Monday 9th June 2008.
Statement by Worshipful Brother
Rory Mackay, WDM Portsmouth District LOL 65
Attempts are being made to
prevent Portsmouth District LOL 65 holding their Annual District Parade and
Divine Service at Petersfield on Sunday 22nd June 2008. Whether this is the
the result of bureaucratic bungling or something more sinister remains to be
seen. Below are the up to the minute happenings.
The Petersfield Parade is the District Parade of Portsmouth District LOL 65.
As such it has been taking place continuously every year for more than 30
years. We have records to show the event also took place during the 1950s when
it was held on a Saturday. Up until this year we have enjoyed excellent
relations with the local police. We have never at any time been required to
obtain a Road Closure Order, nor did we have to provide Indemnity Insurance.
We appreciate that things have changed regarding insurance in recent years but
the insurance, which we have now obtained, is not the issue here.
As District Master I received a telephone call from Sergeant Stuart Tripp of
Petersfield police on Thursday 29th May. Sergeant Tripp informed me that for
the Parade to go ahead we would require Indemnity Insurance and what he
referred to as a “TPCA”, which he informed me was a Road Closure Order. I
immediately contacted Wo Brother Mike Hiscutt, Worshipful Master of King
William III LOL 11, Portsmouth who have had to deal with this situation for
the past few years. Following his advice I obtained the necessary Insurance
that day. Despite telephone conversations with East Hampshire District Council
based in Petersfield, and Hampshire County Council based in Winchester I could
make no further progress on the “TPCA”. Neither person I spoke to at either of
those bodies seemed to know what I was talking about. I eventually submitted
an email form which I found on the Hampshire CC site requesting further
At the Annual Parade and Divine Service of Silver Jubilee LOL 1977 at
Southampton on Sunday 1st June I spoke with our District Marshal, Worthy
Brother Alan Bradshaw, who could not understand this request for Road Closures
as all we required was a “Rolling Closure”.
On Tuesday 3rd June I received a telephone call from Gill Stevens, the
Licensing Officer of East Hampshire District Council. This was in reply to my
email enquiry. She undertook to send the necessary forms out to me by 1st
Class Post for completion. I explained to her that we only required a “Rolling
Closure” and she asked me to confirm that on the form. She did say that we
should have applied for this six weeks before the event. I replied that up
until the previous Thursday we had been unaware of any requirement.
Approximately 1 hour later I received another call from the same lady. She now
informed me that our application would be discussed at a Council Meeting that
night, and as that would be the last Meeting before the Parade could I email
her as a matter of urgency, the Parade Route and Timing Schedule. I sent this
information immediately. I also appended a copy of an email dated 21st April
from Petersfield police to our Worthy District Secretary, confirming all was
in order for the Parade to go ahead. Therefore 8 weeks before the Parade there
was apparently no question of any Road Closure Order.
On Wednesday 4th June I emailed Gill Stevens again, seeking the outcome of the
Council Meeting. Her reply, seemed to indicate that, despite the stated
urgency for the information to be placed before this Meeting nothing has, in
fact, been resolved.
The responsibility for this state of affairs also appears to being shifted
from one party to the other. Sergeant Tripp initially blamed the Council. The
Council, in the person of Gill Stevens, in a telephone conversation with Right
Worshipful Brother Garry Mills Provincial Grand Master, blamed the police.
Gill Stevens in an email to PGM then said the situation was the result of “new
procedures discussed between Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police and
ourselves” (East Hampshire DC)
At the moment this District is left in limbo but my own personal feeling is
one of pessimism. Gill Stevens recent email to me contains the ominous
statement “does not give us much time to process the Closure”, and she also
uses the word “try” twice. I only hope I am wrong, but if the Parade is not
allowed to proceed on Sunday 22nd June, the District hope to have a presence
in Petersfield on that day anyway. We shall proceed from the Railway Station,
using the Public Pavements, to the statue of King William III where we shall
lay our wreath. We shall then proceed to the War Memorial where we shall
honour our Glorious Dead, proceeding from there to the Heath for our Divine
Let us hope it does not come to that. Let us hope our Civil and Religious
Liberties are recognised and respected. Let us hope good sense prevails.
“THE PROTESTANT RELIGION AND THE LIBERTIES OF ENGLAND I WILL MAINTAIN”
King William III