Date :

Rose Croix | Durham Freemasons

Gateshead Masonic Hall saw Dunston Chapter Rose Croix host the Annual Meeting of the District of Durham Rose Croix, which was the first Annual Meeting under the direction of Michael Stuart Shaw since his Installation as the new Inspector General.

The lodge room was full as Michael entered accompanied by other distinguished guests from nearby Districts. Other heads of orders were present at the meeting led by the Provincial Grand Master of the Craft, John Thompson.

The custom at the annual meeting is to perfect a candidate and, on this occasion, Andrew Jonathan Mason had that privilege. The ritual was carried out by the Most Wise Sovereigns (Masters) of Chapters throughout the District.

The lunch after the meeting was first class and with nearly 130 seated was expertly served by the catering staff. After the usual toasts Michael thanked all for their attendance and Dunston Chapter in particular.

The toast of the day was proposed by Frank Rankin to Andrew Jonathan Mason, the newest candidate into the order and he suitably replied.

Another great masonic occasion.

“Stronger together”

<< Back to search results

Date :

Allied Donation | Durham Freemasons

The District Grand Prefect of Northumberland and Durham Allied Degree, Danny Guy hosted the Annual Meeting in Gateshead Masonic Hall with a full house of 125 brethren in attendance. A substantial number of distinguished visitors were present, and the meeting was especially graced by the presence of the Grand Master, Thomas Firth Jackson.

The meeting went without a hitch, culminating with the investment of the District Officers for the year. After a photo call to mark this special event, the brethren retired to enjoy a splendid lunch well served by the catering staff. The lunch was attended by the Provincial Grand Masters of the Craft and Mark, John Thompson, and David Hanson, respectively. Danny presented both Provincial Grand Master’s with a cheque for £500 to go towards their respective Festivals, on behalf of the Allied Degree.

Both Provincial Grand Masters replied and thanked all present for the generosity shown by them and for the warmth of their welcome.  Working together as one was the common theme of the day.

Stronger together

<< Back to search results

Date :

Industry Visit | Durham Freemasons

The Provincial Grand Master John Thompson took a deputation of his Officers to visit Lodge of Industry in Gateshead on Monday 23 rd January. John was keen to support the oldest Lodge in the Province of Durham, having been in existence for nearly 300 years.

The lodge room looked splendid with 70 brethren in attendance and the Worshipful Master, Dr Anthony Thomas Richardson, enlightened them all with a talk entitled “ The early history of Masonry and the development of the Lodge of Industry “, which you can read in full by using the following link.

link   Early History

The festive board was enjoyed by all present and in his reply to his toast the PGM made special reference to his commitment to embrace the UGLE strategy for 2022 and beyond, to ensure Freemasonry in Durham is fit for the membership and helps to attract and retain members. In this respect it is important to maintain tradition and history and the Lodge of Industry like many others may have to adapt and change to be viable in the future. John also thanked the brethren for their exceedingly kind donation of £200.00 to Durham TLC.

May the future be bright.

<< Back to search results

Date :

50 years Chapter Celebration for David Railson

On the evening of Monday 19th December 2022, the companions of Elevation Chapter assembled at the Stanley Masonic Hall. This special meeting was of immense importance, it was a celebration of 50 years service to the Chapter for EComp Thomas William David Railson and the exhalation of Bro Hugh Dorans .

This evening started with the Provincial Grand Superintendent John Thompson being warmly welcomed into the Chapter Room and being introduced to the Companions.

The Companions of elevation Chapter then increased their numbers with a fine exhalation ceremony of Bro Dorans in which many members of the chapter and visitors took part.

The next business of the evening was for the Provincial Grand Superintendent to present the long service certificate to EComp David Railson. John did this in his usual style by inviting David to have a chat with him. Two chairs where placed and the companions took their seats.

David has been married to Christine in 1974 and has 3  daughters Fiona, Lynsey and Gemma….6 Grandchildren Elizabeth, Harrison, Grace, Hannah,, Jackson and Spencer aged 3

David’s  Education was at Newcastle upon Tyne Cathedral Choir of which he eventually became Head Chorister.

He Said “All I particularly wanted to do in those early years was to sing in the Choir and play Cricket.”

He later attended Newcastle Colleges on leaving School and decided  a Police Career was what I wanted to commit myself to as I had been interested in that for some time.

