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Coast and Castles Cycle Ride

This epic long distance cycle route from Edinburgh to Chester le Street takes in the outstanding scenery of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle along the way, helping to mask the fact that it incorporates 180 miles of hard cycling spread over 3 days.

24 keen cyclists from Durham took on the challenge setting off from Edinburgh on Friday 15th September to raise funds for the “Durham 2029 MBF Festival” and “Durham Benevolence”. The weather on day one was wet and cold but a lunchtime stop at Dunbar Masonic Hall helped refresh everyone for the final push to Berwick. Day two took in Alnwick and Seahouses Masonic Hall on another wet and chilly day. The good news was filtering through that the total raised had passed £15,000.00 and this gave everyone an extra lift.

On the first dry day of the whole event the team set off from Alnwick full of purpose, ibuprofen and paracetamol. After some climbs that were a bit of a struggle for aching legs the riders reached the coastal path and one of the most enjoyable sections of the Coast & Castles tour, riding through Warkworth and Amble before some had a well earned ice cream in Creswell. The Province of Northumberland surpassed themselves once again, providing a lovely lunch for our incredibly grateful group. It was then time for the final push. Down the Coast to Tynemouth and then along to the pedestrian tunnel back into the Province of Durham. From Jarrow the team rode through Washington before regrouping on the outskirts of Chester le Street. They were then able to ride into the finish at the Masonic Hall where they were met with rapturous applause from waiting friends and family before presenting a magnificent cheque for £25,000 for the sponsorship raised to David Hanson the PGM of the Mark to be shared between the Mark 2029 Festival and Durham Benevolence

Quote from John Thompson PGM of the Craft :-

“I’ve supported many previous bike rides from the sidelines but to participate has brought a very different perspective. The camaraderie, emotions undulating with the terrain and weather, the sense of achievement and being part of a supportive team are only felt by participation.  I’m truly grateful for the experience, the enhanced friendships and all who have donated to such worthy causes as Durham Benevolence and the MBF.”

Quote from David Hanson PGM of the Mark :-

“It is wonderful to see two brilliant charities benefiting from the Coast & Castle Bike Ride. Congratulations to all the support staff, cyclists and all who donated. Remember it’s not just about making a donation it’s about making a difference and you have certainly done that. Inspirational!

Quote from Gavin Rowell :-

“The weather conditions and general lack of fitness made this probably one of the hardest events we’ve organised but the camaraderie was amazing and more importantly we’ve raised a great sum to help local and national charities supporting those in need”

More photos will be added as received and a link to Flickr for a full album

Click here for more photos

Stronger Together

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Durham Benevolence

durham benevolence

Charity, being one of the four fundamental principles of Freemasonry is administered in our Province by the Durham Masonic Benevolent Fund, registered charity number 279313.

As a charity with assets over £8m we are very proud of our low administrative costs mainly due to the time and experience freely given by so many dedicated and enthusiastic Freemasons and by our highly professional staff in Provincial office.

The Provincial Benevolent Committee consists of an elected member from every Lodge in the Province who meet four times a year to agree the way forward for our wonderful Charity. 

Our two residential housing properties at Fulwell, Sunderland and Bishop Auckland are flagships of our organisation and something we take great pride in. These homes enable people to live their lives privately and independently in a safe, secure, and sociable environment.

We are also involved with many Community Engagement initiatives, Providing Community Defibrillators, taking part in and helping to organise Park Runs, working alongside our TLC Teddies and providing Community Support Grants to some extremely worthy causes in the very heart of our communities.

Durham Benevolence is our Charity but is there for everyone, to support, engage and make a difference to lives across our Province.To contact us please email or should you wish to make a personal donation please click here.

Durham Benevolence Logo


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Useful documents

DB – Community Support Application Form
DB – Guidelines for Community Support Grants
2 documents
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Masonic Fishing Charity

Masonic fishing charity

The Masonic Fishing Charity’s aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs.

It achieves this by running fishing events, both coarse and fly, at various fisheries and inviting participants from special needs schools and centres and people who have suffered trauma to come and join in.

