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Lucies Story

The Hartlepool Masonic Benevolent Association sponsored four pupils from the Dyke House Academy School to participate in the Tall Ships race from Den Helder Holland to Hartlepool, the HMBA followed the exploits of one of the trainees ‘’Lucie Marie Wylie’’ on what has turned out to be a life changing experience.

The trainees had an early morning start to their adventure, they all meet at Hartlepool Railway Station and were transferred by private coaches to Teesside Airport for the short flight to Holland, chaperones from Hartlepool Brough Council accompanied them throughout the journey until they met their shipmates and boarded their respective ships in Den Helder.

Lucie was fortunate to be assigned to the ‘’Class B’’ 24-metre Gaff rigged Pilot cutter the ‘’Jolie Brise’’ which also happens to be the last sailing vessel to carry the Royal Mail under sail, Lucie immediately settled in made herself at home.

Lucie has a very warm and outgoing personality and immediately stuck up a bond with her new ship mates and the crew of the Jolie Brise. The first mate and other crew members said to Sarah (Lucies mam) she was outstanding, even with her sea sickness she kept morale up during the storms and was singing and dancing. She was always happy and helpful, and she took extra shifts.

Sarah; (Lucies mam) added, All good things to hear. She actually wants to look into sailing and get involved, she’s loved it that much.

Evidently the storms were very bad and some of the ships that were due to race had to retire from the race and some never left the port of Den Helder.

Before the event took place Lucie had an interview with BBC television which was aired on Look North and on their return to Hartlepool she had a second interview with the BBC, her personality shining through on both occasions.

A comment from Sarah Wylie: (Lucies mam) Lucie has just got home some I’m sure there will be plenty more news and photos when Lucies washed and slept! She’s had the most amazing time. She battled sea sickness, bad weather and a head injury. But words can’t express how grateful we are to all of you for helping give her this opportunity.

From Lucie To the Freemasons of Hartlepool :-

To start off I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. I truly appreciate it.

I got to go on an amazing voyage with the most incredible people and I can say hand on heart it was by far the most magnificent adventure. Yes, it may have started a bit rough but that’s the North Sea for you! It was such a whirlwind of emotions; I may have been scared to start with, but I had an unbelievable time, and I wouldn’t change one single second.

As the days went by it became more and more exciting, and as the sun came out so did our smiles. We laughed, we danced, and we sang to great beats all whilst watching the sun rise and set.

We worked so hard on the days we could, as our ship struggled through the stormy nights. I remember like it was yesterday sitting on the deck watching over the edge as the waves crashed against the ship in total amazement that I was lucky enough to be chosen! Of course, I did also claim the ships title of the Best Chunder 😂.

On the second night there was a major storm. I had stood up from the couch when an 11-metre wave crashed into the side of the ship causing me to get thrown into the oven. Unfortunately, it resulted in a slight head wound. I later found out (after returning home) I actually suffered from a concussion. I’m glad at the time it wasn’t that bad and I was able to carry on, I’m happy I did. I climbed to the top of the mast the next day and feeling that salty wind brush across my face, I felt free, unstoppable, it was such a humbling moment and one I’m sure I will never forget.

The experience has ignited a new spark in me and has enabled me to broaden my horizons. I’m keen to learn more so I have recently joined the sea cadets. My dream was to one day become a surgeon.

However, after my adventure and meeting up with Hartlepool Sea Cadets I soon realised that being a Medical Officer in the Royal Marines was what I truly want to be. It unites all my passions and hopes for myself in the future! This trip taught me a lot more than just how to sail. It’s taught me that I’m brave and that my dreams will come true if I just keep going! It’s like my auntie always says.

“Never Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle”.

This is a quote I carry in my heart and remind myself of always! So again, I would like to express how truly grateful I am for all the support and this beautiful opportunity it truly has meant the absolute world to me! Lucie Marie Wylie Lucies ready to join in with Sea Cadet activities.

It’s obvious that this young lady has made the most of the opportunity and is credit to her family, Hartlepool and the Freemasons, even when Lucie returned home and attended hospital for her concussion she never complained and fortunately she has fully recovered. The Sea Cadets have also found a worthy member, good luck Lucie in all your endeavour’s.

Final word from Lucies mam Sarah.

😂 I’m extremely proud. She’s done amazing!

