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Old Dunelmian Celebrations

15

July
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On a very warm Friday 12th July, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, David Sanders Hay was honoured to be the representative of the Provincial Grand Master at the Installation meeting of the Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100, held in the Luce Theatre of Durham School. This was to be a double celebration with the Installation as Master of a stalwart of both School and Lodge, Godfrey William Hedley and a 100% Gold Target Award for contributions to the Durham 2021 Festival for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). David was introduced into the Lodge by John David Atkinson, where the Worshipful Master, Jeremy Bray welcomed him to the proceedings. All brethren were then presented with a well worked Installation Ceremony. At the second rising David received cheques benefiting, Durham Benevolence, the TLC Teddies Scheme and the 2021 Festival. David in turn presented the Worshipful Master with their Gold Award Certificate after which Charity Steward Eric Robinson came forward and was bestowed with a Gold Award Pin Badge. Eric thanked all of the members for their contributions in achieving their target giving a special tribute to the late John Liddle a sorely missed Brother and for many years Lodge Secretary.

 

The festivities continued to the festive board being held in big school where a splendid banquet was served. All dining finished the required toasts were adhered to and after the toast to the Provincial Officers, the representative David, thanked the members of the Lodge for a memorable evening, and how honoured he felt to be invited as a guest on such a special night. David made reference to the three cheque donations presented to him and congratulated all members for their hard work reaching the Gold Award Target. He praised their charitable enthusiasm and dedication made to the 2021 Festival and paying special tribute to John Liddle.

 

The idea of forming a School Lodge was made by school old boy, Alan Barraclough who suggested that it should meet in London, however Vernon Ferens, an influential Durham Mason and a former pupil suggested to hold all the meetings at Durham School. However Province would not agree to the meetings being held at the school so they were held at Durham Masonic Hall.  On 4th June 1966 the Old Dunelmian Lodge was consecrated, Vernon being the first Worshipful Master. Things changed in 1968 when the meeting was held at the Masonic Hall but the festive board was held at the school. Move on to July 1996 when there was a problem with asbestos at the Masonic Hall and it had to be closed, so a dispensation was granted to hold the Installation Meeting at the School the same being replicated every year since.

 

Durham School was founded by the Bishop of DurhamThomas Langley, in 1414, it received royal foundation by King Henry VIII in 1541 following the dissolution of the monasteries. The School was an all-boys institution until 1985, when girls were admitted to the sixth form. The school became fully coeducational in 1998 and celebrated its 600th Anniversary in 2014 making it the 18th oldest in Britain. It is possible however, that it may actually have origins in the Priory at Lindisfarne, being moved to Durham City to escape marauding Viking invaders around the time that St. Cuthbert’s body was brought to what is now the site of Durham Cathedral. The school was in Langley’s time situated on Palace Green north of the Cathedral, in 1844 the school moved to its current location across the river wear. Former students are known as Old Dunelmians. The School had some interesting times – for example, in 1640 the Old School Buildings were utterly destroyed by the Scots. Homeless due to the burning down of its buildings, the school continued in various houses in the city. It was in 1661 that the school moved back to Palace Green. The School location now has been steadily expanded and updated overtime. The School Chapel, built from 1924 to 1926 sits on top of a hill overlooking the main School site and is also a war memorial, its walls are engraved with the names of those who died in World War I and World War II. Within the Chapel is a superb Stained Glass window which the Lodge funded.

 

One of the highlights of the evening is the traditional singing of the School Song,’ Floreat Dunelmia’ (May our school flourish) which is also the School Motto. During the rendition of the song which is wholeheartedly sang by all, it is a spectacle to watch as  young and old  former pupils climb onto their seats and the more able onto the dining table to let you know they are old boys of the school and proud be so.

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