On 18th May 2011, at Birmingham, a very special meeting of Great Priory took place.
Nearly 800 knights, including Grand Masters from Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany, Greece and Finland witnessed ME&S Knight Leslie Felgate Dring Chair his final meeting as Grand Master.
ME&S Knight Dring was in sparkling form, as he invested RE Kt Paul Clement, Great Marshal and RE Kt John Brackley, Great Vice-Chancellor, with the Dignity of Knight Grand Cross. This was followed by the investiture of four Knights Commander.
He then proceeded to invest his Active Officers, including Kent’s own Charles Boxer as Great Warden of Regalia.
Completing these tasks with great humour, and in a manner remarkable for any man, let alone a man in his eighties, he proceeded to welcome, Obligate, Invest and Install RE Knight Timothy John Lewis as Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master. One of the highlights here had to be when there was a slight problem with the Grand Master’s Steel Chain of Office, when Knight Dring suggested “Shall we tie a knot in it?” When the laughter subsided, ME&S Knight Lewis was installed in the Chair, and saluted with Eleven.
The new Grand Master thanked the knights, and paid a personal tribute to the Past Grand Master, which the knights acclaimed.
ME&S Knight Dring then announced that he would retire from Great Priory, and escort was formed comprising E Kt Neil Matthews, Deputy Great Marshal, leading, and the Vice-Chancellor of Kent, E Kt Peter Wise, who is a Past Grand Master’s Banner Bearer, had the privilege of carrying ME&S Knight Dring’s Banner behind him for the very last time.
The Past Grand Master then left Great Priory to the tumultuous applause of the Knights whom he had served and led for the past 14 years
The photograph shows the Past Grand Master outside of Great Priory, flanked by E Kt Matthews and E Kt Wise.