R.E.Kt David Gary Read, Knight Commander of the United Orders and Provincial Prior of the Province of Staffordshire and Shropshire.

    On Wednesday, 30th January 2019, the Knight Templar Province was shaken to the core by the sudden and tragic death of their much respected and beloved leader, R.E.Kt David Gary Read. Everyone who knew Gary have their abiding and fond memories of him. A brilliant comedic wit he had a ready smile for everyone. He was a giant of a man and that was not a reference to his stature. He was a giant in his friendliness towards every member of our Order, especially those who had just joined. His compassion to all those that were ill or in any need whatsoever. His love that he had for his wife, Vivienne, during the long time they had together and the love shown to the very end of his daughter Stephanie and, the apple of his eye, his teenage grandson, Joseph and lastly, his sense of duty, commitment and responsibly towards our Order and Freemasonry in general.


    David Gary Read was born on the 9th June, 1944 in Wellington, Shropshire.  His mother was an opera singer and had auditioned at Covent Garden but, unfortunately, she died at a very young age. He was then brought up by his father in his home village of Rhosllanerchrugog, North Wales where he was a tenor in the Rhos Male Voice Choir.   Unfortunately, Gary did not inherit a singing voice from his parents but he did show a great ability at a young age and that was in drawing and art.


    He was educated at Rhos Boys School where all the lessons were taught in Welsh and, latterly, at Wrexham College now Wrexham University. He had the accolade of being the first on record to be top in art throughout the whole of his school life. During the time at Wrexham College he won a national competition for a painting depicting a scene with Jesus carrying the cross just before the crucifixion, named "The Great Day".


    Leaving school they wanted him to follow art as a career. However, he believed that Art was in no way going to earn him a regular income so due to his studies in interior decorating and design and management he obtained employment as a manager with a national industrial decorating contracting company. After five years he started his own decorators merchants business continuing in contracting. Over the years his business portfolio increased with a hardware shop, giftware shop, a café and he could not resist an art gallery - which was in Lichfield. In 2006 he sold his businesses and went into retirement.


    He joined Round Table at the age of 27 and served in all the offices becoming Chairman in 1975 and served on the National Committee, retiring at 40 due to their rules. He then joined the 41 Club for Past Tablers and was Chairman in 1990 and remained a member to his death.

    In Freemasonry Gary was initiated into St. Johns Lodge of Lichfield No. 1039 in February 1980 and was Master in 1990. In the Craft Province of Staffordshire he held the ranks of Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (1996), Provincial Senior Grand Warden (1999), Assistant Provincial Grand Master (2004) and Deputy Provincial Grand Master (2009).

    In the UGLE he held the ranks of PAGDC (2002), PSGD (2005) and PGSwdB (2009)

    In the United Orders he was installed as a Knight Templar in William de Ferrars Preceptory No. 530 in 1988 and was Eminent Preceptor in 1999. In Provincial Priory he was appointed Provincial Deputy Marshal (1999), Provincial Marshal (2005), Provincial Sub-Prior (2007) and Provincial Prior (2009).

    In Great Priory he was appointed P.Gt.A-de-C (2002), P.Gt.Std.B.(B) (2007), Provincial Prior (2009) and KCT (2017).

    He also held senior rank in the Royal Arch, Rose Croix, Knights Templar Priests, Knights Beneficent of the Holy City and St.Thomas of Acon.

    In our Order he will be also remembered for his push to raise funds for the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, spearheaded so well by his bodyguard. In recent years the Province raised enough money to send St. John's Ambulance cadets to the Hospital on two separate occasions with each pair taking with them a generous donation from the Knights of Staffordshire & Shropshire.  In 2018 he challenged the Province to take part in the Hospital's Swift Appeal. This meant raising £5,000 more for the hospital during the year than had been done the previous year. He was not disappointed in his Province's response for the challenge was not only met but was doubled. The result is that not only will we have one bronze swift inscribed with the name of the  Province but there will now be a second bronze swift and that will be dedicated to the memory of David Gary Read.  Both swifts will be hung on the tree on the site of the original Hospital in the Old Town of Jerusalem at Muristan. A number his Knights and their families will be visiting the Holy Land at the end of October this year to visit the Hospital and see the swifts on display, which will be extremely moving.

    Modifying the words of the Craft "Gary lived so well respected and died so much regretted,"


    V.E.Kt. Alan T.Howls P.Gt.Reg. Provincial Sub-Prior in Charge.


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    4th June 2018 – Wolverhampton

    Being close to capacity in the Preceptory, the Provincial Prior entered his Provincial Priory under an Arch of Steel provided by his Body Guard, to the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”. He was delighted to welcome all that were able to make this year’s Provincial Priory Meeting, including the many Provincial Priors and Sub Priors from other Provinces across the United Kingdom, and commented that the usual warm weather was with us once again!


    The Provincial Prior took greetings from a delegation of the Knights of Malta comprising representatives from 15 out of the 17 Preceptories within the Province.


    This delegation was followed by the colourful pageantry of the procession of Preceptory Banners, which in a change to the usual announcements, as each banner was presented, the members present from that Preceptory stood and honoured their banner with large contingents from both Staffordshire & Shropshire Preceptory No 545 (The Preceptory of Installed Preceptors) and Mercia Praetorian Preceptory No 682 (the Body Guard Preceptory).


