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The Consecration of Anglers Lodge

Places are now available for those wishing to attend and dine.

Reservations will close at 6pm prompt on 16th March 2024,

(these MUST be booked and paid for in advance) Any remaining places for General admission without dining will be released after 16th March.

For Tickets Go To: https://www.tickettailor.com/…/provincialgrandlodgeofdu…

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£25,000 to Carers Trust

Carers Trust Tyne and Wear is a local Charity for, with and about carers. They are an independent charity supporting unpaid carers and their families. Since 1990, they have worked hard to improve support, services and recognition for Gateshead residents living with the challenge of unpaid caring, for someone who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. They are a network partner of the national Carers Trust. Together they form part of the largest independent organisation supporting carers in the UK.

 

The services they provide give people a break from their caring and help children and young people to overcome the challenges that young carers can face. 

 

Their mission is to support carers to have a life alongside caring. They do this through services that enable carers to continue their caring role whilst having a life of their own and maintaining their own well-being.

 

The Provincial Grand Master of the freemasons of Durham, John Thompson, accompanied by Stan Fitches and Paul Quinn the Charity Steward, visited the Centre in Rowlands Gill where half term cookery lessons were the order of the day. This activity is one of many that the staff manage and is one of the favourite choices of the children.

John chatted with the staff and children and they expressed their gratitude and the difference the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) grant of £25,000.00 would make to them.

Many thanks to the staff members for the friendship shown and the gratitude they expressed to the visiting freemasons.

In the photos staff members Pauline Steele (CEO), Carol Watson (Service Manager) and support workers Andrea Overton, Christine Tindale and Alyssa Wake.

Christine says thank you

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Provincial Communications Officer

Are you passionate about Communications? Do you have the skills and experience to lead and manage a range of communications activities for the Province of Durham?  If so, we have an exciting opportunity for you to join our team as the Provincial Communications Officer in succession to our current PCO Paul O’Doherty who has effectively fulfilled the role since 2018.

You will be an exemplar of communication and effective role model for the Province by displaying high standards and leadership.

Working with a specific member of the Provincial Executive you will develop and maintain communications strategies that support the objectives of the Province to effectively represent Durham Freemasonry to the membership, their families, and the general public through the strategic recommendations and narrative defined by UGLE.

Please read the attached job description for more detail about the role and responsibilities.

This voluntary role is an appointed Provincial Grand Rank of Provincial Grand Communications Officer (ProvGCO) but we seek expressions of interest from any subscribing Master Mason or Past Master in the Province whatever their current rank.

Expressions of interest are to be submitted electronically to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master at jwatts@durhamfreemasons.org (not more than 250 words) by 29th February 2024.

To view Job description Click Here:

It is anticipated shortlisted applicants will be invited to make a presentation at Provincial Office during March 2024 and the appointment will commence from the Provincial AGMs in May/June 2024,

Stronger Together.

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Age UK Gateshead

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John Watts, accompanied by the Durham Provincial Almoner, Duncan Maw and the Northumberland Provincial Almoner Norman West paid a visit to Gateshead Age UK on Gateshead High Street. to meet up with Donna Taylor – Charity Director and Kate Wildish- Community Development Senior at Age Uk.

The Durham and Northumberland Freemasons through the MCF (Masonic Charitable Foundation) have allocated £60,000 MCF grant to Age UK Gateshead to allow them to deliver desperately needed support to the range of services offered. Heading up these services will be Kate who gave John, Duncan and Norman an insight into the extra services in the Gateshead and Newcastle areas that this funding will allow.

John commented ” The freemasons of both Durham and Northumberland are delighted to assist this wonderful charity in the process of widening their services and look foward to returning at a future date to see the progress made.”

There will be a full press release to follow.