January 1964 saw him accepted into Newcastle upon Tyne City Police, after training was posted to West End Police Station where he met a myriad of characters all in a blue uniform.

After some years served in Divisional Administration ,Crime Intelligence and C.I.D. Promoted Sergeant 1978 …Stationed in Sunderland, Gateshead, Blaydon and Whickham from where I retired as Station Sergeant/ Custody Officer in 1993.

November1968 saw his initiation into Derwent Lodge No 4250 becoming W.M.1983.

His Royal Arch journey started in September 1972 with his exhalation  into Rowlands Gill Holy Royal Arch Chapter No 4694 becoming M.E.Z in 1987 going back to J. and H then M.E.Z. in 1990. After that in 1991 I took over as Scribe Ezra’a post I held for over 20years.

In 1992 received Provincial position of DepProvSwdB

Promotion. to DepProvGDC 1998-2000  and then ProvGDC  2000-2007.

During his  time as ProvGDC. there were many initiatives in which he was involved in organising provincial support for the second and third principals on official provincial visits and the introduction of the revised ritual into the Province, which was a major task.

During all of his time in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter David wrote and delivered many Lectures in and out of this Province , his Church background seemed to just be a forerunner  to Freemasonry more particularly the Holy Royal Arch where the many Biblical references and stories were so familiar. Indeed this followed on into many other  Masonic Degrees.

However ,  in the following years his Masonic Career really took off and in all the many Degrees he is still  a member of, he  achieved Acting Grand Rank in every Degree bar one  He particularly  enjoyed was Dep. Grand EPISCOPUS (CHAPLAIN) in the Order of the Scarlet Cord where he was in that Office for 3 years and gave ‘ orations’ relative to Consecrations and Enthronements over much of the Country, Past P.G.M in The order of Athelstan 2012-17  in Northumbria …P.G.M. Royal Order of Scotland   2017–date in Durham…..  Grand Supt. of The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and The Order of Holy Wisdom in Northumberland and Durham .

On conclusion John invited the Provincial DC EComp Nigel Fallow to present the 50 year long service certificate

E Comp Thompson acknowledged his amazing service to many degrees and thanked him for the work he has done in Durham in promoting the craft and the Holy Royal Arch. John further Commented that many of the things we do today in our visits and deputations and the ritual will read has David’s hand in it somewhere along the line.

Chapter Photos were taken before the evening progressed to the festive board.

Following an enjoyable meal, John Thompson thanked the Chapter for a Wonderful evening and was grateful for the invitation to share in this  special  Celebration. The full room in attendance added to the occasion. John then spoke about everything that was happening around the province and to encourage everyone to go out and enjoy their freemasonry.

Toast followed with Ecomp Railson thanking EComp Thompson for his attendance and the companions and visitors for their support.

All enjoyed an excellent and entertaining evening.

<< Back to search results

Date :

A Busy Night at St Mary’s Lodge | Durham Freemasons

The first Friday in December is the last Regular Meeting of St Mary’s Lodge in their Masonic year. They always invite an individual to present their Annual Lecture/Talk and this year were delighted to have Adam Lamb, the Provincial Archivist, accompanied by Tom Coulson. Adam presented a Talk on the Provincial Grand Masters of Durham.

The Talk was superbly delivered by Adam; it had wonderful content and was received very well by the 45+ brethren in attendance. All retired in plenty of time to enjoy the Christmas festive board with 45 dining, where a wonderful Christmas meal was provided by the caterer and served by the waitresses in attendance.

The night also included the Annual fraternal visit from the Lodge of Industry, their Mother Lodge, where nine of their brethren supported Dr. Tony Richardson, the Master. Tony replied to the visiting brethren’s toast later in the evening.

Joseph Kendall was elected as Master for the ensuing year with his Installation to take place on Friday the 3rd of February 2023 at 5.30pm. The next two months will see Joseph making his preparations for that special evening when he will also appoint his son, Michael Kendall, as Senior Warden and his good friend, Steven Connor, as Junior Warden. Anyone wishing to attend the Installation is most welcome and should contact the Lodge Secretary for more details about reserving a dining place; all are welcome.

Wonderful harmony was also enjoyed, performed by Richard Straughan. In his own very individual style Richard gave some reflections on life with reminiscences of times past and with memories of his father, the late Dick Straughan, a member of Ravensworth Lodge and a Music Hall Legend who provided many hours of harmony for Lodges in the 1980-90s. All agreed it was wonderful to have such good harmony once again.

