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Beer And Cider Festival 2024

Chester-le-Street Masonic Centre are holding their annual beer festival from Thursday 27 June to Sunday 30 June with 16 beers and 8 ciders on sale over a 4 day weekend.

The Festival has become an annual event since the first one was held in 2017 – to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Grand Lodge. Since then it has become a fixture in the calendar for Freemasons and beer and cider lovers alike – and has even been known to have the PGM helping to serve beer and sweep the floor on occasions.

This years beers and ciders include such favourites as Whisky Cask Cider, Holy Island Bitter and Bohemian Brown  with advance tickets, at a discounted rate which can be bought from https://buytickets.at/clsmasoniccentre/1200546

Food is also available from Friday to Sunday. Why not come along for one of the highlights of the Chester-le-Street Masonic year?

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Today Durham Freemasons commemorate 80 years since D-Day

As the sun sets on D-Day generation, it’s risen again on Normandy beaches where soldiers fought and died 80 years ago. 

“Today, we gather to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a momentous day in history that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. June 6, 1944, brave soldiers from allied nations stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, embarking on a mission that would forever change the course of history. The coordinated efforts of the Army, Air Force, and Navy were crucial in executing Operation Overlord, showcasing unparalleled courage and determination in the face of immense adversity.

We, the Freemasons of Durham, stand in solemn remembrance of the courage, sacrifice, and unwavering determination displayed by those who participated in this campaign. Their bravery under the most harrowing conditions exemplifies the highest virtues of service and brotherhood—values that we, as Freemasons, hold dear.

As we honour the memory of those who fought and fell, we must also reflect on the lessons their sacrifice imparts to us today. The unity, resilience, and collaboration that defined the D-Day landings are as vital now as they were eighty years ago. It is our duty to ensure that these principles continue to guide us in our endeavours, fostering a world where peace, freedom, and justice prevail.

Let us also pay tribute to the countless individuals who supported the war effort on the home front. Their dedication and hard work were instrumental in securing the success of the operation and ultimately, the victory that followed.

Today, we remember not just the events of that fateful day, but the spirit of camaraderie and the relentless pursuit of a better future that it symbolizes. Let us commit ourselves to living out these ideals in our daily lives, honouring the legacy of the heroes of D-Day through our actions and our service to humanity.

In closing, let us remember those who gave their lives for the freedoms we cherish today. May their memory inspire us to strive for a world of respect, integrity, friendship and service”

Thank you.

Stronger Together

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TLC Nostalgic Themed Social

The Teddies had a brilliant Saturday night, when Shildon Masonic Hall played hosts to a Durham TLC Social Night with a Nostalgia theme.
Over 85 people attended, to be entertained by a live band “The Guys” who kindly supported the event by wavering their fee.

The catering also had a nostalgic theme with a choice of chicken or scampi and chips in a basket!!!

The event was a tremendous success with £1,800.00 in total being raised to support the fabulous work of the Durham TLC team providing small teddy bears, known as distraction teddies, to Accident and Emergency departments or Urgent Care Units across the Province of Durham. These are used by medical professionals, with distressed children, to calm them and so speed up the diagnosis of their illness and necessary treatment.

The Teddies were pleased to see “Big Ted” aka Kevin Carter taking a rare night off to enjoy Shildon Masonic Halls social evening supporting Durham TLC.
Kevin’s support from the very beginning has been unwavering, and for that the Team can’t thank him and his wife Julie enough.

A staggering £271 was raised by naming the TLC Bear, which was then further auctioned by the winner to add to the amount raised.

Steven Hicks of Restoration Lodge No.111 presented a cheque for £325 to support our new comfort bear initiative hoping to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families suffering, or dealing with Alzheimer’s, Dementia within our local community.

The money was raised by Steven who completed a sponsored slim. It is fair to say Steven looks great and we thank him for his effort and generous contribution.

The organization of the event was managed by W.Bro John Deamer and his wife Lyn, supported by Mark Davies and the TLC team. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master W.Bro Andrew Foster hot footed it back from the AGM of Yorks North and East Ridings to support the event and receive the cheque from John and Mark. What a wonderful event for such a brilliant Masonic initiative, thankyou to everyone who supported this very special night.

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Lambton Lodge Celebrates 200th Anniversary

Lambton Lodge celebrated its 200th Anniversary on Friday 26th April, at Durham Masonic Hall.

