RWPGM Bro. William C Steel


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On Friday evening 22 March 2019, the Guest Speaker at the Irvine Burns Club Directors Dinner was Revd Canon Joseph John Morrow, CBE QC K.St J. DL LLD, the Rt. Hon. Lord Lyon, King of Arms. He is better known to Freemasons as a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the current First Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland.

He gave a most interesting talk on Heraldry and of the Coat of Arms which Robert Burns had designed but never got matriculated. Archie Chalmers (PPGM) as President of Irvine Burns Club presided over the proceedings and had the pleasure of inviting RWPGM William C. Steel and PG Superintendent David Ramsay as his guests. Past President Iain Doole invited RWPGM of Kilwinning Tom Wood as his guest. DPGM Jim Bell and his wife Sandra were hosts to the Lord Lyon during his visit. The musical entertainment for the evening was provided by Bro. Liam Stewart PM 331. The President of the Robert Burns World Federation Mr Bill Nolan was also present.

On Sunday 2 December 2012 the RWPGM attended at the Loudoun Arms Hotel in Newmilns for the purpose of witnessing a plaque being unveiled commemorating Robert Burns having joined Lodge Loudoun Kilwinning No.51 in 1786 within these premises. The plaque was unveiled by Provost Jim Todd and the event was presided over by Brother Stephen Drury, PM No.22, President of Newmilns Burns Club No.900 of which the PGM is also a member. RWM Bro. Mitchell Martin of LKN No.51 was also present. The party enjoyed the hospitality of the mine host of the Riverside Inn afterwards.
Lodge St. Peter No. 331 held their annual Burns Supper in Galston after a short Business meeting on 20 January 2012. after a spirited address to the Haggis by PM Bro. Robert Little, the Immortal memory was proposed by Bro. John Duncan IPM Mother Kilwinning. WSW Bro. Hugh Good toasted the Lassies while Bro. David "Davina" Connell replied on behalf of the fair sex. The Galston Cronies performed Tam o' Shanter whilst PM Bro. William Love and John Caskie gave recitation and songs. The night was concluded by the Company singing the Star o' Rabbie Burns.
On Monday 16 January 2012 the RWPGM Bro. Archibald Chalmers attended the Regular Meeting of Lodge The Princes No.607 in Glasgow. The RWM Bro. Rev. Dr. Idris Jones presided over the meeting and the Burns Supper which followed. He also proposed the toast to the Immortal Memory of our National Bard. On this occasion he was accompanied by Brother Warnock Longridge PM 157.
The Annual Burns Supper in Lodge Royal Arch West Kilbride No 314 was held on 13 January 2012. Right Worshipful Master Bro. Archibald Chalmers proposed the Toast to the Immortal Memory whilst reading were given by Bro. Jim Gourlay PM No.86 and Bro. Mervyn Stuart PM No.125. Robert Purdue toasted the Lassies whilst Lesley Richardson replied.
On Wednesday 16 March 2011 the members and friends of Kilmarnock No.0 Burns Club, under the Presidency of Archie Chalmers, visited Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St James No.135. PM Brother John Shirkie informed the party of the connections that our National Bard had had with Freemasonry and Lodge St James in particular. After enjoying the hospitality provided by the Lodge the members then spent some time in the Lodge Museum. In appreciation of the Lodge making the Club so welcome a Donation of £50 was passed over to PM Shirkie for him to gift to the National Burns Memorial Homes in Mauchline. Two of the Presidents guests were Past PGM Brother Adam Cunningham and his wife Joyce.
On Saturday 5 March 2011 the RWPGM attended the unveiling of a new statue to Robert Burns. Located in New Cumnock, the statue is a life size likeness to the Poet and was officially unveiled by David Baird, President of the Robert Burns World Federation Ltd. Rev Helen E Cuthbert of New Cumnock Parish Church performed the ceremony of dedication with a few well chosen words and with prayer. Rab Wilson, a local poet, spoke on the significance of its location and read the poem "O were I on Parnassus Hill". At the buffet lunch in the Bridgend Inn the RWPGM gave a Vote of Thanks and read "A Man's A Man For A' That". The entire day was the end result of much time and thought by NERV under their Chairman, Jimmy Carmichael.
Three well kent Ayrshire Past Masters attended the Robert Burns World Federation Conference in Aberdeen on 10 - 12 September 2010. Past Masters Angus & Gordon Middleton of Lodge Royal Arch West Kilbride No. 314 and Past Master Andrew Gourley of Lodge St. John (Kil) Largs No: 173 ( Honorary Member of 314).Lodge Royal Arch West Kilbride No. 314 is registered on the roll of the Robert Burns World Federation as  club No. 2040.