The Annual Christmas Raffle where all the ‘bottles’ were donated by Lodge Members, raised £400 profit and this will be donated to Charity and presented to the Provincial Representative in February.

So a good night was had by all . . . but that was not the end of it.

Towards the end of the evening, Stephen Willis, accompanied by Alan Jenkins, who are members of the organising committee, presented the Lord Ravensworth Golf Trophy to the Winners of the 2022 event held at Chester-Le-Street Golf Club in July. Bill Baty, a Past Master, and Bryan Scott the visiting support Officer were successful in this and came in with an extremely high score of 49 Stableford points. Stephen relayed the events of the day to the brethren and asked Adam Lamb to make the presentation. As the Provincial Archivist and lead in the Provincial Museum at Provincial Grand Lodge in Sunderland, Adam Lamb had brought the original Ravensworth Trophy (a very valuable item) along and duly presented it to Bill and Bryan. It turned out to be a good day in July with St Mary’s Lodge winning the trophy and £1,000 raised from the event presented to the Masonic Fishing Charity.

St Mary’s Lodge in Gateshead have worked hard in recent years to maintain their membership and have introduced many new members over the past few years, and with membership around the 50 mark they are able to move forward positively using the guidance of the Members’ Pathway for their future development.

The photos show Bill Baty, Bryan Scott and Adam Lamb with the original Ravensworth Trophy and the more recent crystal bowl kept by the Lodge for a year.

<< Back to search results

Date :

Dunelm & CHUF | Durham Freemasons

John Williams, the master of Dunelm Lodge who meet in Darlington, selected the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) as his charity to support during his term in office when he was installed in 2019. With the impact of Covid 19 on many organisations as well as Freemasonry it meant join would remain at the helm of Dunelm lodge for 3 years.

The charity is close to John’s heart as his grandson spent the majority of the first year of his life in the Freeman hospital, where the support from the charity to his parents was exceptional and helped them through what was a very tough period in their lives. His grandson is now a healthy 8-year-old.

The members of the lodge took it upon themselves to raise as much as they could over the course of John’s mastership and achieved a magnificent total of £3,320. This was beyond any expectations and thanks applies to each and every member who donated towards the total. Dunelm lodge then applied to Durham Benevolence for additional funding to increase the amount.  Durham Benevolence also gave generously and added a further £1,680 to take the total donation to £5,000.

On the 8 th of November John and lodge Charity Steward, Mick Redpath, went along to the CHUF offices in Gateshead to find out more about the great work they do and to present Alicia Clovis-Mothalib (CHUF fundraising manager) with a certificate confirming the donation of £5,000. The donation will be used in part for the purchase of Christmas teddy bears and selection boxes for the 300 child patients treated this year who will attend the CHUF Christmas party and also towards the charity’s emergency nurse’s fund.  The emergency nurse’s fund is to support parents on their initial, sometimes traumatised, arrival with sick children from locations far from home with practical measures associated with accommodation, cost of travel and parking. CHUF were extremely grateful for the support that was given by Dunelm Lodge, and the freemasons of the Province of Durham.

Photo 1 (L-R): John Williams, Alicia Clovis-Mothalib & Mick Redpath.

Photo 2 (L-R): John Williams & Mick Redpath.

<< Back to search results

Date :

A Durham And Northumberland Scarlet Cord Extravaganza | Durham Freemasons

On Saturday 19 November 2022 the Provincial Grand Senatus Annual Meeting was held in Gateshead.  Although the expected attendance of 90 Companions was reduced with several of our members from Scotland unable to travel due to cancellation of trains following extensive flooding, we still had a wonderful turn out of 60 Provincial members and 18 guests.

The Meeting started in silent tribute in remembrance of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a memoriam to 5 Companions called to Higher Service since our last AGM in November 2021 in a very dignified manner with prayers from the Provincial Episcipous T. W. David Railson.

After a friendly introduction of our Distinguished Visitors by our Provincial Grand Summus Michael A. Jacques he also acknowledged the presence of 3 Provincial Grand Supreme Rulers from the OSM Provinces of Durham, Northumberland and East Scotland and other Heads of Orders including the recently appointed Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, Prof. Denovan K. Wilson.

Following usual administrative matters including minutes, accounts, and the re-election of the Provincial Grand Treasurer Mark J. Gilpin, the Provincial Summus re-appointed his Deputy, Gary Douglas Taylor.