This is far more than just a day’s fishing though! It enables mentally disabled people to gain in confidence, meet new challenges and achieve tangible results to take away; it helps disadvantaged people and those from harsh backgrounds to renew their confidence in meeting people and interacting with adults from outside their spheres; it helps physically disabled people (including war heroes and stroke victims) to participate and experience something that may otherwise be unavailable to them and it enables our volunteers to give back to the community and hopefully…….  ‘Catch a Smile’ along the way.

The charity is completely run by volunteers and is a non-profit making enterprise. Whilst we are the Masonic Fishing Charity you do not have to be a freemason to help us or take part in our activities.

The Masonic Fishing Charity in our Province

The Durham Branch, since our formation in 2017 has held sixteen events at Aldin Grange fishing Lakes, Bear Park in Durham. the venue is very Kindly supplied by Brian Hodgeson from Agricola Lodge. Although not administered or controlled by the Province,we operate with the kind permission and support of PGM John Thompson and our past PGM Norman Eric Heaviside .

Durham Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity




How can you help

Be a Sponsor! 

Any of our sponsoring lodges come and spend the day with us as well.  Our charity provides a focus for those who care to support us, and they can see a positive and tangible result for the money that they donate. They are also safe in the knowledge that the entire donated amount is spent on providing events for the participants. The charity has no paid employees, no buildings to support or other overheads other than normal printing, stationery, specialist, and insurance requirements that any similar organisation needs to operate efficiently.

Become a Volunteer!

Fishermen (Ladies are especially welcome!) You do not need to be a Freemason to become a volunteer for us, as we provide a one-to-one fishing guide and participant relationship, we always need men and women fishermen who are willing to give up their day and act as casters.

Organisation is the key point of our activities, and all the events rely heavily on several people to help organise them. Some of the roles include Event Organiser, Schools Liaison Officer, Caster Registration Officer, Catering, Photography, Publicity and PR and general help on the day.

Suggest a participant or organisation.

We always welcome new participants. Most of our participants are drawn from Special Educational Needs Schools, or units and adult centres.

The charity does not provide transport to and from the event. Participants must be over eleven years old and sufficient carers, teachers or helpers must accompany the group to cater for their personal needs. Likewise, any special dietary needs would need to be brought with them for the day although the charity does provide a barbecue lunch with a vegetarian option and tea, coffee, soft drinks and water throughout the day.

If you want to find out more about the charity or if you want to be a volunteer or helper please contact us

Visit our Facebook Page

We will look forward to hearing from you!

Visit our National Website

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TLC Teddies

TLC Teddies

What are TLC Teddies?

TLC Durham provides small teddy bears, known as distraction teddies, to Accident and Emergency departments or Urgent Care Units across the Province of Durham. These are used by medical professionals, with distressed children, to calm them and so speed the diagnosis of their illness and its treatment. Their use saves the NHS considerable staff time and speeds the diagnosis and thus treatment of many injuries where delays can have considerable negative impact on the child’s recovery.

Each Teddy has a label stating “Donated by local Freemason’s” and they are a clear and identifiable sign of freemasons working for and within our communities to make lives better. Funding for the bears is raised from within freemasonry by various means and the funds are ring fenced within Durham Benevolence to be used solely for the provision of TLC Teddies.

We also deliver Selection Boxes at Christmas and Easter Eggs to the various Children’s Wards across the Province. The many letters and cards of thanks received from the nursing staff or from the children are a testament to the value the wider community places on our good work. These small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Our main communication with the wider NHS community and its patents is via our Facebook site ‘TLCTeddiesDurham’ and the active engagement continues to grow. We now have 1,765 likes and reaching often in excess of 4000 people. We would encourage everyone to visit the site to truly gain an understanding of the impact the Teddies have. If you like the site you will then receive notifications when we receive new posts. Many of these are from parents and Hospital staff, across the province, expressing gratitude and thanking freemasons for our kindness.

We raised £14,085 during 2022 and we provided 4248 to be used with children in distress. Since TLC Teddies was launched throughout the Province of Durham we have provided over 115,000 bears to help comfort children in distress.