On Sunday 25 July 2010, to mark the anniversary of the printing of the Kilmarnock Edition of Burns poems by John Wilson in July 178, the President of Kilmarnock No.0 Burns Club, Archie Chalmers (RWPGM), laid a wreath at the Burns/Wilson Statue at the Foregate in Kilmarnock. There were representatives of several Burns Clubs including the organisers, the Howff Burns Club of Kilmarnock.

On Saturday 3 October 2009 the RWPGM Chaired the long awaited and much talked about Burns Dinner and Ceilidh. The event was organised as part of the Homecoming Year which celebrates the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. Quite by chance there were 250 people at the event which was held within The Grand Hall, Kilmarnock and included among the guests were Mr Frank Donnelly, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran; Provost Stephanie Young of East Ayrshire Council, Provost Robert Rae of North Ayrshire Council and Provost Winifred Sloan of South Ayrshire Council.
The Top Table
Prior to the main event the RWPGM presented the three Provosts each with a Cheque for £250 which they would in turn donate to a local Charity of their choice. Each expressed their personal thanks for the kind gesture from the Freemasons. Brother Chalmers intimated to them that during the past 18 months, since he had become the PGM, the Daughter Lodges and the PGL of Ayrshire had donated the fantastic sum of £100,000 to Masonic and Non-Masonic Charities. The main event got under way with Brother Robert McCroskie PM 135, Addressing the Haggis in superb style, ably assisted with his Henchman Brother William Grant PM 314. Brother Jim Cook of Lodge 149 was the Piper for the evening. Brother Rev Ian U. Macdonald PG Chaplain, proposed the Immortal Memory in a manner that enthralled everyone present. We were indeed privileged to have such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic Burnsian in our midst. Brothers William Steel and Stuart Lyon, PM and RWM of LKN 51 respectively delivered Tam O'Shanter in an entertaining manner.
Bobby McCroskie
Stuart Lyon
The Band for the evening was The Liam Stewart and Andy Kain Band and they had everyone up dancing for the rest of the evening. The assembled company had a surprise for RWM William Black of Lodge 157 who celebrated his 80th birthday. He was presented with a Birthday cake, flowers for his wife Betty and a Bottle of Bubbly. The Raffle realised just over £1000 which the Brethren of Lodge Prestwick made up to £1060. Just before the end of the evening Brother Adam Cunningham proposed a Vote of Thanks to the Organising Committee and to those in attendance who had made it such a success. Auld Lang Syne concluded a most memorable evening in the annals of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire.
Iain U Macdonald
The Ceilidh

The RWPGM, in his capacity as President of the Kilmarnock No.0 Burns Club, laid a wreath at the Burns/Wilson Statue at Kilmarnock Cross on Sunday 26th July 2009. The ceremony is held to commemorate the printing by Wilson of the Kilmarnock Edition in July 1786. Also present were PM Gordon Middleton, President of West Kilbride Burns Club and PM Angus Middleton, Past President of The RBWF Ltd. (Photos' courtesy of Archie Chalmers)