The Lodge was constituted on the 20th April 1824 as a Private Lodge for John George Lambton and his close friends – the Grand Master, HRH Duke of Sussex being its first member. Following HRH first official visit to the Province and the decision to form Lambton Lodge, the Grand Master gave his approval and permission to wear a special medal of distinction to mark the occasion.

The ProvGM, John Paul Thompson and a delegation of 15 provincial officers were among the 92 Brethren who met to celebrate the 200th Anniversary.  On this special occasion the ProvGM wore the magnificent gold and diamond ProvGM jewel presented in 1834, to John George Lambton by eight Durham Lodges, including Lambton Lodge.

The first Minutes of the lodge were read by the Secretary, WBro Stan Fitches.

During the meeting a cheque for £2,000.00 was presented to the ProvGM to be donated to the 2032 Festival. 

E Comp Adam Lamb on behalf of the Companions of Lambton Royal Arch Chapter, presented two magnificent Wardens Columns to mark the 200th anniversary  and  WBro Leonard Barrett presented a new Minute book to mark his 70th anniversary as a Freemason.

Bro James Beedle presented a cheque for £379.00 to be given to The Durham Freemasons Charity being the amount donated at his grandfather’s funeral.

The meeting was concluded by WBro Tom Coulson who gave a very interesting and informative address  entitled “Lambton”.

Every member in attendance was presented with a book entitled The History of Lambton Lodge, written  by WBro Tom Coulson in three parts, John George Lambton – the Man:  The story of Lambton Lodge: and the reason why members wear the Royal Sussex Medal.   

Later at the Festive Board a six course meal was served, including Tripe, based on the  Lodge’s 150 anniversary  menu in 1974.

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Grand Rank Conferred

Brethren Appointed and Invested in Grand Rank

Thursday 25th April saw the turn of of our Durham Companions who were to receive First Appointments to and Promotions in Supreme Grand Chapter congregate within the hallowed halls of Great Queen Street, the day began for most with an early train journey from the Northeast to the capital in support of friends and colleagues to appointed and Invested on this occasion by The Most Excellent Pro First Grand Principal Jonathan Spence, which again was undertaken with the Grand Temple at maximum occupancy.

Following the investitures the Appointees supported by the Provincial Grand Master and members of the Executive retired to enjoy a sumptuous banquet at the historic London Guildhall in the Moorgate area of the City, central to the City’s development since the Romans founded Londinium 2000 years ago. Originally the site of London’s amphitheatre to enjoy (built AD 70), 

Brethren relaxing at the Guildhall Banquet Click Here

Craft Flickr Images to be added soon

We congratulate them on their preferment and wish them the best of health and happiness to enjoy and perform their new duties.

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

David John Atkinson–Norman Lodge No 1134

To Read more about David click here

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

Roderick Andrew Scott– Quest Lodge No7102

To Read more about Rod click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

David Dorwood – The Lodge of Concord No6859

To Read more about David click here

Promoted to Senior Grand Deacon

Dr Rakesh Bhalla – Mowbray Lodge No5373

To Read more about Rak click here

Promoted to Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

Martin Rankin – Eslington Lodge No4623

To Read more about Martin click here

Promoted to Past Grand Sword Bearer

John David Watts – St Aidan Lodge No4080

To read more about John click here

Promoted to Past Grand Junior Deacon

Thomas Fred Gittins – Tees Lodge No 509

To read more about Tom click here


Thursday 25th April saw the turn of our Durham Companions who were to receive First Appointments to and Promotions in Supreme Grand Chapter congregate within the hallowed halls of Great Queen Street, the day began for most with an early train journey from the Northeast to the capital in support of friends and colleagues to appointed and Invested on this occasion by The Most Excellent Pro First Grand Principal Jonathan Spence, which again was undertaken with the Grand Temple at maximum occupancy.

Following the investitures the Appointees supported by The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and members of the Executive retired to celebrate at the adjacent Grand Connaught Rooms, one of the most unique and prestigious banqueting halls in in the City, named the Connaught Rooms after the Grand Master, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

We congratulate them on their preferment and wish them the best of health and happiness to enjoy and perform their new duties.

