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100th Anniversary 1919 – 2019 and Platinum Celebration – Rowland Burdon 3960


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On the evening of Wednesday 20th November 2019, the brethren of Rowland Burdon lodge met at Castle Eden Masonic Hall. This was a special meeting with extra special importance – not only to celebrate 100 years in Freemasonry for Rowland Burdon but also a celebration for the lodge gaining Platinum award with 90+ brethren in attendance.


This evening started with a Deputation Visit of Provincial Grand Master, led by the John Arthur. There was also a good turnout of acting officers joining him, were warmly welcomed into the Lodge Room.


Vic Bell then gave a short history of Rowland Lodge.


The talk started with Rowland Burdon (the Man Himself), how he lived in Stockton and worked in Newcastle and passed through Castle Eden each time he went to Newcastle. Not only was he a MP for Durham, he was also Mayor of Stockton. The Burdon family went on to build turnpike road between Stockton and Sunderland (A19) and Iron bridge in Sunderland, with motto on the side of the bridge ‘Nil desperandum, auspice Dei’ (‘Do not despair, trust in God’), which is also the Motto of the Rowland Burdon lodge.


Vic then went on to talk about how the lodge was consecrated in 1919, by 49 founder members and a brief insight into the early days of the meetings of the lodge and its members.


Once Vic had finished his very interesting talk, John was joined by Brian Freear to unveil a plaque, given a short speech about the evening and how it was a ‘Fantastic Advert’.


Ron Black (Provincial Chaplain) then stood and gave a prayer of dedication.


This was followed by Tom Gittens who read out the New Lodge Warrant before handing it to John Arthur to present to Brian Freear. Ron Black then again stood and gave an oration – stating it was an honour to be able to say a few words.


The Brethren of Rowland Burdon lodge then formed a semi-circle to receive their lodge jewels.


During the raisings, John Arthur was presented with a cheque of £10,000 for the 2021 festival, which has taken the lodge to Platinum status. John then presented Dennis Bartholomew with the Platinum Pin.


The evening was finished off at the festive board, where John responding to his toast, stating he had full admirations to the lodge for their planning for tonight 25 years ago at their 75th anniversary, by start saving and putting money aside. In addition, that he had enjoyed his time and well done to everyone who had taken part during the evening. John then presented an award to Dennis and a glass plaque to Brian Freear.

Gavin Rowell stood and gave a short speech on behalf of the Provincial team and officers.

Brian Freear gave a heart-felt toast, saying he was ‘Proud as Punch’ and that tonight was about Thank you’s (to the brethren of the lodge for having the fore-thought to start saving 25 years ago and to Brian Mottram for all his hard work for this meeting). Phil Johnson gave a quick and witty response on behalf of the visitors.

This concluded a great evening enjoyed by all present – and thanks must go out to all of the Castle Eden and Rowland Burdon Lodge for the welcome and fellowship they offered throughout the evening.and certainly well worth another visit.

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