply, E Comp. Ian thanked the Pro First Grand Principal for the singular honour of investing him and presiding over the morning proceedings assisted by E Comps. Nigel Brown GScribE, Dr Giles Shilson DepGDC, Michael Gurney DepGDC, Michael Gadsby Peet GStB, and Malcolm Brooks GJan. The occasion was further marked with Companions singing Happy Birthday to the new Grand Superintendent. MEGS Response to Toast Reply.
The new Provincial Executive, reconvened after lunch in the Main Temple to conduct the Annual Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter. As is the established custom, the new Grand Superintendent welcomed the visiting Grand Superintendents and VIP guests who collectively represented 25 Provinces from across the UK. The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent made 26 active appointments and promoted or appointed over 30 Berkshire Royal Arch Companions in Provincial Grand Rank.
In his inaugural address, E Comp. Ian paid tribute to his predecessors, E Comps. Ken Benford and Robert Faulkner for crafting a wonderful RA Province in Berkshire that is warm, active and relatively problem free. He congratulated all those appointed and promoted and extended a warm welcome to all those attending, from those newly exalted Companions of the Province to the visiting Grand Superintendents. E Comp. Ian then emphasised his vision for Berkshire to be the 'BEST, to create a more vibrant Province, bursting with character and happiness that attracts Master Masons eager to be part of the Holy Royal Arch - A Province with a 50% RA membership!'. He then went on to introduce his initiative of 'THE PROSPERITY TRIANGLE', a model for capturing the three key elements of Leadership, Performance and Supply channels, symbolised by the Sceptres of the three Principals of every Chapter.
The full text of his address can be found here MEGS Address to Provincial GC.
All in all a splendid day was enjoyed by many Royal Arch Companions both within Berkshire and visiting.