The Provincial Grand Summus then thanked Comp. Colin Hume for 4 years distinguished service as Assistant Provincial Grand Summus which he had carried out in an exemplary manner befitting of such a dedicated Freemason.

The new Assistant Provincial Grand Summus, Morgan McDonald, ProvGSR East Scotland, then entered in procession and was Obligated, Invested, Installed and after Proclamation by the Deputy Provincial GDC Peter Layton, was saluted with five by members of the Province.

The Officers appointed to assist the running of the Province for the ensuing year were then invested by the Provincial Summus who also promoted Martyn W Greene to Past Provincial Grand Chancellor, T Gordon Mitchell and T Ewan Notman to Past Provincial Grand Registrar and S Jim Neil to Past Provincial Grand Lecturer.

The Provincial Grand Summus then Addressed the Senatus and gave thanks to all for attending today especially those that had travelled great distances in such inclement weather.  Special thanks were given to the administration team led by John D Watts, Prov Recorder and the ceremonial team led by ProvGDC Peter J. Ronan paying especial tribute to the retiring DepProvGDC Peter Layton and AsstProvGDC Bill Chrystal and for wonderful fanfares and music provided by ProvGOrg Clive Warham.

After the meeting 70 Companions repaired to a fine festive board where chef Neil and his catering team had risen to the challenge of providing a Durham & Northumberland theme by dressing the tables in blue and yellow (the county colours of Durham), red and yellow (the county colours of Northumberland and serving a 4-course banquet including Northumberland Broth and Durham Trifle (blue jelly, yellow custard).

Those involved in the planning and execution of this meeting were delighted to receive this message from one of our guests the following morning:

“A note to thank all of you for your warm welcome and hospitality yesterday, which was very much appreciated.  Please permit me to add that the meeting itself was as well organised and performed as any I have attended in the last 15 years or so as a Provincial Officer – in any Order.  The preparation was meticulous; any late changes, and we know the weather caused many, were dealt with seamlessly, and the whole proceedings were efficiently carried out with a warmth, caring and pleasant light humour rarely experienced in such quality and quantity. It was a real pleasure to be part of it.”

<< Back to search results

Date :

Gateshead Fell Celebrate | Durham Freemasons

On Tuesday 15th November the members of Gateshead Fell Lodge gathered at the Masonic Centre, Alexandra Rd, Gateshead to celebrate their 100th Anniversary. An event of such importance was recognized with a full Provincial Team visit led by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham. Over 70 brethren were in attendance.

Neil Walker delivered a concise history of the lodge, explaining how the years immediately after the First World War saw enormous social change in the United Kingdom as communities in towns such as Gateshead on Tyne tried to recover from the upheaval and loss caused by 4 years of war and destruction.

Freemasonry experienced a surge of interest in the post-war years as men looked to re-create that sense of camaraderie and brotherhood they had found in the armed forces. In the years 1919 to 1921 18 new lodges were consecrated in the Province of Durham. By 1st January 1922 4 more Lodges had been granted Warrants awaiting their consecration. One of the 4 was Gateshead Fell Lodge No.4349, whose Warrant was granted on 7th September 1921. Gateshead Fell was one of six Lodges whose Warrants were granted on the same day, whose numbers were 4345 to 4360 inclusive and all in the Province of Durham.

The Lodge was consecrated on Saturday, 3rd June 1922 at 2:00pm at the Industry Masonic Hall, Jackson Street, by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master the Right Hon., The Lord Ravensworth. There was twenty founder members of the Lodge, 8 from Shipcote Lodge, 6 from Saltwell Lodge, 3 from Borough Lodge and 3 from St. Peter’s Lodge in the Province of Northumberland. The first Master of the Lodge was James Scott a Past Master of Shipcote Lodge. The initial fees were a Founders’ Fee of 2 guineas (£350) and an Annual Subscription of 3 guineas (£525). In 1922 a decent weekly wage was around 40 shillings (£2) per week, so founding a new Lodge was not an inexpensive undertaking.

Throughout its 100 years the lodge had the pleasure of admitting an average of just over 3 new members every year, many of them progressed and honoured in various capacities and offices including 2 current members having received Grand Rank and 5 brethren with Acting Provincial Ranks. A further 2 brethren received certificates in recognition of 50 years of continuous membership.

