I have advised the Pro Grand Master that I will retire as Provincial Grand Master at the end of June 2010 having served for seven years.
I have reached my decision after long consideration and planning, seeking to ensure that there will be a smooth transition to my successor when he has been appointed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master.
I have been extremely privileged to serve and represent our great Province and I have so much enjoyed the company of the many Brethren I have met in my Visits throughout Hampshire and Isle of Wight, but after seven years feel that it is only fair to give the opportunity to another worthy Brother.
During my time in office the Craft under the United Grand Lodge of England, inspired by the Rulers, has made great advances, not least in the areas of openness – confirming our place as an inclusive element in community life – and the nurturing of our Brethren.
I am proud that Hampshire and Isle of Wight has been in the forefront of many of these initiatives; Communications, Mentoring, Orations and the Rulers Forum to name but a few.
None of this could have been achieved without the wholehearted support of the Provincial Executive and our Lodges and Brethren at large, for which I thank you all.
2005 saw the culmination of our stunningly successful Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, which had been launched by my predecessor RW Bro Ernest Moss.
In the intervening years Brethren and Lodges in the Province have continued to show their customary generosity, with the emphasis being more on non-Masonic charitable giving – 'Teddies for Loving Care', the Portsmouth Cathedral Appeal and 'Help for Heroes' being 'high profile' examples, although hundreds of other deserving causes have also benefited.
In addition to financial contributions there are the numbers of Brethren who freely give of their time and talents to charitable and community causes in the Province.
2016 will see the culmination of our next Festival which is for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Whilst I have ensured that we are ready to 'hit the ground running' when the Festival is launched later this year, I felt it only fair that our new Provincial Grand Master should be able to set his own stamp on the Appeal.
I could not have served you, I hope to your general satisfaction, over the past seven years without the love and support of Jenny – only I truly know how much she has done – really for us all.
I pledge my continuing full support to the Province and my successor and conclude by
thanking and wishing you all well.
Brian C Bellinger
17 February 2010