Short thank you video

Stronger Together

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A Job Well Done

At the St Bede Lodge Meeting held at Gateshead the Provincial Grand Master, John Thompson Installed a new Deputy and Assistant, and while he did refer to the standing down of the Provincial Secretary it deserves a few words of its own. John quoted the following :

“Brethren, before we leave this evening, I have one more announcement. Our Provincial Grand Secretary Thomas Fred Gittins who you will all be very familiar with, is stepping down at the annual meeting in June.

Tom has been the head of our secretariat now for 8.5 years and has served three PGM’s with distinction. I think Tom probably would have finished his role earlier but was good enough to stay on when I was appointed to ensure stability for me and the province, for which I’m very grateful. When the time comes and it’s not for another 5 months, we wish Tom all the best in his retirement.

With that being said Brethren, I need to find a replacement and I can announce to you this evening “That he is found”. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Richard Scott of St Bede Lodge has accepted my invitation to be our next Provincial Grand Secretary. Richard will be appointed at our June AGM meeting. I have no doubt that he will bring enthusiasm to the role and will guide the secretariat through the implementation of UGLE’s Project 23 during the coming years.  Please join me in thanking Tom and wishing Richard all the best.”

Many thanks Tom. Indeed, a job well done

Stronger Together

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St Bede Lodge, the perfect host

Gateshead Masonic Hall was the chosen venue for St Bede Lodge of Jarrow to host an incredibly special meeting. The order of business was to admit the Provincial Grand Master, John Thompson, and his Officers so that he could invest a new Deputy Provincial Grand Master and a new Assistant Provincial Grand Master. The Lodge would then initiate a candidate into freemasonry.

John formally entered the Lodge and took the Masters chair to conduct the Provincial business. Before installing a new Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, brought about by the resignation of Michael Graham as the Deputy in December of last year, John said “I thank Michael Graham for the dedication he has given to our province over many years, and we wish him all the best for the future. “  

John then continued “Good evening Worshipful Master and Brethren and thank you for allowing Provincial Grand Lodge to be part of your meeting tonight as we invest our Deputy Provincial Grand Master designate John Watts and our Asst Provincial Grand Master designate Rakesh Bhalla a s they start their roles officially under their patent of appointment.” John then installed John and Rakesh into their respective offices after which the brethren acknowledged both.

John also announced that Tom Gittins the Provincial Secretary would be standing down at the Annual Meeting in June this year, and that Richard Scott would be taking over his duties. John thanked Tom for his loyal service over an eight-year period and at the same time he wished Richard every success in his new and significant role.

The Master of St Bede Lodge Gordon Scott, then resumed in the chair and with his Officers conducted an excellent initiation ceremony to the delight of all present. The candidate, Ben Waites was welcomed into freemasonry by Gordon and his mentor, Richard Scott. A brilliant night and a big thank you to St Bede Lodge for the quality of the whole night both ceremonial and dining.

Stronger Together

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Membership Team Event

Our Provincial Membership Team have completed their latest 2 information events for potential candidates. The open events took place at Darlington on 12th January and at Chester le Street on the 27th and were hosted by the 2 “Andrews”, Messrs Moule & Foster.

In total, 17 prospective Members were in attendance at the 2 events and they were treated to a wonderful insight into Freemasonry in general and on joining a Lodge in the Province of Durham in particular.

Many of those in attendance had approached the Membership Team during the recent local digital marketing campaign and were delighted to be able to find out more about our wonderful fraternity.

Feedback received following both sessions was excellent, with many already progressing their applications to join Lodges in the Province.

A further digital marketing campaign will kick off soon. Look out for updates on similar events that are being planned now.

Stronger Together

(Photographs are from the event in Chester Le Street where the team were joined by some of our Parkrun Group “fresh” from their latest outing)

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The Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham Royal Arch Festival Month

The Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham is holding a Royal Arch Festival month from mid-March until mid-April 2024.

A fantastic number of events are being held across the Province, with a view to promoting the Royal Arch and its direct link to Craft Masonry.

These events include:

The Keystone Connection

The Grand Superintendent of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham and the Provincial Grand Master of the Mark talk about the Royal Arch and the Mark Degree.

