Brethren, we have finally reached the conclusion of our 2021 Festival for the benefit of the Mark Benevolent Fund. It has been a long and challenging road and one which has been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which none of us could ever have imagined.
We are all disappointed that our Festival Banquet has been cancelled as a result of the extension of Covid prevention measures, but all the disappointment paled into insignificance as our Festival total was revealed. At a zoom meeting held to announce the result, the Grand Secretary, RWBro. Ryan Williams revealed the total to be a magnificent £1,020,603. Over one million pounds brethren, a total which none of us could ever have dreamed of particularly having regard to the ravages of the pandemic.
This incredible result has been achieved by the support of the entire Constitution but is principally down to the generosity and efforts of the Mark Masons of East Lancashire. I thank each and every one of you for your tremendous support over the past six years both through your Lodges and individually. Your patronage of the many fundraising events which have taken place has further enhanced our total and I am sure you are all proud of what we have achieved.
Many brethren have worked tirelessly to promote the Festival. Festival Ambassadors, Fellowship Representatives and the Festival Committee have all made a huge contribution. Individual Lodge members and Committees have organised fund raising events. Many of our Ladies have undertaken fund raising initiatives. The list is endless but every contribution to our total, no matter how large or small, has been gratefully received. All your efforts are acknowledged and greatly appreciated.
It is so disappointing for the Banquet Committee, after four years of hard work, which greatly intensified over the past six months, to see their efforts thwarted at the final hurdle. We must all be cognisant of their commitment and share their disappointment that the end and objective of their work did not materialise. We hope, however, that our own Provincial event, scheduled for 29th January next year, will be some consolation to them and your support and enjoyment of that occasion will undoubtedly recompense them, to a large extent, for the frustration of seeing all their efforts fail to materialise at the last moment. Special thanks are due to all the Committee for their hard work which of course, does not end now. Literally, hundreds of refunds to be processed and a new event to organise. It goes on.
In conclusion brethren, we should all be delighted by what we have achieved. The Mark Benevolent Fund are gratified by our result and the knowledge that what we have raised will benefit so many worthy causes should make us all proud of our endeavours and especially of our Province.
Keep safe and well brethren and I look forward to seeing you all in person in the very near future.
Kind fraternal regards