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Ron’s Double Celebration

On the evening of Thursday 1st July 2023, the brethren of St Helen’s Lodge met at the Masonic Hall Regent Street, Hartlepool. This was a regular meeting and an upbeat night with special importance with so many things to celebrate, to celebrate 65 years (Blue Sapphire Anniversary) in Craft and 60 Years (Diamond Anniversary) in Royal Arch for Ron Walker and with 65+ brethren in attendance including John Thompson, Provincial Grand Master accompanied by Deputation of Provincial officers

Once the lodge was opened and the deputation was welcomed into the room, John then asked Ron to join him in the east to talk about his life and masonic experiences.

Ron was initiated into St Helens on 1st May 1958 at the age of 27 and worked his way through all the various offices before Ron became Master of St Helens in 1969.

When John asked Ron about his masonic career, He talked about the time he received a call from the Provincial Secretary when at work, stating he had been put forward by Lord Barnard to become Treasurer for the United Grand Lodge of England (1-year role) and was given till the end of the call to decide to accept the role.

Ron was exulted into the Royal Arch in 1963 and Z in 1978 – later appointed to 1995

Ron has also been a member of the Mark for 60 years too. John then discussed Ron was an Accountant setting up his own company.

John then asked for Tom Gittins to read out the 65years Certificate before presenting it to Ron, thanking Ron for his continuous commitment to Freemasonry and then Ron replied with a small speech thanking everyone who attended.

John also said that Ron was a great example of a Freemason, always willing to help others, with previous roles in the lodge included Director of Ceremonies in Craft, Chapter, and the Mark Degrees, with 65 years of continuous service with St Helen’s lodge and 60 years with the Royal Arch. A true gentleman and an Elder statesman, -respected person in Hartlepool, Province of Durham, and England.

Tom Gittins then read out the 65years Certificate for the craft and then the 60-year Certificate from the Royal Arch before presenting it to Ron, thanking Ron for his continuous commitment to Freemasonry, and then Ron replied with a small speech thanking everyone who attended and how much he had enjoyed his time in Freemasonry.

The evening was finished off at the festive board with Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Quiche Salad with coleslaw and Strawberries and Cream followed by Cheese and Crackers.

John responded to his toast and told the brethren how great it was to attend at St Helen’s how it was a pleasure to be here tonight and how he had enjoyed the whole evening. John talked about the Great work Durham Benevolence and the MCF were doing. Visitors response was given by Nigel Fallow of Rowland Burdon Lodge.

Ron stood and thanked everyone and was overcome by tonight. He said he had had a wonderful life inside and outside freemasonry and support from a wonderful woman his wife and had worn every collar with honour.

Ron was given a standing Ovation from everyone for this.

Other toasts were given by Paul Swansbury and Tony Raine.

A great evening enjoyed by all – St Helen’s Lodge is well worth another visit.

Stronger Together

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Hartlepool Masonic Benevolent Association

Since the end of the pandemic, it’s been quite a busy 16 months for the HMBA from February 2022 to May 2023 the HMBA received excluding the Tall Ships appeal 26 applications for support funding.

In this period the HMBA have supported these applications with additional funding amounting to £3,060.00 which would have been a lot more had the funds been available. The Tall Ships appeal to send four pupils on the race from Holland to Hartlepool was very well supported with every Lodge in Hartlepool contributing plus a very large donation from Durham Benevolent Ltd. 

There were two lots of applications from Stranton Lodge for four food banks based in Hartlepool, in total, they received £1,400.00, (£350.00 each). There was also a separate application from Heugh Lodge for Hartlepool Food Network which received a further £375.00. These food banks do a sterling job and support a lot of families in Hartlepool who are struggling due to the current economic climate, well done to Poolie Time Bank, Hartlepool Baby Bank, Holy, Trinity Church and Hartlepool Food Network, keep up the good work.

Following a very successful Race night to which the families and friends of the Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group were invited, the Haven of Rest Lodge was able to donate £1,000.00 to the group and requested support from the HMBA to assist with the general day-to-day running costs. the HMBA supported this worthy cause with a donation of £500.00, a total amount of giving £1,500.00.

Heugh Lodge and Heortnesse Lodge both requested support for Catcote Parents and Friends to assist with arranging residential visits, events and equipment that School funds cannot provide. In total, they received £500.00.

The younger generation did not miss out on five applications from St Helens Lodge requesting support for some very worthy causes.