The Ceremony of the Veils

A Presentation to be given by The Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham and the Companions of Tees Chapter No. 509. This ancient ceremony is seldom seen in English Chapters, and it is a year since it was last presented in Durham.  ‘The Ceremony of Passing the Veils’ was an integral part of the Royal Arch ceremony and was practised as a preliminary to the Exaltation ceremony. In 1834 the basis of the current ceremonies was established and agreed by Supreme Grand Chapter and the ‘Ceremony of the Veils’ stopped being practised thereafter. The ceremony can be demonstrated once annually by a Province, so this is a rare opportunity to witness something that at one time was an integral part of our Masonic Heritage.

Talking Heads

A couplet play between a new Master Mason and a Royal Arch Companion explaining the Royal Arch in the ante room whilst getting ready for their Lodge meeting.

Royal Arch Roadshows

A presentation by the Provincial team about the origins of the Royal Arch and the splendour of its ceremonies.

Adding More Theatre to the Principal Sojourner’s Story

The Provincial team act out in more detail the Principal Sojourner’s journey in the Royal Arch ceremony.

Discover More

An event for prospective members interested in joining the Royal Arch.

Please check the events page for further details and how to book your place.

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Mayor’s Charity

A party of freemasons from Durham, led by the Provincial Grand Master, John Thompson, would like to thank Sunderland City Council Mayor Mrs Dorothy Trueman for the truly kind invitation to visit City Hall on Friday 26th January. It was wonderful to see the new council’s HQ. and an opportunity to meet and support The Special Lioness charity. one of the mayor’s chosen charities for the year. The Charities Co-founder Claire Stewart and other trustees were present to meet the visiting party. The Durham Benevolence chairman John Watts indicated that they had supported the charity last year but surprised the ladies and the mayor with additional donations taking the total to £10,000.

These amazing ladies are mums of children with life limiting conditions and profound disabilities found that they had no-where to turn for honest advice for products, medical issues, and found this journey utterly lonely and exhausting. So, after meeting through a Portage sensory group, they realised that they had something to offer other families and that’s where the journey began.

Over the years, they have strived to become a social, friendly, welcoming, slightly bonkers place for parent/carers to come and share knowledge and contacts that they have built up over the years, their main goal is to not only help create strong friendships for other parent/carers but for their own children too. They have a passion for fundraising to give these families a one-off experience, filled with fun and laughter to make life-long memories, particularly as most of the children have a short life expectancy, and a belief that they should cram in as many memories as possible, while the children are well enough to experience them

Video link here

Stronger Together.

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A Night of Two’s

Agricola’s Night of two Lamb skin aprons, two fifty-year certificates and two Lambs.


On Friday 19th January 2024 the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Andrew Peter Fall Foster was escorted into Agricola Lodge with a packed agenda for the evening. The Worshipful Master and his team performed a double initiation ceremony which was followed hy a presentation of two 50 year long standing awards to two of its members.


Andrew invited Ian Atkinson and Trevor Dent to join him onto the floor in the lodge room at Old Elvet to receive their certificates, which he described as an incredible achievement, a combination of one hundred years in freemasonry.


Ian was a Lewis and recalls having to taxi his father back and forward to Blaydon Masonic Hall before he became a freemason himself. During his masonic career he has branched out into various side degrees including the Royal Arch Chapter, Mark Master Masons, The Royal Ark Mariners and the Rose Croix.


The date of Trevor Dents 50 year’s award unfortunately fell during the lockdown period of covid but was formally presented by Andrew on the evening. Trevor was also a Lewis and had just witnessed the initiation of his son and son-in-law into Agricola Lodge.


Collective greetings were given by forty-four visitors from twenty-two lodges after which everyone retired to the festive board, where ample provision had been made. Keeping up with the theme of doubles on the evening, seventy-eight freemasons dined on two spit roasted lambs which had been supplied from a member’s farm.

Stronger Together

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