    Following the usual business of the Provincial Priory, the Provincial Prior was pleased to recognise those members of the Province who recently have been promoted and/or received their first appointment in Great Priory to much acclaim.


    Proceeding swiftly on, the Provincial Prior then appointed and invested his Provincial Team for the ensuing year and finally, appointed the members of his Body Guard issuing certificates to the new members of his team under their new Commander


    During his annual Address, the Provincial Prior thanked his outgoing team of Officers for an exceptional year and announced that the Challenge 2018 total was likely to exceed £8,500 which was met with much acclaim. He specifically thanked his retiring Deputy Marshal, for his sterling work over the years; his Marshal for his work organising the meeting in conjunction with his Vice Chancellor.


    The meal that followed was crowned in a noisy and harmonious atmosphere with the Bro Kts of the Province retiring from the Preceptory at around 8.00pm.

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    Sir John Kent Malta Address

    The Provincial Prior’s Body Guard were once again delighted to assist Sir John Kent Preceptory No 369 with a Malta Ceremony on 31st May 2018.

    The Eminent Prior, E Kt J J Bryan, recently retired from the Body Guard, requested their assistance with particular emphasis for the Banner Guard and Malta Address. The Priory was low on numbers for this muster and the assistance of the Body Guard was very well appreciated by the Priory.

    Attending that evening to witness E Kt Bryan’s first muster in charge of the Preceptory and Priory, were the Provincial Sub Prior, V E Kt A T Howls PGtReg; the Provincial 1st Constable, E Kt D Wall; the Provincial 2nd Constable, E Kt D R Truman; the Provincial Vice Chancellor, E Kt J E Francis; the Provincial Marshal, E Kt D W Philips; and the Provincial Almoner, E Kt J R Greer.

    The Malta meeting went extremely well with E Bryan commanding his Priory in a positive manner.

    The Address by the members of the Body Guard was delivered under candle light and whilst fewer in number than they would have liked, the team delivered the piece very well and to much acclaim from the members of the Priory.

    This was the last official engagement for the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard this season before the Provincial Meeting on 4th June where their Commander, E Kt R G Ritchey will step down to become Provincial Deputy Marshal, and Bro Kt J Derry GMBB, will take over as the new Commander of the team.

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    Appointments & Promotions in Great Priory

    It is with great pleasure that we can announce the following appointments and promotions in Great Priory.

    We congratulate them all.

    1. Kt. M. Rizzardi  -  Great Organist (Promotion)
    2. Kt. W. R. Cooper  -  Past Great Herald (Promotion)
    3. Kt. D. M. Edwards  -  Past Great Herald (Promotion)
    4. Kt. K. Williamson  -  Past Great Standard Bearer (VB) (Promotion)
    5. Kt. R. W. A. Walker  -  Past Great Aide-de-Camp
    6. Kt. C. Hutchinson  -  Past Great Warden of Regalia
    7. Kt. R. G. Thompson  -  Past Great Warden of Regalia
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    St Alkmund Preceptory No 404

    On a very warm evening, 9 members of the Body Guard plus an incumbent member of the team, were able to attend the Malta Meeting for the Preceptory of St Alkmund No 404 to provide assistance during the KT part of their muster, and more particularly to assist with the Banner Guard and Malta Address for their Candidate, Bro Kt Mike Lawrence who was installed as a Knight of Malta.

    The team performed well and were congratulated by the E Prior, E Kt A J Hughes for "..having brought a scale of professionalism to the muster which is seen throughout the Province and for which St Alkmund were particularly grateful following the previous recent visit.."

    A convivial meal followed the Muster upstairs at the Preceptory.

    The Commander particularly thanked Bro Kt Mike Vozza of John O'Gaunt Preceptory No 546 for assisting the team in both incoming and outgoing Arch of Steel.



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    Enjoying the exceptionally warm weather, members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard held their annual lunch with wives and partners at The Chase Golf & Country Club on Sunday 20th May.

    Guest of honour was the R E Provincial Prior, E Kt D Gary Read KCT. Close to 60 were in attendance with the added benefits of inviting past members of the Body Guard and members of the current Provincial team.

    R E Kt D Gary Read said, “I am particularly proud of my Body Guard for all the work they have done this year – especially completing the Challenge in just two days and raising considerable sums of money in the process” He went on to thank those retiring members of the team, E Kt Howard Jenkins, PPr1st Her, the retiring Deputy Commander; E Kt Jonathan Bryan on recently being installed to Eminent Preceptor of Sir John Kent Preceptory No 369; and Bro Kt Andrew Tomblin who will become Eminent Preceptor of Robert de Stafford No 411 later this year. He then turned his attention to the retiring Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey PPr1st Her, thanking him for all the work he has put into the Body Guard in the past two years and looking forward to him becoming the new Provincial Deputy Marshal in June.

    E Kt Ritchey thanked everyone for attending the Lunch. He paid tribute to E Kt Kevin Davis who sadly lost his fight with cancer only a couple of weeks before the Lunch, an event that both he and Penny, his wife, both thoroughly enjoyed.

    After presenting gifts to the Provincial Prior and the ladies present, E Kt Ritchey introduced his successor as Commander, Bro Kt John Derry, GMBB.

