Member of the English Toastmasters Association


Richard W. Palmer F.M.E.T.A F.I.S.M.M
Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies

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Masonic Toastmaster

Masonic Ladies Festivals


Ladies Festivals are very special occasionsand the pictures and comments below were after The Pyfleet Lodge Ladies Festival at St. Giles Masonic Centre on the edge of the St. Botolphs area between the Colchester Garrison and Colchester Town Centre.

The centre is a converted church which boasts a very fine history. The centrepiece of which is a stone tablet marking the final resting place of Royalist Captains Lucas & Lisle, who met their end at Colchester Castle in 1648 during the English Civil War.

The centre is easily accessible from the St. Botolph's roundabout turning left into St. John's Green as you enter Southway and has it's own car park.

The following is an extract from a thank you letter from the President and his Lady.

Hi RichardJust a quick note to thank you for making our Ladies Festival on 25th May special.  We have had lots of very nice comments from our friends that attended, who thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.

We have just returned from our holiday, which was wonderful. Once again thank you, you made it a great success.   Regards   Ray & Kathy Heathfield.


Shown below are a couple of photos taken by the DJ at this event.  Thank you also Ian for your kind words.


Receiving line with the President and his Lady at the Colchester Masonic Center

Toastmaster singing the Ladies Song as part of the chior

Hi Richard,    Hope this email finds you well.


Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for the other night, you made the evening a much easier night for me, working with a seasoned pro made me feel a lot more relaxed especially as I had never been to a Masonic Ladies Night before.


I managed to get most of them dancing and think a great night was had by all.   I have had an email from Ray thanking me for my efforts and that they were impressed with my set up, so all good there.


I have attached a couple of photos taken on the evening for you.   Thanks Again     Ian      Ian Nichols



In 2009, and following in the footsteps of some of the most famous and greatest toastmasters, I was honoured to be appointed toastmaster for the Colchester Oyster Feast which is held on the last Friday in October each year. I was appointed again in 2010.

William Knightsmith (the very first toastmaster to wear the red tailcoat) was the toastmaster at this festival for many years, prior to 1932 and Harold Dean, the author of My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen and President of the Society of London Toastmasters was also appointed to be the toastmaster for this very famous feast.

This banquet will be in its 166th year, this year ( 2011 ) and it has been a great privilege and honour to be chosen to serve and to be a part of this tradition.


I am available for Masonic Ladies Festivals and would be pleased to talk to the Director of Ceremonies, Past Masters and Presidents about their requirements.




What is Freemasonry


Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. The lessons Freemasonry teaches in its ceremonies are to do with moral values (governing relations between people) and its acknowledgement, without in any way crossing the boundaries of religion that everything depends on the providence of God. Freemasons feel that these lessons apply just as much today as they did when it took its modern form at the turn of the 17th century.

Despite what many people claim, Freemasonry is not in any way a secret society. Freemasonry’s so-called secrets are solely used as a ceremonial way of demonstrating that one is a Freemason when in Lodge meetings. In any case, they have been exposed by the media for almost as long as Freemasonry has existed and are not important information anyway. The real point of a Freemason promising not to reveal them is basically a dramatic way of promising to keep one’s promises in general.

Other reasons why Freemasonry cannot be called a secret society are that Freemasons do not promise to keep their membership secret ( they can tell anyone they wish ), where and when Freemasons meet are matters of public record (you can look up Masonic centres in telephone directories) and our rule book, the Book of Constitutions and our aims are readily available to anyone.
It is ironic that because Freemasons used to be reticent about their membership (because they were and still are taught never to use it to advance their own interests), critics have taken this the wrong way round and think that there is something secretive and nasty going on. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Masonic ceremonies are secular morality plays which are learned by heart by members of the lodge for the benefit of the person who is becoming a Freemason or who wishes to explore Freemasonry further. Each ceremony has a message for the candidate. A further reason why Freemasons do not go around broadcasting their contents is simply because it would spoil it for the candidate – exactly as in the same way you would not tell someone the ending of a book or a film.

Under the English Constitution, basic Freemasonry is divided into two parts, called the Craft and the Royal Arch. For Freemasons who really want to explore the subject in more depth there is a host of other ceremonies, which, for historical reasons, are not administered by the United Grand Lodge of England.

All English Freemasons experience the three Craft (or basic) ceremonies unless they drop out from Freemasonry very early on. These three ceremonies (or degrees as we call them) look at the relations between people, man’s natural equality and his dependence on others, the importance of education and the rewards of labour, fidelity to a promise, contemplation of inevitable death, and one’s duty to others. A fourth ceremony – the Royal Arch emphasises man’s dependence on God.

Although all Freemasons are required to profess and continue in a belief in a Supreme Being, and their ceremonies include prayers, Freemasonry is not in any way a substitute for religion. It has and can have no theological doctrines, it offers no sacraments, and it does not claim to lead to salvation. By having prayers at its meetings Freemasonry is no more in competition with religion than, say, having a meal at which grace is said.
Furthermore, Freemasons are not allowed to discuss religion at meetings. English Freemasonry is also strictly non-political and the discussion of politics at masonic meetings is expressly forbidden. These rules both stem from Freemasonry’s aims to encourage its members to discover what people from all different backgrounds have in common. As is all too well known, debate about religion and politics has all too often led, when allowed to run riot, to discrimination, persecution and war.

A Freemason is thus basically encouraged to do his duty first to his God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice, and then, without detriment to his family and those dependent on him, to his neighbour through charity and service.

None of these ideas is exclusive to Freemasonry, but all should be universally acceptable and Freemasons are expected to follow them.

Thanks to Stephen Parkes of Round Table Lodge 8273, Wednesbury, West Midlands. for permission to use this text






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