It was a special occasion in the Province when Wellesley Preceptory No. 204 celebrated its centenary at a meeting at Sindlesham on 14th May. Over 80 knights of the Order saw the VH & RE Great Seneschal Malcolm Slater lead the Service of Thanksgiving, assisted by the Right Eminent Provincial Prior RE Kt Ray Cochrane, and in the presence of the Assistant Great Vice-Chancellor, VE Kt Jonathan Roberts, the Great Marshal, VE Kt Tim Wheeler. There were also many active Provincial Officers and other knights and distinguished knights from both within and outside the province.
It was on 13th May 1918 when the Preceptory’s founders met for their consecration meeting at the Wellington Hotel, which stood in the grounds of Wellington College (the actual site is now part of a modern housing estate). The First World War was in full flow, with the Armistice still six months away, and the complete absence of meat at the first festive board bore witness to the difficulties of the time – the main course was salmon mayonnaise and curried eggs!
The brother Knights who met to celebrate the centenary were reminded of this and other significant events during the past hundred years, by the excellent History document produced by the Preceptory for the occasion, to which E Kt Mike Hewitt was the main contributor. Indeed, E Kt Mike was honoured at the meeting by a field promotion delivered by the Great Seneschal to Past Great Herald, for his outstanding contributions to the Order.
The Right Eminent Provincial Prior presented the Preceptory with a new baton in recognition of the occasion, which was accepted with great thanks by E Kt Neil Hougham, the Eminent Preceptor.
After the Service of Thanksgiving, the Great Seneschal restored the Preceptory’s Officers to their posts, and he, then the Right Eminent Provincial Prior, retired from the meeting under the arch of steel. The Knights then enjoyed the Festive Board, which completed a most memorable day.
E Kt N K Hougham.