  • 1st Hartlepool Boys Brigade to cover day-to-day running costs and equipment. The total amount of giving was £320.00.
  • Headland Boxing Club to assist with purchasing of new training equipment, and their continued ability to provide training and support for Hartlepool youth. The total amount of giving was £600.00.
  • Seaton Cricket Club U17 Football to assist with day-to-day running costs and equipment. The total amount of giving £600.00,
  • Lab Gym to assist with their Christmas Toy appeal and support for Alice House Hospice. The total amount of giving was £200.00.
  • Hartlepool Headland ABC to provide training facilities and support for Hartlepool youth. The total amount of giving was £200.00.

The bulk of the other donations went to various necessary services that we all, unfortunately, may need at some time, where would we be without them.

  • . Support for the Appy Aven CIC Community Projects, a group aimed at providing multicultural community support and activities. The total amount of giving was £225.00
  • Harbour of Refuge Lodge. Support for the running costs of the Hartlepool citizen advice centre in line with their letter, a Total amount of giving £300.00.
  • Harbour of Refuge Lodge. Support for the running costs of the Hartlepool Town Pastors (Street Angels). The total amount of giving was £300.00.
  • Heugh Lodge. Request support towards the general running costs of the RNLI Hartlepool station, a Total amount of giving £150.00.
  • Heugh Lodge. Request support towards the general running costs of the Alice House Hospice. The total amount of giving £150.00.
  • Clarence Lodge. Request support towards the general running costs of the ‘’Stray Aid’, a group aimed at saving the lives of stray animals. The total amount of giving £150.00.
  • St Helens Lodge. Request support for the Hartlepool MS group to assist with running costs.

The total amount of giving was £200.00.

  • Request support for Lily Annes Cafe for their continued supply of ‘food and requisites’ to the needy of Hartlepool. The total amount of giving £200.00.

The HMBA is run by representatives from each Hartlepool-based Lodge, with 100% of all monies received being distributed to charities or worthy causes in Hartlepool. If you want to make a donation or have any spare cash that the HMBA can use please contact your HMBA representative as listed below.

Clarence Lodge No2462.                                                    Bill Florentine. Secretary.

Connaught Lodge No 2961.                                                Lewis Ayers. Treasurer.

Harte Lodge No 4217.                                                        Duncan Maw. Chairman.

Haven of Rest Lodge No 4350.                                          Brian Footitt.

Heortnesse Lodge No 4639.                                              Kevin Godfrey.

Heugh Lodge No 7773.                                                      Paul Fryer.

Stranton Lodge No 1862.                                                   Ian Hewetson.

Strathearn Lodge No 4965.                                                Kris Middleton.

St Helens Lodge No 531.                                                   Peter Richardson / Paul Manley.   

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A Sign of the Times to Come | Durham Freemasons

When the TLC Teddies were relaunched throughout the Province five years ago a core part of our strategy was to build a close relationship with the many Hospitals that received them and their teams working in the Children’s Accident and Emergency.

It was hoped that over the years the hospital teams would recognise the support given by Durham Freemasons by the provision of Teddies to calm children in distress. We have so far provided over 113,000 of those little bears throughout the Province of Durham.

University Hospital of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have received over 13,000 distraction Teddies. They have become a core part of the Children’s Accident and Emergency Teams procedure for dealing with children in distress.

The Hospital were wishing to show their appreciation for the generosity of local Freemasons and invited The Provincial Grand Master John Paul Thompson, TLC Coordinator Duncan Maw and local Ambassador Mark Davies to attend the installation of the first plaque in the Province acknowledging our support.  It is now prominently displayed at the A & E Reception desk as can be seen in the photographs.

After the plaque was put in place, Nicola Jones, one of the units Paediatric HCA’s, also went onto the hospitals social media feed to highlight the plaque and to acknowledge the support given by local freemasons.

As John Thompson stated, the provision of the teddies and our close working relationship with local hospitals is a shining example of how local Freemasons can provide support and be recognised as a force for good in our local communities. I hope that we will see more plaques displayed in our local hospitals acknowledging our involvement.

Local TLC Ambassador Mark Davies remarked anyone who has had a young family member receive one of these little bears at a time of distress will instantly recognise how valuable they are and how well thought of by the recipients. The time given by the team at UHNTAND today clearly shows how valued the Teddies are.

TLC Coordinator Duncan Maw stated it costs approximately £15,000 per year to supply Teddies throughout the Province and we would like to thank all the Brethren for their ongoing generosity. He also expressed his gratitude to the TLC team for their continued hard work in ensuring the A&E’s throughout the Province are well stocked with supplies of the TLC Teddies.