    Bro Kt Derry, delighted to be appointed to Commander then introduced the two new members to the team, Bro Kt Paul Lindop (42) and Bro Kt Tony McLaughlin (398). They were presented with their new mantle badges, and Body Guard kit.

    In closing, Bro Kt Derry thanked E Kt Ritchey and presented him with a gift from all the members of the Body Guard, along with a bouquet to his wife Sara in recognition of all the work he has put into the team in the past two years.

    Grateful thanks are expressed to Bro Kt Ralph Howarth and his wife Julie for the table centre flower decorations which were then presented to one of the ladies on each table, and the bouquet for the Commander’s wife; to all those who were present to make this a splendid afternoon; and, to the team at The Chase for making this such a very pleasant occasion.

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    Knights Templar Visit to Cambridge, April 2018

    Following the previous successful weekends another Crusade was arranged, this time to the City of Cambridge.


    The Provincial Prior R.E. Gary Read was once again joined by a party of Knights, their Ladies and guests on a weekend at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Impington, Cambridge from the 27th – 29th April.


    After travelling from many parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire, the guests met on the first evening in the Restaurant and were treated to a superb meal. Everyone enjoyed the first evening meeting new and old friends planning the weekend ahead and hoping that the weather was going to improve.


    On Saturday following breakfast many ventured into Cambridge and enjoyed the day at leisure. A few of the group went to the spectacular Kings College Chapel and also the Fitzwilliam Museum and they enjoyed the very interesting experience.

    A few guests went on the Open Air Bus for an interesting and informative tour of the City.

    Cambridge proved to be an interesting and enjoyable City to visit.


    On the Saturday night everyone enjoyed another superb meal in the Restaurant. During the evening the guests were entertained by members of the party, namely Adrian Yearsley Richard Stimpson, Gaynor Goddard, and of course the talented Dudley Ray who accompanied the singers.

    A surprise of the evening was Adrian Yearsley inviting his daughter Lauren, who is studying Performing Arts in London, to sing a duet with him and they were given a rapturous applause.

    To commemorate 100 years after the First World War, there was also a Sing along headed by Ray Haynes and Phil Morris, singing songs from the War Era, this proved to be very popular and everyone was in good voice.

    There was a lot of hilarity and everyone had a good time.


    On the Sunday morning following a leisurely breakfast, everyone made their way back home and despite the inclement weather everyone said that the weekend proved a great success with plans for another weekend in 2019.


    The Prov. Prior has decided on the City of Manchester on 10th – 12th May 2019

    and hopes that he’ll have the pleasure of the company of many of the Knights, their ladies and guests for another enjoyable weekend.

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    One of the smaller Preceptories within the Province, John O’Gaunt Preceptory No 546 have always worked hard on their ceremonies and none less than the recent Malta Ceremony for Bro Kts B Turner-Farmer and R Hulme where they were warmly installed into the Order by their Eminent Prior, E Kt A J Yearsley, PProvCoG.

    This had been called for a full turnout by the Provincial Prior. He was accompanied by a number of visitors attending the Preceptory including the Provincial Sub Prior, V E Kt A T Howls; the Provincial Chancellor, E Kt B Townson; the Provincial First Constable, E Kt D Wall; the Provincial Second Constable, E Kt D R Truman; the Provincial Deputy Marshal, E Kt R J Haynes; The Provincial Banner Bearer, E Kt B Clarke; the Provincial Aide-de-Camp, E Kt D Crump; the Provincial Captain of Guards (1), Bro Kt K Spencer; the Provincial Captain of Guards(2), Bro Kt P K Morris and the Provincial Guard, E Kt J Hilton, accompanied by other Eminent and Brother Knights from around the Province.

    To assist with the Malta Ceremony, the members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard were requested to perform the Banner Guard and present the Malta Address which they did with the assistance of the Provincial Second Constable.

    At the end of the evening, the Priory retired to the dining room for an excellent meal and terrific camaraderie.


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    Bro Kt Irving Barker was installed into the Order as a Knight of Malta on 12th March 2018 for which the Body Guard were pleased to be in attendance.

    The Preceptory opened in Knights Templar, conducted the necessary business and was closed.

    Having all changed in Malta Regalia, the Priory was opened and the Ceremony ably conducted by their Eminent Prior, E Kt Mark Roberts, PPr Capt of Grds, who also gave the Malta Address.

    Members of the Body Guard were present to witness the Ceremony and offered their assistance manning the Banner Guard and providing an Arch of Steel for the members of the Priory as they left in Knights Templar order.

    Joining the Body Guard on this occasion were Bro Kt Paul Lindop (42) and Bro Kt Tony McLaughlin (398) as Observers awaiting their appointment to the Body Guard by the Provincial Prior in June. Both Knights did exceptionally well for their first time out with the team.

    During the meal that followed, the Priory presented the Body Guard with the proceeds of the raffle, which was won by Bro Kt McLaughlin, which amounted to £120.00 towards the upcoming Body Guard Challenge to complete a 100 mile walk in just two days.



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    As part of the fund raising to send two members of the St John Ambulance to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, the Provincial Prior, R E Kt D Gary Read KCT, set the Challenge to his Body Guard to find a novel way of raising those funds.

    The Challenge 2018 was set, and the members of the Body Guard decided that close to 100 miles of walking in just 48 hours was a Challenge worth setting and one that they hoped would capture the imagination of the Province and other Orders in supporting.

