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A Burns Night Exaltation in Staindrop

On a wet January evening, the companions of Rose of Raby Royal Arch Chapter assembled at Staindrop Masonic Hall to welcome the Grand Superintendent John Thompson accompanied by a full team of provincial officers, on this their first visit of 2024.

This was an extra special evening for the Chapter, not only being honoured with a full team visit, but also witnessing the exaltation of Andrew Pye of Tristram Lodge.

The three principals conducted the opening of the Chapter.

The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies then announced that John and his team were at the door, and then followed the procession into the Chapter room.

The First Principal welcomed John into the Chapter, and the team then took their places to witness the exaltation of Andrew.

The Officers of the Chapter conducted an excellent exaltation ceremony, a highlight of which was the Mystical Lecture delivered by Owen Guy-Fisher.

The Chapter was closed, and all retired to the festive board.

In response to his toast John thanked the Chapter for a wonderful evening and for the cheques to Durham Benevolence and TLC teddies.

He continued by congratulating the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal Dr Rakesh Bhalla on his appointment as Assistant Provincial Grand Master, together with John Watts as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the investiture taking place at Gateshead Masonic Hall to a sell-out lodge room.

The Grand Superintendent then went on to mention the Chapter Festival Month that is coming up in March and April, where one of the events ‘The Keystone Connection’ would see him, in his words, ‘Face Off’ with David Hanson the Provincial Grand Master of the Mark degree. Details of this and all the events happening can be found on the events page of the website.

The Provincial Team were thanked by John for turning out in full and supporting him.

Before the final toast of the evening, the Visiting Support Officer John Crombie Parker reminded everyone that the 25th of January was ‘Burns Night’, and even though Haggis was not served at the festive board, the evening could not pass without him delivering some ‘Rabbie Burns’.


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Provincial Grand Master’s / Grand Superintendent’s Christmas Message | Durham Freemasons

Dear Brethren and Companions,

It is with great thanks and appreciation that I look back over 2022 and my first six months as the head of the Freemasons of Durham, a role I carry out with immense pride.

Many thanks to you all for the support you have given to me and our team as we start to implement those changes which will take our Province forward.

Some of our Lodges and Chapters have felt the need to return their warrants this year with much sadness but also with great dignity. A task forced by many reasons including the recent pandemic, and the economic challenges we all now face.

Freemasonry I feel will persevere and will be stronger going forward. The Pro Grand Master has recently launched the strategy for the next 7 years of our organisation as we head towards 2030. A strategy I hope we all can endorse next year.

I’m proud of the Lodges and Chapters who have supported Durham Benevolence over the past year with donations increasing at a very generous rate. Your support is needed now more than ever as we try to help those in most need within our Province.

It is vital that we support our communities, our food banks, and our elderly. Durham Freemasons when called upon always step forward and it gives me a deep sense of pride when I see individuals volunteering, and Lodges and Chapters going ‘above and beyond’ to support the charities in our Province.

As 2023 approaches I’m very optimistic that we will tackle our challenges together, we will continue to support each other. Our charitable support I’m sure will still be needed more than ever as the economic uncertainty continues and working together will make us stronger together.

Andrea and I wish all Durham Freemasons and your families a very Merry Christmas and healthy and Happy New Year.

Best regards to you all,

John Thompson

Provincial Grand Master / Grand Superintendent

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