At this year’s Annual General Meeting, incoming Connaught Club Chairman W. Bro. Anthony Muirhead made the customary address to the assembly.
Please see his address below:
Before I go on, I must apologise if my speech tonight seems a bit wooden; I don’t normally prepare my speeches in advance and prefer to ad-lib them. As such, I’m sorry for those not able to be with us tonight who will miss out on the ad libs. Likewise, I am sorry to those who are with us tonight who will have to endure the ad libs.
Whilst I am never keen on naming names, there are some that I must name tonight in recognition of their commitment to the Club over the years. Firstly, my thanks to W. Bro. Laurence Hobbs – our Immediate Past Chairman – who has literally just left the Club due to old age. Laurence has been a stalwart supporter of the Club over the years and has been an enthusiastic and steady Chairman of the Club. I for one will miss his calm manner in dealing with potential problems. Whilst remaining on the subject of ‘old people’, I must mention W. Bro. Charlie Bishenden and W. Bro. Jaimin Patel, both of whom are past Chairmen whose membership has now come to an end due to age. Charlie – in particular – deserves all of our admiration and thanks, as he is one of the founding fathers of the Club, way-back-when. As a point of interest, his efficiency of responding to texts and emails has been stoically constant throughout the years.
Whilst not due to age, the last member that I must name is W. Bro. Lewis Clement who has stood down from the committee after several years of committed service to the Club. Lewis was the first Chairman to be elected to the position at two AGMs. His committee to the Club was always absolute, and his contribution will be missed.
W. Bro. Tes Adamou, W. Bro. Raj Chada and Bro. Jay Wong have also stood down after several years of service on the Committee. Tes has been a reliable Secretary for several years, bringing a really professional attitude to the committee, and latterly as Deputy Chairman.
Now, brethren, onto the present and the future. The Committee exists to ensure that young masons in London can develop their masonry; either with expanding their masonic education or expanding their network of masonic friends. We also actively promote one of the cardinal virtues of our order – charity – by undertaking an annual endeavour.
As such, I am now extremely pleased to announce my chosen charity for this year. It is: Maytree; a sanctuary for the suicidal. Maytree provide people in the midst of a suicidal crisis with the opportunity for rest and reflection and give them the opportunity to stay in a calm, safe, and relaxed environment. Their sanctuary (a house in Finsbury Park) can support four ‘guests’ at a time, and their team of volunteers spend up-to 77 hours with each guest over their stay, giving them the opportunity to talk through with fears, thoughts and troubles. Although I have not required their services, I have it on very good authority that the service they provide is of invaluable assistance to those in need. As a club, we shall raise money through our usual ways. We have our new pin – available tonight for a fiver – and our charity endeavour will be to climb Mt. Snowdon in early-summer. Details will be available shortly.
Beyond our charity events, the committee will be organising a variety of masonic and social events throughout the year. The next one being our Open Reception on Friday the 26th of April. As always, this will be an opportunity for you to bring any friends and family who may be interested in freemasonry in general, or the Connaught Club in particular. We have some exciting acts already booked in, our very own President, V. W. Bro. Ian Currans; the Chairman of Maytree, Natalie Howarth; and the Grand Master of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, M. W. Bro. Christine Chapman. Booking is already open, and details can be found on the Club’s website.
Onto the Club in general. My committee will work tirelessly for our members, as this is the commitment that we all make when putting our names forward for election. Coupled with that, though, is the need for you – the members – to help us. We need your feedback as to what you enjoy, and which events you would like to see us put on. Of course, it’s not always possible to put on every event that is suggested, but we will always do our utmost to drive the events that we put on. Please do support our events. Your support is also key in driving the Club forward in general; let the other young masons you meet know about the Club.
Lastly, thank you once again for electing me to be your Chairman. I am extremely proud to serve as Chairman, as the Club is held close to my heart. It is a strange feeling to have climbed to this height; it doesn’t seem that long ago when Friday drinks lasted long into the night, often ending up in the Red Rooms. There was only one rule; don’t lose your Club tie. I am pleased to reassure you that I never lost my tie there. Also, as a personal victory, I don’t recall ever buying a drink in there either, so thank you to whomever it was to buy me my drinks. I’m only sorry that I never got the opportunity to buy Candice the drink she seemingly wanted so eagerly. I look forward to seeing you throughout the year at our events and reassure you that the highlight of the Club year – the Christmas dinner – is being planned as we speak. I am on a recce next week to our anticipated venue; be sure to watch out for the next Chisel for details.
W. Bro. Anthony Muirhead
Connaught Club Chairman