    Training would be key to the process of executing the Challenge. The initial training walks were light hearted across parts of Cannock Chase during the late summer of 2017. Since then, the training has ramped up considerably and members of the team have on a regular basis been out testing the selected route which will link the Shropshire Way, Silken Way, Staffordshire Way and the Millennium Way to take the Body Guard on their journey from Ironbridge to Burton-on-Trent on the 14th and 15th April 2018.

    Not even the snow could prevent them training as the photograph forms testimony, when this weekend the team covered over 13 miles at an average pace of 3.5mph overall across open countryside and through snow drifts!

    Details will shortly be published from the Body Guard how members of the Province can join them on various sections of the walk along with details of the home-coming party to be held at Burton-on-Trent Masonic Centre on Sunday 15th April.

    To add your financial support, visit and you can donate online.



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    One of the smaller Preceptories within the Province, Powys Preceptory No 431 have always worked hard on their ceremonies and none less than the recent Malta Ceremony for Bro Kt C R Ray where he was warmly installed into the Order by their Eminent Prior, E Kt J Armstrong.

    There were a number of visitors attending the Preceptory including the Provincial Sub Prior, V E Kt A T Howls, the Provincial Second Constable, E Kt D R Truman; the Provincial Deputy Marshal, E Kt R J Haynes; and, the Provincial Captain of Guards, Bro Kt P K Morris accompanied by other Eminent and Brother Knights from around the Province.

    To assist with the Malta Ceremony, the members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard were requested to perform the Banner Guard and present the Malta Address which they did in the very atmospheric candle light within the Preceptory. During the notices, there was a proposition to donate £100 to the Provincial Prior’s Challenge which was duly passed much to the delight of the Body Guard in attendance.

    At the end of the evening, the Priory retired to the local hostelry for an excellent meal where the conversation was lively culminating in the Provincial Sub Prior commenting that “he had planned to have a good time at the start of the evening and had not been let down throughout”.

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    The Masonic Order of Knights Templar within the Province of Staffordshire and Shropshire ( will be completing a 96 mile walk in just two days to raise funds to send two of the top Cadets from the St John Ambulance from Staffordshire & Shropshire to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital ( in May 2018 to experience first-hand the amazing work undertaken at both the hospital, and the surrounding hinterland with their out-reach programme.

    In 2014 the Knights Templar raised sufficient money to ensure two of the top Cadets from the Staffordshire and Shropshire regions of the St John Ambulance made the same trip. They did this by cycling the Coast2Coast using St John Ambulance mountain bikes. Those two Cadets are now part of the senior service of St John Ambulance having benefitted from that amazing experience.

    This Walking Challenge will take place in April 2018. The Knights will be walking over a selected route that starts in Iron Bridge and ends in Burton-on-Trent taking in a combination of the Shropshire Way, Millennium Way and the Staffordshire Way. The aim is to complete the walk in just two days.

    Visit and you are able to donate online.

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    The Body Guard were again out on a training walk on Sunday which took place in cold weather but when the sun did shine, it was glorious!

    We stopped off at Wilson Keys Court but sadly the majority of the residents were still in their rooms. We hope to call on the actual day of the event (Sunday). We dropped back to the canal towpath where we quickly put down a strong pace,

    The ground was severely waterlogged and the going was very heavy. The path markers are out of alignment with the maps and many of the stiles, finger-posts and way-markers have long gone, this caused the team to draw on past experiences, to read the maps and terrain and get us on track and marching on along with John's local knowledge of the area proving invaluable once again.



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    Bro Kt Mark Roberts, PPr Capt of Grds, a former member of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard, was installed as Eminent Preceptor on 13th November 2017 where members of the Body Guard were delighted to attend Robert de Stafford Preceptory No. 411 to support Bro Kt Mark who had served the Body Guard from 2015 to 2017.

    E Kt Arthur Muller, performed an excellent ceremony of Installation. E Kt Roberts was pleased to depart, following his further installation to Eminent Prior in the Malta Order, under an Arch of Steel provided by his former colleagues in the Body Guard.

    The Preceptory shared the raffle proceeds at the Festive Board and donated £75 sponsorship towards the Challenge being undertaken in April 2018 to send two members of the Staffordshire and Shropshire Branches of the St John Ambulance, to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital for work experience within the hospital and their out-reach stations.


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    Members of the Body Guard were delighted to attend John O’Gaunt Preceptory No. 546 stationed at Kidsgrove, to witness the Installation of Bro Kt Adrian Yearsley PPr Capt of Grds, a former Body Guard member, and current Treasurer of Mercia Praetorian Preceptory No. 682, to the Rank of Eminent Preceptor on 26th October.

    Installing Bro Kt Yearsley, E Kt David Crump Prov A-de-C, performed an excellent ceremony of Installation. E Kt Yearsley was extremely pleased, and proud, to leave his Preceptory under an Arch of Steel presented by the Body Guard and made reference to the same at the meal that followed – to much acclaim from his former colleagues! The Preceptory proposed a substantial donation to the Challenge and raised a further £95 in sponsorship towards the Challenge which was gratefully received by the members of the Body Guard in attendance.

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    The Body Guard were delighted to attend Sir Robert Mavesyn Preceptory No 457 on 2nd November 2017 to witness the installation of Companion Richard Kingstone to the Order.

