Easter Social Evening - 2017
What a truly wonderful time was had by members, family and friends at our Easter Social Evening on Friday, 24th March in the historical venue of The Great Hall, the Bishop's Palace, Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire.
We were delighted, and once again honoured, by the presence of the 2016/2017 High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Mrs Judy L. Naake of Bramcote.
A warm welcome was given to Mrs Eileen Evans, who represented LEPRA, and her husband, David. The High Sheriff presented Eileen with a cheque for £1,500 from our charitable endeavours, to help people affected by leprosy worldwide.
The buffet was truly scrumptious - and there was certainly plenty of it!!
The entertainment for the evening was provided by ‘The Opera Dudes' who were just amazing - so brilliantly talented and with the superb capacity of involving their audience in a fantastic, and often hilarious, way. There was much enthusiastic clapping and cheering from all corners of The Great Hall for the singing of this musically-gifted duo.
We are most grateful to everyone who donated a raffle prize - through the generosity of members and friends £210 was raised and, as usual at our events, there was an abundance of prizes, which was greatly appreciated by the winners! This amount will of course be donated to our various chosen charities.
A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who was able to join us on this auspicious occasion, and we give special thanks to our Secretary, Confrere Trevor Cooper OLJ, for organising such a splendid event.
Consoeur Pamela Levens CLJ
Advent Carol Service - 2016
The Commandery of King Offa held its annual Advent Carol Service for the first time in the beautiful surroundings of the medieval Church of Saint Wilfrid, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
To the stirring sound of the bagpipes, skilfully played by Confrere Professor Robert Ashford OLJ, the Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi, KLJ, MMLJ, was escorted into church by a procession of members of the Commandery, together with the Sword, Cross, Halberdiers, Gonfalonier and Flag of the Commandery. The service was conducted by Associate Parish Priest and Commandery Chaplain, The Reverend Kevin Charles ChLJ. Lessons were read by members of King Offa Commandery as preparation for the Advent season and coming of Christmas. A thoughtfully chosen selectionof Advent and Christmas carols, including ‘O come, O come Emmanuel’ were sung by the congregation. Trumpeter Tony Wade MMLJ accompanied the Organ with his beautiful playing. In 'We Three Kings', solos were sung by Mrs Pearl Day, Consoeur Susan Charles OLJ and Mrs Julie Crampton. After the service the Commander retired in recession escorted by Officers of the Commandery, under the direction of the Marshal, Chevalier Peter Salt KCLJ, BMLJ, and accompanied again by the bagpipes.
Following the service, a wonderful home-cooked carvery meal was served at The Oakham Suite, consisting of traditional roasts and a selection of delicious puddings. The Deputy Marshal, Confrere Dr Andrew Nicoll CLJ, introduced the Commander who made a presentation to the Nepal Leprosy Trust. Thus ended an enjoyable and uplifting Advent Sunday with members and many friends of the Order.
Confrere John Bullock OLJ, BMLJ
The Commandery procession assembles in St Wilfrid’s Church
The recession after the service
After processing out of the churchyard and along the road
Some members and guests at lunch
Representatives of The Nepal Leprosy Trust receiving a cheque
The Commander presents a brevet to Major Geoffrey Berry CLJ
‘Last Night of The Proms’ - 13th August, 2016
What an absolute privilege it was to attend our spectacular Summer evening event - 'Last Night of the Proms' - in the splendid and handsomely decorated Carriage Room, at Kelham Hall, near Newark.
This magnificent Victorian stately home, built in 1863, nestles in 44 acres of stunning gardens and parklands, and has a rich history as the ancestral home of the Manners-Sutton family, along with its use as a theological college for an Anglican monastic order. During World War II it was the home for a group of American oil drillers (Roughnecks), under the disguise of being part of a film set for John Wayne, when they were really drilling for oil at Eakring in north Nottinghamshire to help the war effort in England as we were very low on oil, but had to keep a low profile so as not to alert the Germans. It is not known how they survived with the monks who still lived there.
It was a truly delightful and successful evening, which included the most delicious and beautifully slow-cooked beef we have ever had at our gatherings, and the Summer Berries Pavlova just melted in one's mouth... mmmmm...
Guests and members were fantastically entertained by the sweet, smooth sound of The Newstead Brass Band; an ambitious, versatile, competitive, community-based Champion Section Brass Band, under the baton of Mark Davis.
There was a great deal of flag-waving, banging on the tables, clapping and standing, whilst everyone heartily sang the customary patriotic songs, including Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory. The Band's playing of The Radetsky March and The Dambusters' March was just breath-taking.
Thank you to everyone who donated a vast assortment of raffle prizes, which raised a generous £275 from the 54 members and guests who attended.
Very special thanks, indeed, to our Secretary, Confrere Trevor Cooper, who arranged this fabulous evening.