Find out more about the Royal Arch ⬇️https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-us/royal-arch

Chapter Flickr Images to be added soon

Stronger Together

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Stewart Kunzmann Bell Willington Chapter No. 4028

To Read more about Stewart click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Nigel Fallow – Rowland Burdon Chapter No 3960

To Read more about Nigel click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Peter Garland Wilkie – City Chapter No. 3568

To Read more about Peter click here

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Grand Soj

Stan Fitches MBE – Lambton Chapter No. 375

To Read more about Stan click here

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Ugle 2023-2024 Annual Report

The United Grand Lodge of England are thrilled to share that our 2023-2024 Annual Report is now available!📊

Explore our detailed insights, accomplishments, and future goals outlined in the report while you learn more about the progress over the past year 👊📈

Read the full report: https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-us/annual-reports

Stronger Together

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A ‘Special’ and ‘Historic’ day for Durham Freemasons 

Over one hundred and forty attendees took their places at Gateshead Masonic Hall on Saturday for the Consecration of Anglers Lodge No.10049.

The Provincial Grand Master and Consecrating Officer, John Paul Thompson, accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John David Watts, Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Clinton Elliot Leeks, Andrew Charles Moule and Dr Rakesh Bhalla, led an impressive Consecration team.

Clinton Leeks opened the lodge in the three degrees, allowing the Provincial Grand Master to take over proceedings and addressing the Brethren on the object of the Meeting.

John explained that this occasions’ purpose was to Consecrate and Constitute a new Lodge, giving a brief history of events leading to this day.

In 2017 the Durham Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity was formed by a small group of Freemasons from around the Province. The Charity brought an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs by running fishing events. Participants, mainly children, came from special needs schools and centres or who had suffered personal trauma and importantly, enabling the Masonic volunteers to reach out and work closely in the community and hopefully to ‘Catch a Smile’ along the way! 

From this background grew a significant ‘ esprit de corps ‘ among those like-minded Brethren who made up the Branch membership and bonds of friendship and respect soon developed.

Members began to visit each other’s Lodges and became involved in delivering presentations promoting the work of the Charity.

Social evenings were arranged to fund events and it wasn’t long before someone postulated the idea of creating a Masonic Lodge, based on the theme of the Fishing Charity. The concept was received with tremendous support and enthusiasm and from that ‘embryo’ of an idea, The Anglers Lodge No.10049 was born.

PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTERS ADRESS Read Here

John then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary, Tom Gittins, to state the wishes of the brethren, and to Read the Warrant.

The Provincial Grand Chaplain, Julian Ward, delivered an Oration on the Nature and Principals of our Institution. Immediately after, John Thompson, then continued with the Consecrating ceremony before allowing a presentation of the lodges Bible, by Jonathan Stapley on behalf of the family of the late, Andrew Watson, for which there wasn’t a dry eye in the lodge.

ORATION – Anglers Lodge Consecration

Immediately after, the Installing Officer, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John David Watts stood, to proceed with the Installation of the Master designate, David Lawrence Georgeson Grey. Who finally invested his officers and ‘smashed’ closing the Lodge…. Those who were there will know!

After photographs, the Consecration Team and all the visitors sat down for a fish themed festive board, where they were served, Fisherman’s Pie followed by Angler’s Trifle then finished off with cheese and biscuits.

On the toast to The Provincial Grand Master, John Thompson replied by saying it had been such a special day for Durham Freemasons and for him personally as The Consecrating Officer to consecrate The Anglers Lodge No.10049, the first in 10years for the Province. Best wishes to all the founders as their take this lodge forward.

The next toast was to the Anglers Lodge, proposed by Richard Davison, the Provincial Senior Warden. The response by the province’s latest Master, David Grey saying, what a super day! It would be hard to imagine how it could have been better really. What a fantastic job, the Provincial Grand Master did as Consecrating Officer.

The Provincial Team were superb and everything in the ceremony seemed to go according to plan – even the drill! 

There is such a feeling of pride when it’s all come together, and 18 months of hard work has become a reality and very worthwhile! Well done everyone. We have inherited a treasure so let’s enjoy it. We seem to have several potentials, adjoining members, and candidates in the pipeline. The raffle on the day raised the fantastic sum of £840, which will launch the lodges Almoner and Charities funds,all very healthy!

A great start for this new specialist lodge and a historic occasion for Durham Freemasons. Best wishes to all the founders as they take this lodge forward.

Stronger Together

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Dragons Den – Durham Freemasons in Association with Princes Trust

Provincial Crest

Hundreds of young people looking to build new skills will be given a push in the right direction thanks to a £75,000 grant from Durham Freemasons.

