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Durham At Its Best AGM 2024

Saturday 22nd June 2024 saw the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham hosted at The Fed Gateshead.

The Provincial Grand Stewards, distinguished by their maroon regalia were on hand to a with military precision, and as we have become accustomed with a warm welcome and a smile greeting brethren on their arrival at the venue.

As the final rehearsals and preparations were taking place a throng of the early arrivals took the opportunity to chat and renew friendships within the various robing and changing rooms, before taking their seats in Provincial Grand Lodge.

Prior to the normal ceremonial of the Annual General Meeting our Cornerstone Light Blues attended a roll call to be welcomed to the Annual Meeting and invested with the newly designed lapel badges by the Provincial Grand Master.

The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Martin Rankin, then called the brethren to order to receive the various processions of Distinguished Guests, Past Rulers and Heads of Orders into the meeting, the final procession  being the acting Officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham leading the Provincial Grand Master, John Paul Thompson through the doors to some 700 Durham Freemasons in attendance and to a trumpet fanfare, entitled appropriately `Stronger Together’ commissioned by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John David Watts and written and performed by Hebburn Lodges Master Mason Luis Schmidt Master Mason.

At the banquet the Deputy Provincial Grand Masters toasted the Provincial Grand Master, and presented him with a framed commemorative copy of the Stronger Together score signed by the acting Provincial Officers of the year.

Stronger Together Full Score : Click Here

With Provincial Grand Lodge opened in due form, apologies and minutes of the 2023 Annual Meeting confirmed it was time for all present to remember in Memoriam the 114 brethren we lost since our last meeting in June 2024.

After the Roll Call of Acting Provincial Grand Lodge Officers and Lodges, the Provincial Grand Master welcomed the brethren, his Distinguished Guests, and Heads of Other Companion Orders.

With the Provincial Grand Treasurer’s Statement of Accounts considered and accepted by the Brethren present and the Treasurer re-elected for another 12 months along with the accountants, it was time to perform the most important and pleasurable part of the day, to appoint, invest and promote those brethren receiving honours.

A Provincial Appointment is given in recognition of a Brother’s dedication and commitment over a sustained number of years, during which time he has shown the prerequisite attributes to be considered for a Provincial first appointment. The Honour rewards him not only for his service to Freemasonry to date, but in an expectation of continued support to the wider Province in future.

After the Principal Officers had been re-appointed and this year’s Provincial Grand Wardens had been individually Appointed, Invested, and placed in the West and South respectively, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies called upon the Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies, aided by the Provincial Stewards to take post.

The Stewards then expertly collected each recipient, escorting them before the Provincial Grand Master to be Invested, receiving their certificate of appointment from the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and finally taken to their seat and acknowledged with the customary court bow, bursting with pride.

First Appointment and Promotions: Click Here

To Meet The Wardens: Click here

A collection was then taken in aid of Durham Freemasons Charity where a fabulous amount of £4285.00 inclusive of Gift Aid.

John then delivered his address:

“Thank you all for your patience on this busy and warm morning”.

In congratulating the brethren whom he had appointed and invested, John said that each honour was the result of careful consideration and recognition for their deserving contribution. He hoped they had enjoyed the proceedings and that they would continue to support their Lodges, Masonic Halls, and Province with the same enthusiasm and dedication which had culminated in their respective appointments.

Stating they should “Embrace and enjoy the new responsibilities that come with these honours”.

John then introduced to Provincial Grand Lodge those brethren he had the pleasure of supporting in April on receiving appointments to Grand Rank, who were afforded rapturous applause, going on to recognise senior members of the team who were retiring and had given exceptional service to our Province……….

To read the full address delivered by the Provincial Grand Master Click Here

There being no further business from the Secretary John spoke of the outstanding service to freemasonry and directed the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to bring The Provincial Grand Tyler, WBro George Field to the dais, where he was promoted to Past Senior Grand Warden in recognition of his 39 years exemplary service to freemasonry followed by loud acclamation.

As the brethren settled John further acknowledged the retiring Provincial Grand Secretary, Thomas Fred Gittins, PJGD thanking him on behalf of everyone present and wishing him well for the future. The Provincial Grand Director of ceremonies was then directed to escort Tom to the dais where he was awarded and presented with the Provincial Grand Masters Certificate of Service to Freemasonry, stating that “His outstanding contributions have significantly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of our organisation, reflecting the highest standards of Freemasonry” again leading to a crescendo of loud applause,

Provincial Grand Lodge was then closed in due form which was followed by the first 2 verses of the National Anthem, before the processions that had so ceremoniously entered the venue at the start of the meeting, processed out.

A hive of activity soon followed as the Provincial Stewards and the catering staff went about transforming the venue into a banquet hall for 420 people. The venue looked magnificent and full to capacity for all to enjoy and the meal was duly served by the catering staff to the happy gathering to round off a fabulous day enjoyed by all.

Well done to everyone who made the day such a success, and congratulations to those who received a Provincial Appointment.

Stronger Together

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