A Very Special Guest at The Board of Grand Stewards

On Wednesday 20th March the Board of Grand Stewards, who are organising the Grand Festival dinner at Guildhall, to be held after Grand Lodge Investiture on 24th April, were delighted to welcome the Grand Master, H.R.H. The Duke of Kent, to dine with them, immediately following the Board meeting at Bucks Club, in Mayfair (the home of the ‘Bucks Fizz’).

He was accompanied by his Private Secretary, the Grand Secretary and the Grand Director of Ceremonies, and spent time talking to all the Grand Stewards briefly before sitting down to dine. Grace was offered by the Board Chaplain, W. Bro. Geoff Whale.

A distinguishing facet of every Board dinner had been to encourage Members and their guests to participate in Sabrage, the dubious art of knocking off champagne corks with a sabre (short sword.) The originator of this idea, W. Bro. Chris Noon, son of David Noon of Orpington Mark Lodge, a sabrage expert, then ‘challenged’ (encouraged) the Grand Master to chance his arm, using one of Chris’s sabres, which he readily accepted. He prosecuted a very smooth ‘decorking’ a bottle of the Board’s own label champagne, with great humour.

The Grand Master flanked by W. Bro. Philip Baillieu, son of the Rt. Hon. Edward Latham Baillieu, a Deputy Grand Master, who served about thirty five years ago, on his right, and the President of the Board, W. Bro. Mark Somers, on his left.
The Champagne of the Evening

A most pleasant evening enjoyed by the Grand Master and everyone present. Superb food and well-matched wines in excellent company.

Grateful thanks to Geoff Whale for this article and the photographs.