The Norman Jackson Bequest fund has committed a massive £50,000 to support community projects delivered across the region by youngsters taking part in The Prince’s Trust’s Team programme, with a further £25,000 donated to the work of the national charity.

“To commemorate Prince Charles turning 75, in his coronation year, we wanted to give a significant grant to a charity or charities connected to the King,” said John Watts, Deputy Provincial Grand Master with Durham Freemasons.

“When we heard about the projects being carried out locally across our province area by those undertaking The Prince’s Trust Team programme, it seemed the perfect fit.”

The 12-week personal development course offers young people, aged 16 to 25, the chance to develop new skills by taking part in a variety of activities and tasks, including a two-week community project.

By working together, with a focus on helping others, Team members brush up on essential skills such as teamwork, confidence and leadership.

Prince’s Trust Teams are held in 13 locations across the Durham Freemasons’ jurisdiction, three times a year, including Stockton, Darlington and Bishop Auckland Teams, delivered by Education Training Collective (Etc.).  The grant will now fund community projects for all 13 Teams for the next two years. 

Volunteers from the Freemasons also committed their time and expertise to act as “dragons” for the young people as they pitch for funding in “Dragons’ Den” style presentations.

With the first round of projects off the ground, the Etc. Prince’s Trust Stockton Team created a play area in the garden at Thornaby Methodist Church.  Stockton Team leader, Sarah Sherriff, said: “It was a big job as the area was so overgrown, but it made a big difference to the church and the community groups that use it.”

Successfully pitching for £657 from the Durham Freemasons’ fund Sarah said: “The team were nervous at first, but they had done their research and so once they got into it, they relaxed and did really well.

“Raising funds for the community project is a struggle these days, so to have this funding helps massively and for the young people it helps with their confidence and public speaking, which is great experience.”

Team member Tamzin Walder, 23, from Stockton, said: “We were so grateful for the support we received.  To see the finished garden and the amount of work we had put in as a team was breath-taking.”

Other Team projects delivered so far include masonry work carried out on the playground at Timothy Hackworth Primary School in Shildon, a refresh of the sensory room for New Steps Care in the Community in Chester-le-Street, redecorating the Tanfield Football Club changing rooms, and building goat pens and chicken coops at Bill Quay Farm in South Shields.

The Etc’s Head of Department for The Prince’s Trust, Gillian Hutchinson, said: “This funding will make a huge difference to Teams delivered across the wider area.  Having financial backing means our young people can make a real difference to their communities. But, beyond that, to have Durham Freemasons engaging with our Team members, through the Dragons’ Den presentations, listening to their plans and offering advice and support, is invaluable.”

The Freemasons’ Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John, said: “What we have experienced so far in our first round of funding is wonderful.  Not only do we get to support a great charity, but we get to see and engage with the young people involved firsthand, and then the projects they deliver benefit the wider community.

“It has been amazing to see the excitement of the young people as they successfully pitch their community projects to us, and then, coming back to see the projects complete, we can see the change in the young people with the growth of their self-belief and self-confidence.

“Some of our members have come back from the “Dragons’ Den” presentations and said, this is one of the most meaningful things they have been able to do as Freemasons.”

Durham Masonic Charitable Foundation contacted Prince’s Trust delivery staff in the North-East with a desire to support the charity and mark the King’s Coronation year. King Charles III established the Prince’s Trust in 1976 with a desire to support young people from all backgrounds. 2023 also marked the King’s 75th birthday.

During a meeting with members of Durham Benevolence at the Prince’s Trust, Cheryl’s Trust Centre we discussed some very practical funding support which the foundation could provide to Prince’s Trust Teams in their catchment area. – The Dragon’s Den Funding for Community Projects on Team Programme.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation were kind enough to donate a total of £75,000 to the work of the Prince’s Trust in this, the Coronation year! This is comprised of a £25,000 donation to the Prince’s Trust Charity and a further £50,000 to be used over 2 years for the support of community projects that young people across the region will deliver as part of their Team programme.

The members of Durham Freemasons have become our new Dragons – meeting young people, supporting their project plans and funding the delivery of worthwhile projects across the region.

Stronger Together

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The Consecration of Anglers Lodge

Places are now available for those wishing to attend and dine.

Reservations will close at 6pm prompt on 16th March 2024,

(these MUST be booked and paid for in advance) Any remaining places for General admission without dining will be released after 16th March.

For Tickets Go To: https://www.tickettailor.com/…/provincialgrandlodgeofdu…

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