    Providing an Arch of Steel for the Provincial Prior and Provincial Officers, the team also provided the Sepulchre Guard for the Preceptory during the Ceremony which was extremely well performed by the Eminent Preceptor, E Kt Dudley Ray Prov Org, with assistance from E Kt Lyndon Goddard PGMBB, PPr1st Const


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    The training walk for the Challenge 2018 event took a diversion on 12th November and the members of the Body Guard team out that day attended the Commonwealth Cemetery on Cannock Chase to pay their respects to departed merit.

    A wreath was laid by the Body Guard Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey PPr1stHer, carrying a message of remembrance.

    Following a two-minute silence, the team continued their practice walk each reflecting at different stages of the walk what that initial diversion meant to them as individuals.

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    The Tri Services & Veterans Support Centre based in Newcastle-under-Lyme were the recipients of a donation from the Knights Templar of Godefroi de Bouillon Preceptory No 42 at a recent presentation attended by their new Eminent Preceptor, E Kt Paul Molley PPr Capt of Grds.

    The Tri Services & Veterans Support Centre was set up in 2015 as a drop-in centre for members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force and is managed by a team of ex-Service personnel. For more information on the Tri Services and Veterans Support Centre go to:

    E Kt Robert Haysom PGtA-de-C and PPr1st Const, himself a former Officer of a Territorial Army Royal Signals Unit based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and Almoner of the Preceptory, proposed a donation to the Centre after discussions with the new Eminent Preceptor, also a former member of the Territorial Army, who selected the Charity as his nominated recipient.

    Arrangements were made to meet with members of the Charity to present the cheque which took place on 9th November 2017 at the Centre where E Kt Molley was given a tour of the premises and listened to the work they undertake as well as meeting with several of the members, volunteers and those who were visiting the centre for the first time themselves.



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    Installation of Eminent Preceptor at Godefroi de Bouillon Preceptory No 42

    Over sixty Knights were present alongside the R E Provincial Prior, D Gary Read KCT, and the V E Sub Prior, Alan T Howls with both Provincial Constables, E Kt Dave Wall, and E Kt Dave Truman, to witness the installation of Bro Kt Paul Molley, the Provincial Prior's Body Guard Registrar, to become the next Eminent Preceptor of Godefroi de Bouillon Preceptory No 42.

    Also in attendance were numerous visiting Knights from within the Province including acting Officers, and a strong contingent from the Provincial Prior's Body Guard.


    E Kt Peter Bone did fantastically well to combat a recent illness to install Bro Kt Molley with a great deal of dignity despite still being under some significant sufferance. The Provincial Prior praised E Kt Bone for the ritual and the way he conducted the installation.

    During the muster, the Almoner for the Preceptory, E Kt R N Haysom ensured a further £1,000 was donated to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital; and, £250 to the registered charity of the Tri-Services and Veterans Support Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme to which he, and the new Eminent Preceptor, would be making a personal visit to present the Centre with a cheque.


    The Preceptory were delighted to see E Kt J M Glover - a past Preceptor in 1986 - become a re-joining member of the Preceptory; whilst the Preceptory was delighted that E Kt K Chawner - a past Preceptor in 1979 - was elected an Honorary member.


    At the Festive Board that followed the meeting, E Kt Molley thanked the Preceptory for the honour of being made Eminent Preceptor to which he was delighted to be sharing the occasion with the members of the Preceptory, all the guests and particularly, the members of the Provincial Prior's Body Guard, and looked forward to the installation of new Knights into the Preceptory during his year in office.

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    William de Ferrars - Malta Address

    Again the Provincial Priors Body Guard were out, though as a smaller force than usual due to other commitments to support William de Ferrars Preceptory 530 in Burton on Trent, Presenting the Malta Address to the 7 Knights that were installed as Knights of Malta in a single ceremony, which was a feat of its own. A pleasant evening was had by all, and the support of the Body Guard was appreciated by those present.

    At the Festive Board, whilst overall attendance numbers were quite low, we were delighted to return from the muster with another £100 towards our Challenge which now sees our total at around £500 (without Gift Aid)


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    Great Priory Church Service - Lincoln Cathedral

    For those who were unable to attend the Church Service on Saturday, I am pleased to report the Province of Staffordshire & Shropshire was well represented including members of the Body Guard who enjoyed the delights of the City of Lincoln also.

    Lincoln Cathedral is an extremely majestic building set high on the hill overlooking the City in a the historic area of cobbled streets and architecture. The Cathedral had been closed off to allow the 1500 Knights with their families to enjoy a wonderful service augmented by the Cathedral Choir.

    This was only a short service, but extremely atmospheric as the Templar hymns resonated around the walls of this fantastic building.

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    Having successfully completed two previous Challenges, the members of the Body Guard are now planning their Challenge for 2018 which will be to walk close to 100 miles in just two days taking in sections of the Shropshire Way, the Millennium Way and Staffordshire Way.

    Starting in Ironbridge, the route will take them west before heading north then east to complete the route in Burton-on-Trent.

    The aim is to raise funds to enable the Province to once again send two St John Ambulance Cadets to visit the Eye Hospital and experience first-hand how the teams out there operate. To ensure this happens, the Body Guard are looking to raise more than £8,000 to cover the costs of the two Cadets and ensure they can provide a donation to the Hospital during their stay.

