The Provincial Grand Master’s Annual Business Lunch has been a popular fixture in the South Wales Province masonic calendar for several years. The lunch, held at the Beech Tree Restaurant, Wenvoe, has always featured top-notch speakers from the world of Welsh rugby; Clive Rowlands OBE – a former Welsh Rugby Union player in the 60’s and coach in the 70’s – and Brynmor Williams – a Wales and British Lions rugby union and professional rugby league player.
Unfortunately, in 2020 the Annual Business Lunch was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic. However, in 2021 it returned but under a new name: the Reunion Luncheon. The purpose of the luncheon has always been to raise funds for the 2021 RMBI Festival.
The 2021 Reunion Lunch was held on 23 July, again at the Beech Tree Restaurant. The chairman, W. Bro. Dr Akram Baig, said: “The Luncheon was sold out within days and the poster and flyer that had been produced was hardly used for promotion”.
The speaker for this year’s lunch was former Welsh International Rugby legend, Graham Price, MBE.
W. Bro. Simon Daniel, who arranged for Mr Price to speak at the event, said: “In keeping with the tradition of having a former Wales Rugby International speak at our annual lunch, Graham Price was perfect. During his career Graham won 41 caps for Wales, and a record 12 for the British and Irish Lions as a prop forward during the 1970’s”.
RMBI 2021 Festival committee member, W. Bro. Richard Thomas, commented on the event:
“Friday the 23 July arrived, and guests started arriving by 11.30 am and the place was buzzing by 12 noon. Everyone was following the strict COVID guidelines still in place. We were fortunate to have W. Bro. Phil Saunders as the MC for the afternoon, and R. W. Bro. Sir Paul Williams opened the lunch with a warm welcome and updated those assembled on RMBI activities. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V. W. Bro. William Jenkins, said grace, and then we all tucked into an outstanding three-course meal.
“The raffle was organised by W. Bro. Simon Francis and Phil Saunders introduced the speaker, Graham Price, who regaled us with humorous tales of his time playing International rugby, and of his colleagues, Charlie Faulkner, Bobby Windsor, Gareth Edwards and Mervyn Davies.
“After the lunch, Phil Saunders performed his usual magic as auctioneer for the afternoon. All the money raised from the event went to the 2021 Festival.
“The PGM, R. W. Bro. Gareth Jones OBE, thanked Dr Baig and his hard-working team for organising the Reunion Luncheon and announced that the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Wales, RMBI 2021 Festival Gala Event, would be held at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday 19th November 2021, 6.00 pm.”
At the conclusion of the lunch, Akram Baig presented the PGM with a cheque for £25,000 for the RMBI 2021 Festival.