The Teddies are something Freemason’s are especially proud of as they make a big difference to the children who receive them by “turning tears into smiles” at a difficult time.

TLC Durham


National Website


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Masonic Charitable Foundation

Masonic Charitable Foundation

We are the Freemasons’ Charity

Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

They build better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education, and promoting independence.

MCF Logo







Their Vision for Society

Everyone has the opportunity to lead positive, active and fulfilling lives, especially those that are in need, disadvantaged or marginalised.

Their Vision for the Masonic Community

Masonic families are healthy, stable, and secure thereby providing them with the opportunities to participate actively in their community and succeed in life.

Their values

Responding to need – They are a listening and inclusive organisation which identifies need and provides essential support to communities with which they work.

Making a difference – They are compassionate and dedicated to changing people’s lives in ways that are shown to have a positive impact.

Striving in excellence – They work in a professional, collaborative, and innovative way to provide the best service to their supporters, their beneficiaries and one another.

Their mission

To be a force for good by providing support, care and services to Freemasons and their families in need and supporting other charities to help the most disadvantaged in society.

Their Strategy

There are three strategic goals which will help us achieve our Mission.

1 We will enhance our support and services

As a unified charity, we now provide support and services across a wide spectrum of need to people of all ages, and to charities supporting all sections of society. To be at our most effective, we must adapt to the changing needs of the communities we support and, where possible, extend the range of our support and services, always ensuring they are delivered effectively.

There are over 160,000 charities in England and Wales competing for funding from grant-making foundations such as ours. Identifying the most deserving causes and effective charities is a challenge and requires intelligent decision making. In line with our Mission, the charities and causes that we support will be those which help people that face poverty, distress or are disadvantaged from participating actively in society, overcoming obstacles or leading fulfilling lives.

As our main donors, the support we offer to Freemasons and their families in times of need will remain our primary purpose. The majority of Freemasons and their partners are reflected in our ageing population which is living longer, with increasingly complex and expensive care needs. It is essential that we help meet the needs of older Freemasons, their wives and partners by supporting them to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities, or in one of our RMBI care Homes.

2 We will improve our ways of working

The Masonic community is relatively small in charitable terms and we have no remit to raise funds from the general public. Furthermore, our fundraising efforts must compete with the many increasing demands on the limited resources of our supporters. Through our activities we must engage with the younger generation of Freemasons and encourage the whole Masonic community to support Festivals and other fundraising initiatives. To do this we must build and strengthen our relationships with the United Grand Lodge of England and with Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges in recognition of their role as the primary link to our donors and beneficiaries. We will need to shape and communicate our messages carefully to ensure everything we do is understood, valued and relevant.

There is increasing pressure to provide evidence which shows that the way we spend our donors’ money is having a positive impact, in the knowledge that our donors can choose to support other charities and causes. We need to improve our understanding of the value and impact of our grant-making, support and services, and adapt and change in response to what we learn.

We will honour the past 230 years of Masonic charity and the legacy charities from which MCF was formed, whilst creating a modern and effective governance structure and vibrant staff culture. Using these legacies as a solid foundation, we aspire to be needs-led, adjusting our range of support and services to ensure that MCF continues to provide appropriate support to those in need for generations to come.

3 We will raise our profile

As a new charity, it is essential that we embed the MCF and its activities within the consciousness of the Masonic community. It is vital that the support and services we provide are known about and understood by Freemasons and their families in need. At the same time we must build pride in our donors and supporters, without whom we cannot deliver our Mission.

We aim to be better known across society as a whole so that the generosity and charitable actions of the Masonic community are widely recognised and fully understood.

We must take advantage of our size and scale to find a voice in the sector, taking prominent positions on issues affecting our beneficiaries and speaking knowledgably about the needs of the communities we support. As a leading charitable foundation in the UK, we aim to adopt a profile befitting our scale in order to support the charity community and encourage shared learning, best practice and transparency.

MCF Logo







Download the complete document here

MCF Support

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