At its peak in the 1950’s Gateshead Fell Lodge had 100 members. Today the membership is a strong 36, under the supervision of the current and most experienced Past Master Trevor Forster Baker. Trevor first took the chair of Gateshead Fell in 1974 serving further terms in ’85, ’99, 09. Trevor was Junior Warden for the 50th and 75th celebrations and had the distinction of being Worshipful Master in the Centenary year, achievements few other brethren can emulate.

To read full history click here:

Lodge proceedings were brought to a close, before which, Mike Davis the Provincial Deputy Secretary read out the Centenary Warrant, which was then presented to the lodge by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, who also presented the brethren of the lodge with their Centenary jewels.

The evenings celebrations concluded at the Festive Board, where the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham responding to his toast, expressed his gratitude to the lodge for their planning of this momentous occasion in the lodge’s history. He went on to thank the brethren for the generous donations given in the lodge room earlier of £1,500 to the Freemasons Grand Charity.

The Master Trevor Baker, in the reply to the lodge toast went on to thank the members of Gateshead Fell Lodge for their unequivocal support and the privilege of electing him to serve the lodge as their Master on this, their Centenary celebration year.

The response to the provincial toast was given by Jamie Matthew Rielly, the Provincial Junior Warden who proposed a toast to Gateshead Fell Lodge in recognition of the Lodges achievement, thanking the members for the warmth of the welcome shown to the team.

The raffle with 20 fabulous prizes raised over £500 and the first number drawn out by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master was claimed by his father, Michael Graham Senior who was part of the Provincial Team in the capacity of Comms Officer. Lighthearted whispers of “it’s a fiddle” echoed around the room.

More photos on Flickr here

A most enjoyable and memorable evening was had by all.

<< Back to search results

Date :

‘Veterans at Ease’ | Durham Freemasons

Veterans at Ease is a leading Military Mental Health Charity, committed to helping Veterans, Reservists, Serving Military Personnel and families deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related issues. The charity was founded in 2007 by former soldier Garreth Murrell who suffered from the devastating effects of PTSD 14 years after he returned from Military Operations in Bosnia. Having been suicidal whilst trying to deal with it himself, he discovered NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and in time found that it resolved the psychological effects of his experiences. His passion for life increased and he realized he could help other veterans who are struggling with life after the military and trained as an NLP psychotherapist. Garreth’s treatment was very expensive, so one of the reasons for forming the charity was to provide the same NLP therapy totally free and offer support by trained therapists.

An application was made to the Benevolent Committee of the Freemasons of Durham for a grant to help with the funding of this life saving therapy.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham being one of over 7,000 organizations that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant , making a public pledge to demonstrate support for the Armed Forces community were only too happy to support this worthy cause.

Martin Rankin representing the Freemasons of Durham visited the charity’s Gateshead shop and was delighted to meet with Chief Executive Officer and Lead Psychotherapist, Garreth and present a certificate to go along with the £5,000 grant awarded to the charity. Garreth and staff were overwhelmed with the generosity of such a large and much needed donation and were proud to display the certificate in the main window for all to view.

<< Back to search results

Date :

A Running Success | Durham Freemasons

Fantastic response to the formation of the “Durham Masonic Parkrun Group”

19 members attended the first Group Parkrun at Sedgefield on Saturday 8th October. This new initiative to improve the health and well-being of Freemasons throughout the Povince of Durham is open to any brother of any or no running ability! Everyone is encouraged to attend and after the Parkrun or walk we all ensconce to a nearby café for Coffee and cake to replace the lost calories!

Although the Masonic Park Run Group will meet monthly Parkruns are run weekly by Volunteers throughout the country. They are open to any member of the general public. Always operate in a safe environment (parks), are well stewarded and generally finish next to a café! Participants can run, jog or walk the course with the general aim of getting more people exercising.

The Group aims to meet at a different Parkrun, throughout the Province of Durham, on a monthly basis. Enjoy the exercise and after enjoy the company of our fellow freemasons in a relaxed and informal environment after all we are stronger together.

The next meeting is Saltwell Park in Gateshead on the 5th November and everyone is welcome. Come along you might enjoy it, get the bug and take the first step to better health.

We have a face book page which you are welcome to join. If you want to be kept up to date and also join in with other members chat we also have a WhatsApp group. If you want to be added to this then Please email with your mobile number.

<< Back to search results