Watch this space for a repeat of this terrific event…
Consoeur Pamela Levens CLJ
King Offa Commandery celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday Year - 2nd July, 2016
A celebration demonstrating the devotion and loyalty of the Commandery of King Offa to HM Queen Elizabeth II in her 90th birthday year took place at the medieval Church of St Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire on Saturday 2nd July 2016. The afternoon commenced with a wonderful concert featuring the beautiful voices of Emily and Anna Tully, and Rebekah Gayfer, performing songs inspired by the Queen’s reign: from ‘O Taste and See’ by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, sung at the Coronation Service in 1953, to ‘Sing’, written for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2013. Feet were tapping as they performed ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, reflecting Her Majesty’s war service in the ATS. They also sang a capella a modern composition entitled ‘Royals’. A traditional afternoon tea - the delights of which challenged those of Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Hotel, and which included a glass of Kir Royale - was served in the Magdalene Centre. The Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi, proposed the loyal toast after reading a special message from Buckingham Palace in which Her Majesty sent her warm good wishes to all those present for this most memorable and enjoyable gathering. Members and guests then processed back to the Church for Festal Evensong, led by the Revd Kevin Charles AChLJ.
Confrere Trevor Cooper MLJ, Secretary
Commander’s Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) - 17-19 June, 2016
Sixteen members and friends of The Commandery of King Offa experienced a truly delightful and spiritual June weekend in Northumberland, thanks to the careful and thoughtful planning of our Almoner, Confrère Jim Moody.
We were all grateful for the cheerful service given by the staff of the family-owned Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, Embleton, where one of the very comfortably-furnished lounges quickly became known as ‘The King Offa Suite’ - what an excellent place, with time allotted to get to know each other more!
Saturday morning dawned and after a homely, cooked breakfast, using locally sourced fare, we all filed happily like excited school children on to the hired coach for our journey from the hotel across the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which is only accessible at low tide. We held our 1662 Service of Matins at the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Lindisfarne, accompanied on the organ by our very own Confrère John Bullock. Our Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi, led the service, which afforded a splendid time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship.
Walking around Lindisfarne, viewing and photographing various ancient ruins, we all eventually discovered the culinary delights of ‘Pilgrim’s Coffee’ and enjoyed much banter as we ate our choices of menu in the garden.
The Priory of Lindisfarne was founded in 634 by Irish monk, Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald. He was prayerful and humble, and set about showing people the Christian life by his own experience of devotion and gentleness. Saint Aidan’s example might help to shape our lives as members of the Order so that God's love is evident in all that we do.
The afternoon was spent in the lovely sunshine at Bamburgh Castle - a truly iconic fortress of the North with spectacular coastal views, rebuilt in recent times by the Armstrong family who still own it. We enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals in the popular cafeteria. Our whole day was blessed with glorious sunshine.
This unforgettable weekend concluded on Saturday evening with a delectable formal dinner at Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, which included traditional St Lazarus toasts and addresses by the Bailiff, H.E. The Chevalier Charles Holloway GCLJ, and the Commander, before we departed for home after breakfast on Sunday morning.
A memorable, happy weekend filled with spirituality, camaraderie and fun.
In the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Lindisfarne (following a service of matins)
Within the ruins of the Norman Priory
Outside the gatehouse of Bamburgh Castle
At dinner in the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel
Consoeur Pamela Levens MLJ
Easter Charity Evening - Friday 1st April, 2016
The first of our charity events in 2016 started, as usual, with a rousing evening of music provided by the Night Train Disco and Woman’s Zone, on April Fool’s Day at one of our usual venues, The Welbeck Suite in West Bridgford, Nottingham.
We began with a 3 course supper, somewhat simpler than our normal fare, but one that went down well with the 40 plus Members and guests who attended the evening. After the meal The Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi, proposed the Loyal Toast and then the Grand Master’s Toast, following which he presented the pot plants, one on each table, to the lady on that table whom it was felt had supported the Commandery most, but was not a member of King Offa; it was a difficult choice, as many ladies qualified for this accolade.
After this we received a power point demonstration from Mr Jack Everett, a young man of 18, whom the Commandery had supported in his endeavour to accompany a group of people with learning difficulties on a trip to Lourdes. This was most interesting and uplifting, and delivered with exceptional maturity in someone so young, giving (I believe) his first speech in public.
Next came our raffle draw, which raised the superb sum of £220 for the various charities we are supporting. The evening was rounded off by the Woman’s Zone, a group of 5 ladies whosing for fun and other people's enjoyment. Their repertoire covered music from the 1940s to the 1970s, thus allowing everyone present a chance to relive their past.