    Body Guard Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey said, “We have successfully ensured on a previous occasion the Province could support this and we feel this time around will be no less important. It offers the successful Cadets an exciting opportunity to develop their skills – both within the Service and in life generally”

    Provincial Prior, R E Kt D Gary Read KCT commented “I was very proud of the Province supporting this initiative in 2014 and hope very much you will get behind the Body Guard once again to support this very worthwhile event. We have seen the original two Cadets from 2014 extend their leadership within the St John Ambulance Service as now senior members of the service.”

    The aim will be to promote a competition within the Staffordshire and Shropshire Branches of the Service with the top 5 Cadets being selected for a panel interview led by the Provincial Prior and Sub Prior, with the two successful candidates going to Jerusalem in May 2018.

    For the walk, members of the Province will be invited to join the Body Guard over set sectors of the route, with the Body Guard support team returning members to their start point.

    To support this event, the Body Guard will be circulating sponsor forms and selling their now famous commemorative lapel badges as they travel around the Province. The sponsor forms will be circulated to each Preceptory and applications for the lapel badges can be sent to Bro Kt Paul Molley, the Body Guard Registrar costing £5 including return first class postage using:



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    St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital is our key focus for fund raising. To support that fund raising the Body Guard have suggested to the Provincial Prior that certain key items are offered for sale throughout the Province and to our family and friends, with all profits being targeted towards the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital.

    The items were show cased at the Provincial Meeting in June and following discussions with various suppliers, the items are now available on broad release to the Province.

    Provincial Prior’s Wine has been carefully selected in a choice of red or white and can be purchased by the case of 6 bottles; or as a mixed case of 3 red and 3 white. Each bottle comes with the Provincial Prior’s own label to be proudly displayed in any wine collection.

    The red is a Spanish Tempranillo Tinto 2015 and hails from the famous region where Spanish bulls were bred boasting the same uniqueness and outstanding qualities as the bulls who ran in the Sanfermines Festival in 1852. The wine is described as quite soft with a hint of tannin towards the centre, directing you to a choice of meats, cheese and poultry. A case of 6 bottles is £60

    The white is a fresh and fruity wine with an elegant aromatic nose and herbaceous notes from the Sauvignon Blanc. Well balanced with citrus and tropical fruit and considered ideal with shellfish, fish, soft cheeses and salads. The wine is a Verdejo & Sauvignon Blanc from Spain. A case of 6 bottles is £60

    The mixed-case of 3 red and 3 white is available at £60 per case.

    Our Provincial Prior encourages us all to drink sensibly and to be alcohol aware.

    Ideal for the upcoming autumn season, we now have a Provincial wind-proof vented golf umbrella in red and black panels carrying the Provincial Prior’s crest. Lightweight with a padded handle, these have already been well tested and proved their worth. The umbrellas are priced at £20 each

    For those in the Province who still require a pair of the leather gauntlets carrying the Provincial Prior’s crest, these are now available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, Xlarge and XXlarge. Gauntlets are priced at £30 per pair.

    Remember: All profits are to be paid direct to the St John of Jerusalem Hospital

    To order your wine, umbrellas and gauntlets, contact the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard Registrar, Bro Kt Paul Molley using:


    Photographs: Umbrella and Gauntlets

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    Body Guard First Presentation of Silent Drill

    Eminent Knight Bob Cooper, the Eminent Preceptor of the Staffordshire & Shropshire Preceptory No 545 for Installed Eminent Preceptors, had some time ago seen a demonstration of Silent Drill. He was delighted that current Body Guard Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey, said the current team would consider how they could develop a similar demonstration and perform it during E Kt Bob’s year as the Eminent Preceptor.

    Some six months later, the first demonstration of the Drill was performed on 8th September 2017 to the members of the Staffordshire & Shropshire Preceptory at Shelton in Stoke-on-Trent.

    E Kt Bob Copper commented “This was an absolute pleasure to watch and delivered with great skill demonstrating the time and effort the team have dedicated to learning this piece of work”. The team were heartily congratulated by many of the senior Knights present for the meeting and rounded off the demonstration with loud applause.

    The Provincial Prior, R E Kt D Gary Read KCT said “I am extremely proud of my Body Guard who are rapidly becoming the ‘virtual 18th Preceptory’ within the Province. They continue to develop their role and offer support throughout the Province, not to mention the amount they raise during their Challenges!”

    Commenting on the team’s performance, the Body Guard Commander said “This for me has been one of the best Musters since being elected the Commander. The team worked hard over many months to develop this terrific piece of work. I was extremely pleased with their top performance.”

    To book this demonstration within your Preceptory which takes not more than 20 minutes to perform, contact the Body Guard Registrar, Bro Kt Paul Molley using:


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    Knights Templar Visit Liverpool

    E Kt Lyndon Goddard, PGtBB, and his wife Gaynor, once again provided a superb weekend of fellowship this time in the maritime City of Liverpool steeped in history and culture.

    The Province were booked into the Liverpool One hotel on the waterfront and enjoyed a superb meal on the Friday evening followed by sight seeing around the City during Saturday before coming back together on Saturday evening for a gala dinner with "home-made entertainment".

    Liverpool quickly sold out, as do all of these weekend trips. Our Provincial Prior encourages all within the Province to book early when the date and venue for the next trip in 2018 is announced.

