The Coronavirus Pandemic continues its sweep across our nation. Regrettably, I have learned of the very sad passing of three of our members.
I also know of a number of others who are suffering symptoms. Our deepest condolences go out to those affected and their families, and to those who continue to suffer. The most important thing right now is our faith, being there for each other, and everyone’s health and well being.
However, we must continue to try and have some sense of normality in our lives, so we must continue to attend to what Lodge business we can by utilising different forms of technologies and communications. To this end, I wanted to provide you all with an important update from Grand Lodge.
Unfortunately, we will need to cancel this year’s annual Boyne Celebration Parades. Whilst I know this is disappointing news, I can assure you that the decision was not taken lightly. This follows extensive discussions between our County Grand Masters and Executives, and with our colleagues in England and Northern Ireland.
The advice from the UK Government was foremost in our mind and it is clear that there is likely to be continued social distancing in place for many months to come.
We also recognise the strain that the current pandemic is having on essential services and acknowledge that they will need some time to
recover as we slowly come out the other side of the virus lockdown measures. Therefore, this year’s Boyne Parades will be held over until
next year. Indeed, it is safe to say that there won’t be any Orange Parades until August at the earliest.
This means the host venues we had hoped to visit this year, will now move forward to 2021. These venues are Ayr, Dalkeith, Glasgow Green and Holytown.
In the meantime, I would like to encourage all our loyal members to stay safe by continuing to follow the government’s advice. I know I speak for us all, when I pay a warm tribute to our Prime Minister and his government for their strong leadership through this difficult time. They have stepped forward with a package of financial support that is beyond anything we have ever seen before. This
support has assisted us as individuals, but it has also extended to businesses across the UK as well.
As a Union of nations, the Chancellor has ensured that the support measures he has introduced is there to support all parts of the UK. We remain grateful to be part of the United Kingdom and able to access this invaluable help and support.
Finally, at an appropriate time in the future, we hope to have an event/parade in Glasgow for all of Scotland’s loyal orders, where we can all come together and show our support to the UK Government for everything they have done for us during this terrible time. It will be a time to thank them, and the many other services, like our NHS workers and the thousands of others who are still working as hard as ever to keep the nation going. We hope this parade will be able to go ahead in September, and we will start to consult with the other loyal orders in Scotland to plan this.
For now though, my most important message is for you all to stay safe, stay well and healthy. Follow the government advice and remain in your homes unless it is absolutely essential to go out. Think about others, and offer help where you can do so safely.
With our strong faith, we will get through this.
Jim McHarg, Most Worthy Grand Master