Woman's Zone, strutting their stuff
Guests, enjoying a drink
Confrere Trevor Cooper, MLJ
Fourth Advent Carol Service - Sunday 29th November 2015 - Chapel of Newstead Abbey
The Victorian Chapel at Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire, was full to over-flowing for The Commandery of King Offa’s 4th Advent Carol Service held on Sunday, 29th November 2015. This wonderful venue was formerly an Augustinian Priory, which was converted to a domestic home following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and is now best known as the ancestral home of Lord Byron.
The traditional and moving Service was presided over by The Commandery Senior Chaplain, The Reverend John Burgess, ChLJ, BMLJ, assisted by The Commandery Chaplain, The Reverend Kevin Charles, AChLJ. Almost 60 members and guests, and various members of the public, heartily sang the familiar Advent hymns and carols, accompanied by the Commandery Organist, Confrere John Bullock, OLJ, BMLJ, and our very dear friend, Mr Anthony Wade, MMLJ, who exquisitely played the trumpet.
A collection was held during the Service and allocated to the chosen Leprosy Charities. The support and enthusiasm of our members at such events cannot be beaten and makes one very proud to belong to this Commandery.
The roast beef lunch at The Portland College was, as usual, quite delightful and a fitting finale to this special occasion.
Confrere Pamela Levens, MLJ
The Portland Ball - Saturday 3rd October 2015
The Commandery of King Offa held their annual Portland Charity Ball at Portland College, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday, 3rd October 2015.
Eighty members and guests thoroughly enjoyed the mouth-wateringly delicious three-course meal, after which everyone was greatly entertained by the wonderful sound of Ashby Big Band, with many people taking to the floor in a group 'Strictly Come Dancing’ style.
Allister du Plessis, Regional Manager, for The Leprosy Mission England & Wales gave a brief and interesting resume of the work of the Mission worldwide and was delighted to receive a cheque for £1,500 to help those people affected by leprosy. This sum will be doubled by the Government as part of a campaign called “Feet First”.
Generous raffle prizes were in abundance and numerous members and guests were happy to take their mementos home with them. There was a special raffle of a Tower of London Poppy, donated by one of our regular guests, which was received with enormous delight, raising even more money for our charitable funds.
A very pleasant and joyous evening was had by all, whilst at the same time, raising very necessary funds for our chosen charities, namely The Leprosy Mission, LEPRA and DEBRA.
Confrere Pamela Levens, MLJ
SERVICE OF CELEBRATION & RENEWAL OF VOWS – Saturday 1st August, 2015
The weather was warm and sunny as members and guests of the Commandery of King Offa arrived at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire for our annual Vigil and Thanksgiving Service. We were honoured by the presence of the Bailiff, H.E. The Chevalier Charles Holloway GCLJ and his wife, Dame Lynne Holloway DCLJ, together with representatives of the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands.
The Vigil was held in the Pilgrims’ Chapel, where approximately 40 people re-confirmed their Baptismal Vows, renewed their Vows of Membership and offered prayers for members of the Order. The service was led by the Senior Chaplain of the commandery, The Revd John Burgess ChLJ, assisted by the Commander and Chancellor.
A fanfare on trumpet and organ heralded the entrance of Grand Priory officers, Commandery officers, members and clergy for the Thanksgiving Service. The congregation was welcomed by Air Vice Marshal Robin Turner, and the service was conducted by Fr Burgess, assisted by the Reverend Kevin Charles AChLJ. Over 100 people attended. The singing was led the Peterborough Chamber Choir, who performed an introit and anthems. Their performances were of a notably high standard and enjoyed by all present. Following the renewal of vows, the Bailiff admitted Anthony Granville Wade (our loyal trumpeter) to the Companionate of Merit in the grade of Member and invested him with the insignia of that rank; the names of those who had been recently admitted, promoted, or given awards of merit were announced, and brevets and certificates for the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land were conferred. Finally, the Commander appointed his Officers for the ensuing year.
Members of the Order retired in recession under the direction of the Marshal, out of the Minster through the West Door, where photographs were taken. We then followed the Piper, Confrere Professor Robert Ashford OLJ, who led us to The Saracen’s Head Hotel, where we enjoyed an excellent banquet and the conviviality and good fellowship for which King Offa is renowned.