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    New Team and New Challenges for 2017

    The Provincial Prior has set new Challenges for his Body Guard this season. The new team is working well together. The new Knights appointed to the team are settling in well and looking forward to their duties as the year progresses. Body Guard Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey PPr1stHer, said, "We have held a few rehearsals now in order to hone the Silent Drill Demonstration. The new members of the team have been exceptional throwing themselves into that process to learn a twenty minute routine without any words of command is quite tough."

    Not only are the team rehearsing the Silent Drill Demonstration, making ready for the first performance on 8th September at the Staffordshire & Shropshire Preceptory No 545, but they continue to improve and adapt their presentation of the Malta Address which the Provincial Sub Prior, V E Kt Alan Howls PGtReg, has recommended "All Preceptories within the Province should invite the Body Guard to do this presentation during a Malta Ceremony."

    It's a busy year ahead as the team also plan to execute the Provincial Prior's Challenge in April 2018 by walking close to 100 miles in two days to raise funds to send the top two Cadets from the Staffordshire St John Ambulance over to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital to visit and take part in their activities.

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    Biennial Church Service 2017

    Hot weather was the order of the day for 9th July, the date of the Biennial Church Service. Close to 200 attended the revised Service at the Royal Wolverhampton Grammar School chapel. E Kt Ralph Ritchey, the Body Guard Commander, said "I was particularly proud of the team today dealing with a number of last minute changes in very hot weather conditions. I was particularly proud of the escort they provided for the Provincial Prior, his Sword Bearer and Banner Bearer from the Chapel back to the School which went like clockwork.....particularly the wheeling around the parked cars outside the School entrance!"

    This was the team's first opportunity to demonstrate what they can do with the new members of the team joining them. Bro Kt Martyn Hunt who was appointed to the team in June 2017 said, "This has been a great opportunity and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed" whilst Bro Kt Dave Thomas, also a new appointee, commented "I am very proud to be a member of the Provincial Prior's Body Guard. We have learned a great deal in a short space of time and I look forward to playing part at future musters".

    R E Kt D Gary Read KCT , the Provincial Prior, said, "My Body Guard have performed splendidly. A super day."

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    Provincial Church Service

    Close to 200 filled the Chapel of the Royal Wolverhampton School on a very warm and sunny 9th July to accommodate the Provincial Church Service.
    Once again, the spectacle of Knights Templar in regalia with a delegation of the Knights of Malta made this small and intimate Chapel very atmospheric.
    Accepting an invitation from the Provincial Prior, members of the Order of Rose Croix joined the Knights Templar and their families for a revised Church Service lead by the Provincial Prelate, E Kt Rev Stephen Cooke, accompanied by the Provincial Choir, that was enjoyed by all in attendance. Following the Service, an afternoon tea was served by the School allowing those who had attended to enjoy further fellowship.

    The next Church Service will be in July 2019 where the Provincial Prior hopes to welcome even more members and their families from within his Province.

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    Appointments & Reappointments to Great Priory

    It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the following appointments and reappointments to Great Priory. We congratulate them all.

    E.Kt. P. E. M. Parsons             Past Great Standard Bearer (VB) (Promotion)

    E.Kt. J. Lockley                        Deputy Great Sword Bearer

    E.Kt. R. A. Stubbs                    Great Aide-de-Camp (Re-appointment)

    E.Kt. J. P. Ashcroft                  Past Great Aide-de-Camp

    E.Kt. J. T. Birkin                       Past Great Aide-de-Camp

    E.Kt. J. K. Thomas                  Past Great Aide-de-Camp

    E.Kt. M. Rizzardi                     Dep. Gt. Organist (Re-appointment)

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    Provincial Prior receives recognition of distinguished service

    On Tuesday, 4th April 2017, our Provincial Prior R.E.Kt. D. Gary Read accompanied by his daughter Stephanie, attended the Annual Presentation of Awards of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, which was held at the Priory Church of the Order of St. John, Clerkenwell, London.

    The Provincial Prior was presented with a certificate on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, by Lional James, the Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, in recognition of distinguished services rendered in furtherance of the Order, by the Provincial Priory of Staffordshire and Shropshire.

    It is the first award of this kind to be presented to a Masonic Order.

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    New members appointed to the Body Guard

    The Commander of the Body Guard, E Kt Ralph Ritchey PPr1stHer, was pleased to announce to the team the names of those members from the Province who will be joining the team at the Provincial Priory meeting on 5th June.

    Bro Kt Martyn Hunt from John O’Gaunt Preceptory No 546; Bro Kt David Thomas and Bro Kt George Steele, both from William de Ferrars Preceptory No 530 will soon be seen on parade with the team. To make way for them, Bro Kt Paul Molley will be stepping down from the active team and remaining as the Body Guard Registrar; Bro Kt Adrian Yearsley and Bro Kt Mark Roberts have been asked to step down as they will soon become the Eminent Preceptors of their respective Preceptories. The Provincial Prior has rewarded all three Knights for their service to the team with the honor of Past Provincial Captain of Guards, which he will present in June.

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    Biennial church service

    Sunday 9th July 2017 is a date that all members of the Province should have in their diary. This will be the Bi-annual Church Service held at the Royal Wolverhampton School, Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV3 0EG.

