Charity, News

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Support for Stonemasons

The brethren of Trinity lodge, who meet at the masonic hall in Darlington, were gathered for a very special evening for their May meeting.  The meeting commenced in a manner usual among masons and then soon got down to business with a ceremony where brother Rob Clarkson was passed to the second degree.  The ceremony reflected the high standard of Durham Freemasonry and the hard work and effort put in by all of the brethren involved with Rob very much enjoying himself.

The meeting concluded, but that wasn’t the end of the business for the evening as the members of Trinity had more in store.  The members invited to join them in the lodge room Mr Matthew Mills (Head of Development for Durham Cathedral), Gary Holliday (Head of Works), as well as Graham Penfold & Ged Williams, who are both apprentices as part of the Durham Cathedral Stonemasons Apprenticeship Scheme.  Gary addressed the brethren and explained that his role at the Cathedral is to organise the repair and maintenance.  Gary advised that the apprentices have to go through a mandatory 2 year standard government training and then at Durham Cathedral they then move on to more advanced learning to enhance their skills.  At Durham Cathedral they preserve the traditional methods of stonemasonry and Gary emphasised that cement is not used in the maintenance and restoration of historic buildings like the Cathedral, but lime mortar is.  Gary also demonstrated the working tools used by the stonemasons at the Cathedral and shared a number of photographs of the fantastic restoration work that they have already carried out.  There were a lot of questions from the floor which showed the amount of keen interest that everyone in attendance had as well as the appreciation to the fantastic work carried out at Durham Cathedral.

The Master of Trinity lodge, Ray Bradley, presented Matthew with a cheque for £3,000 on behalf of Trinity Lodge and ‘Durham Freemasons Charity’; the donation being equally funded by Trinity via the Ray Wallace Thompson Charitable Trust and by ‘Durham Freemasons Charity’.  The intent of the donation is to support the Apprenticeship scheme at Durham Cathedral with the donation going towards the cost of equipment and tools needed.  Being free and accepted or speculative, as opposed to actual operative masons, the brethren of Trinity deemed it worthy to support Durham Cathedral with their Apprenticeship scheme.  The Ray Wallace Thompson Charitable Trust, was set up by the lodge with some members being trustees and liaising with the entirety of the lodge on how the money is invested and used for various charitable purposes.  It is named after Ray Wallace Thompson, a former member, who passed away in 2010 and left a substantial amount of money to Trinity Lodge with the instruction to use for charitable purposes.  Ray was employed as an architect and it seemed very fitting to the members to make this particular charitable donation to support Durham Cathedral.

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