Officers, Members, Clergy & Guests outside the West Door of Southwell Minster
The Service of Thanksgiving begins
The Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi KLJ with The Bailiff, H.E. The Chevalier Charles Holloway GCLJ
Confrere David Knox OLJ (Cumbria Commandery) with the Commander, before the service
Confrere Trevor Cooper being reappointed Commandery Secretary for the ensuing year
Mr Bruno Rizzardi, Mrs Sheila Reid and Mr Kenneth & Mrs Jean Bullock receiving commemorative certificates from the Commandery Chaplain, the Revd John Burgess, on their having undertaken the Commandery Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May 2015
The Procession leaves the Minster for The Saracen's Head
Confrere Trevor Cooper, MLJ
Locko Park and the Leper Hospital - the Return of the Order of Lazarus, Saturday 4th July, 2015
Saturday 4th July this year saw a truly historic occasion when, by kind permission of Mrs Lucy Palmer, forty members and guests of the local Commandery of King Offa visited Locko Hall in Derbyshire and the site of the original leper hospital run by the Preceptory of St. Lazarus. The Commander was led in procession by pipe and drum. A Drum Head Service of Commemoration was held at that location before processing to the private Chapel at the Hall for Evensong.
The name ‘Locko’ is derived partly from the old French ‘loques’ meaning rags. In the 13th century there was a hospital for lepers, built by the Order of St Lazarus, behind the house you see today. In 1340, the hospital, much of the Locko estate and surrounding area were destroyed by “the Great Fire of Spondon”. The hospital was rebuilt but ceased to operate after around 1453 and was dissolved in the 1540s.
A marvellous buffet and drinks followed in the Hall to commemorate the reconnection of the Order with Locko Park for the first time in over 400 years.
Chevalier Peter Salt, KCLJ & Consoeur Kate Salt, MLJ
The Commander & Flag at Locko Park
Easter Charity Evening - Saturday 27th March 2015
This, one of our regular annual events, was attended by 65 members and guests. We enjoyed a two course dinner, followed by entertainment provided by "Ball & Socket", whose music is in the style of Flanders and Swann (for all those of my age who may remember them). During the evening, our Commander, Chevalier Mario Rizzardi, invested Mrs Diane Haywood with the insignia of a Member of the Companionate of Merit for her continuing work in organizing an annual May Ball, all the proceeds of which are donated to King Offa. Later on, a cheque for £1,500.00 was presented to Mrs Andrea Newman of DEBRA to assist the charity's work with sufferers from the acutely painful and disfiguring skin disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa. A raffle was held (the many prizes having been donated by members and guests) which raised a superb £275.00.
The Commander & Chancellor with Mrs Diane Haywood MMLJ, following her investiture in the Companionate of Merit
The Commander presents a cheque to Mrs Andrea Newman of the charity DEBRA
Entertainment by "Ball and Socket"
Members of the Commandery in St Lazarus uniform - very smart indeed!
Confrere Trevor Cooper, MLJ
Third Advent Carol Service - Sunday 7th December 2014 - Chapel of Newstead Abbey
The Commandery held its annual Advent Carol Service at Newstead Abbey, the home of Lord Byron, set in beautiful grounds to the north of Nottinghamshire.
The Commander was escorted into the Service by a procession of Members of the Commandery, together with the Sword, Cross, Gonfalonier and Flag of the Order. The service was conducted by the Senior Chaplain, The Reverend John Burgess, ably assisted by the Deputy Chaplain, The Reverend Kevin Charles. Music was provided by the Commandery Organist, Confrere John Bullock, who was accompanied by the magnificent cornet renditions of Mr Tony Wade. Members of the Commandery read the lessons and the congregation of nearly 70 sang the carols heartily. In “We Three Kings”, were treated to solos by Mrs Pearl Day, Consoeur Susan Charles and Mrs Julie Crampton. After the service the Commander retired in Recession accompanied by Officers of the Commandery.
For lunch we repaired to the Portland College, a favourite eating establishment of the Commandery, and were not disappointed with the food served: roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, together with all the usual vegetables, followed by fruit crumble and custard. Thus ended an enjoyable and uplifting day with members and friends.
Confrere Trevor Cooper, MLJ
The Portland Ball - Saturday 11th October 2014
Yet again, we enjoyed the delights of Portland College where we held our Annual Portland Ball. Numbers were a little down on last year, although 78 members and friends enjoyed a most memorable evening, listening to Guy Turner at the piano, whilst we enjoyed a magnificent 3 course meal, helped down by the occasional glass of wine. We were joined this year by the Bailiff and his wife, H.E. The Chevalier Charles Holloway and Dame Lynne Holloway, which made the evening that extra bit special for all who attended.
After the meal we were then given plenty of excuses to get onto the dance floor where we were accompanied by the sounds of The Trent Connection Big Band; a few mishaps occurred, but only due to the merriment of the evening.
As always the generosity of our members and friends was again shown when we held a raffle and the Famous Grouse Draw, which always goes down well, with the lucky winner taking home a gallon bottle of whisky; unfortunately the writer of this report was not the lucky winner.
All ended about 11.30pm, when carriages were made ready, and I do believe we shall have an equally enjoyable time next year. Many of the friends were interested in our displays and took away copies of our Autumn Newsletter, and it is hoped we may look forward to new members.
Confrere Trevor Cooper, MLJ