    The service will take place in the private chapel in the school grounds. E Kt Rev’d Stephen Cook will be conducting the service in this delightful chapel assisted by the Provincial Choir.

    All members of Knights Templar, their family and friends are invited to attend. Members of the Order will be wearing regalia of a Knights Templar or represent their Preceptory as a Knight of Malta. Afterwards, there will be refreshments in the School Refectory.

    Further details will be available from the Provincial Vice Chancellor, E Kt John Francis.

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    New Grand Master Appointed

    On the 17th May 2017, our Provincial Prior will be in London at Great Priory to witness the Installation of our new Grand Master, R E Kt Paul Clement. He would be delighted to be joined by as many Knights as possible from the Province to witness this auspicious occasion.

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    A Full provincial Visit to St Clements Preceptory

    Praise for the Provincial Team from all those present, it's been a while since we had such a strong turnout - although this is hopefully a sign of things to come - and the Body Guard looked excellent in well turned-out regalia undertaking the task of the incoming Arch of Steel with style and panache. We have been specifically complimented on the work during the ceremony which was crisp and looked very smart.

    We were also able to step up and assist this small Preceptory at the Festive Board, serving wine and port and most especially for assisting them to clear the room at the end of the evening. E Kt Ted Williams, the Preceptory Registrar, reiterates those thanks and extended gratitude.

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    Banner Dedication for St Chads Preceptory

    Another excellent Muster with both the Provincial Prior and Sub Prior feeling rightly proud of the BG team at the banner dedication and Installation Meeting for St Chad.;An excellent turn out once again from the Provincial team also a clear demonstration for this strong Preceptory. Delighted to see a very confident and competent Bro KT Garry Breakwell as Marshal doing an excellent job for his Preceptory.;We were also delighted to have Bro KT Martyn Hunt, one of the new appointees to the team in June, taking a very active role and demonstrating why the Provincial Prior has selected him to be part of this team.;A very pleasant Muster rounded off with good company and an excellent meal.

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    Another good muster

    Another good Muster and excellent performance from the team - again commented by many within the Preceptory as well as the Provincial Prior!

    Whilst the numbers were a little down for the team in the end due to a couple of last minute hitches, most of the team were able to deal with the chaos of the M6 being closed and got there in good time.

    The good Installation meeting in both Knight Templar and Malta to see Bro Kt Mel Eves become Eminent Knight and Eminent Prior in both Orders coupled with a hop skip and a jump through the 50 year history of the Preceptory from their Marshal, E Kt Richard Thompson.

    Good food along with the production of the new Challenge badges - to be handed out to the rest of the team as we meet over the next couple of weeks.

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    Bodyguard success at Great Priory

    Congratulations to Kts. Kevin Davis and John Derry who successfully passed their interviews for membership of the Grand Master's Bodyguard at Great Priory on the 20th May 2015, following which they were presented with their Certificates from the Great Marshal and their GMBG badges from the GMBG Registrar.
    Lunchtime saw them busily sewing on their badges so that they were properly dressed ready to be on parade at 1230 for the start of the Meeting.

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    Provincial Appointments and Promotions 2016

    The RE Provincial Prior is delighted to announce the following Appointments and Promotions which are to be effective 6 June 2016.
    Appointment to Active Provincial Rank:-
    Sub Prior V.E.Kt AT Howls St Chad Preceptory No.193
    Prelate E.Kt JS Cooke Sir John Kent Preceptory No. 369
    Chancellor E.Kt AD Beckingsale Sir John Kent Preceptory No. 369
    1st Constable E.Kt J Skellern Godefroi-de-Bouillon Preceptory No.42
    2nd Constable E.Kt PA Snape Bernard-de-Tremelay Preceptory No.170
    Treasurer E.Kt MWN Ashcroft Ranulph-de-Blundeville Preceptory No. 524
    (pending election)

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    Great Priory Appointments 2016

    The RE Provincial Prior is delighted to announce the following appointments in Great Priory with effect from 18th May 2016:

    Active Rank:

    V.E.Kt Tony Bentley, Gt. 2nd Constable (Godefroi-de-Bouillon, No. 42)
    R.E.Kt. Angus Patrick Hannagan, Gt.Vice Chancellor (St Chad, No. 193)
    E.Kt. Alexander Ian Stewart, Gt.Sword Bearer (Robert-de-Stafford, No. 411)
    E.Kt. Robin Andrew Stubbs, Gt.Aide-de-Camp (Roger-de-Clinton, No. 407)
    E.Kt Mario Rizzardi, Dep.Gt.Organist (William-de-Ferrars, No. 530)

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    Knights Templar Visit to Cardiff May 2015


    Knights Templar Visit to Cardiff May 2015

    Following the success of the previous weekends another Crusade was arranged, this time
    to the City of Cardiff.

    The Provincial Prior R.E. D.Gary Read and his wife Vivienne, together with the Sub Prior Alan Howls and his wife Anne, once again were joined by a party of Knights and their Ladies on a weekend at the Cardiff Marriott Hotel from 15th – 17th May.

    On arrival at the Marriott Hotel, in the wonderful City of Cardiff, the party was treated to a superb meal in the Restaurant. Following the meal, V.Em. Kt. Richard Glover entertained everyone with his wonderful rendition of two famous monologues which received rapturous applause.

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