Right Worshipful Master Bro. Gary Mitchell of Lodge St Clement (Kilwinning) Riccarton Kilmarnock No.202 presented a rose bowl to Gerard Cairns, the Registration and Information Services Manager at the new Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock's Kay Park. Also in the picture is Immediate Past Master Bro. John Oliver. The presentation took place on Monday 29 June. The Lodge felt it only right and proper to cement their relationship with this magnificent new building which will undoubtedly be an asset to the town of Kilmarnock.
The RWPGM, accompanied by DPGM, PG Secretary and Bro. Stewart Cruickshank, attended a Garden Party at the National Burns Memorial Homes in Mauchline on Sunday afternoon of 14 June 2009. The event was to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of our National Bard. Mr Douglas Hemmings welcomed everyone present and invited the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, Mr John Duncan, to formally Open the occasion. The Provost of East Ayrshire Council, Mrs Stephanie Young, was also present. Part of the afternoons entertainment was a tour of the Tower which we thoroughly enjoyed. As representatives of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire we were made most welcome.

On Monday 27 April 2009, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Brother Archibald Chalmers became the President of the Number 0 Burns Club in Kilmarnock.

On Sunday 25 January 2009, a large amount of Brethren, Cronies and townsfolk gathered at the National Burns Memorial in Mauchline to lay wreaths in honour of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. These included RWPGM Bro. Archie Chalmers, Grand Lodge of Scotland Grand Standard- Bearer Bro. James Bell, Superintendent of Provincial Grand Royal Arch Chapter Bro. James Hodge, District Grand Prior Bro. Peter Watson, First Principal of Ballochmyle Royal Arch Chapter No.722 MEC James Walker, RWM Bro. John Chalmers Lodge St David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133 RWM Bro. Duncan Fenwick Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St James No. 135. Des Brown MP, Cathy Jamieson MSP, the President of Mauchline Burns Club and Patron of Poosie Nansies.
The Wreath laying ceremony in Ayr was not blessed with good weather, but it did not dampen the spirits of the participants. People from all walks of life were there. Alex Salmond, The First Minister, two Scottish Parliament Ministers including John Scott, the local MSP, three Members of  Parliament and of course The Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Bro. William Steel. He was accompanied by the Worshipful Provincial Grand Architect, Bro. Stuart McKenzie Muirhead of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire. A very moving wreath laying ceremony was followed by a Civic Reception in the Station Hotel hosted by South Ayrshire Council.
SPGM Billy Steele The First Minister lays a wreath
Images from Burns Statue Square by kind permission of Bro. Stuart Muirhead PM Lodge St James Newton-upon-Ayr No.125
The stone work of the Auld KIrk o' Alloway has been re pointed, the bell housing, doorways and windows have been restored and a new path laid around the perimeter. The cottage has a new thatch and the walls have all been given a fresh coat. Every thing is ready to welcome the many thousands, who are sure to come from far and near in 2009, to pay homage to Scotland's greatest son and celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth.

Our monarch's hindmost year but ane

Was five and twenty days begun,
"Twas then a blast o Janwar win"

Blew hansel in on Robin.

Images of Alloway's Auld Kirk and Burns Cottage by Bro. Stuart Muirhead PM Lodge St James Newton-upon-Ayr No.125
On a beautiful bright sunny Sunday 27 of July 2008 representatives of The Howff Burns Club of Kilmarnock (President James Blades); Kilmarnock No.0 Burns Club (President William Steel); Ayrshire Federation of Burns Clubs (President Angus Middleton); The Robert Burns World Federation Limited (President John Haining) along with representatives of several other Burns Clubs and East Ayrshire Council, attended at the Cross of Kilmarnock to lay wreaths at the base of the Burns/Wilson Statue. This being the 222nd anniversary of the Printing of the Kilmarnock Edition. The two photographs show those in attendance. One of them is aptly named "Brithers a'" due to the fact that Angus Middleton is a PM of Lodge No.314; Archie Chalmers PGM is Vice-President of the Kilmarnock No.0 Burns Club, John Haining is a MM of Lodge Saint Columba No.729, William Steel is a PM of Lodge LKN 51 and PM of Lodge 971, and Jim Blades is a PM of Lodge No.127.



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