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Durham Freemasons Sponsor Tall Ships Trainees | Durham Freemasons

Durham Freemasons Sponsor Tall Ships Trainees

The Hartlepool Masonic Benevolent Association (HMBA) with support from Hartlepool Freemasons and the Durham Benevolence Charity have sponsored four pupils from the Dyke House Academy School Hartlepool to take part in a 7-night voyage of discovery from Den Helder, Holland, home port of the fleet of the Royal Dutch to Hartlepool Marina.

The local Freemasons led by Bill Florentine as part of their continued community engagement recently presented the pupils with a donation of £4,000 allowing them to take part in the voyage of a lifetime when they embark experience aboard three magnificent sailing vessels, Jolie Brise, the Wilde Swan and the Golden Leeuw.

The HMBA is keen to engage with the Hartlepool community and support local activities.

The team building Event will see the trainees becoming integral members of the team during the race and taking part in Crew Activities, the Crew Parade, Prize Giving and Crew Party when they reach the finish line on the 8th-9th July in Hartlepool alongside a fleet of over 30 ships, where a warm Northeast welcome awaits them and 1000’s of people as they join in and celebrate at one of the largest FREE maritime events in the UK.

Four days of atmospheric celebrations will transform Hartlepool’s Waterfront into a spectacular display of music, art, dance, and song and of course, there are the Ships!

Photo 1 (Left to Right) Lucie Marie Wylie, Kaci-Mai Good, Jack Griffiths (Teacher) Imogen Davies and  Callum Bromley.

Photo 2  Pupils with representatives of the HMBA, at the rear (Left to Right) Steve Mckie, WBro Bill Florentine (HMBA Secretary, Peter Richardson (HMBA Trustee) and Derek Muirhead.


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One and a half century celebration | Durham Freemasons

On the 21 st March the Grand Superintendent, John Thompson, had the pleasure of leading the provincial team to Fawcett chapter, who meet at the Masonic Hall at Raby Road in Hartlepool.  The companions of Fawcett chapter and their many visitors were gathered to celebrate 150 years since the chapter was consecrated.  John and the provincial team were warmly welcomed by the 3 principles of the chapter, after which all of the companions were enthralled with a very detailed history and account of Fawcett chapter from the point of being founded to date, co-presented by Paul Manley and Paul Fryer.  At the conclusion the companions showed their appreciation in a manner usual amongst Royal Arch Masons.  During the risings John further conveyed his appreciation of the Fawcett chapter history and highlighted that a tremendous amount of work had clearly gone into the preparation as well as pointing out that some of the names mentioned who were members in the early parts of the history are well known and prominent names to people from Hartlepool; something to be proud of.  John was then presented with a cheque for £764 from the chapter, which represents the chapter number, for masonic charities.

The night continued in celebration where the companions enjoyed conversation and a delicious meal at the festive board.  Before the night concluded the companions enjoyed a huge raffle consisting of many prizes as well as an auction for a cricket bat which was signed by all of the members of the Durham cricket team.  The raffle and auction raised a combined sum of £960 and the companions retired with arms full of prizes including Brian Bullock who won the auction for the cricket bat.

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Peter Meadows 50 years And A Night To Remember | Durham Freemasons

A quite unique evening in Hartlepool saw Peter Meadows not only awarded his 50 years continuous service to the Freemasonry Award from AsstPGM Andrew Moule, but an impromptu  field promotion to the Rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, from the PGM John Paul Thompson.

Peter responded to the Awards with a humorous response as he  detailed his life experience in freemasonry, dating back to his childhood when his late father would arrive home from Clarence meetings. Following in his fathers footsteps he became he became a technology teacher or as he more fondly described a ‘Wood and Metal’ work teacher as he looked around pointed out a number of his former students within the Lodge room.

His enthusiasm for freemasonry was epitomised in his reflections of days gone by, coupled with a quite remarkable his clear vision for its future.

To add to an already tremendous evening, Lincolnshire Freemason Chris Jones having arrived in Durham on Thursday 26th January on his Round Great Britain walk in Aid of the Lincs2025 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation, was welcomed as a guest of Clarence Lodge 2462.

Chris was absolutely, overwhelmed to receive a donation for the sum of £1000 from Durham Benevolence and further donations of £100 from St Helens Lodge, £100 from Clarence Lodge, £200 from Harte Lodge, £100 from Strathearn Lodge and a personal donation of £120.

You can support Chris here…/e0151-lincolnshire-2025…

At the festive board Peter was presented with a Gold Full Hunter Pocket Watch from the Worshipful Master Steve McKie on behalf of the lodge,  in accepting the gift Peter stated he would treasure the evening the magnificent watch forever, and in conclusion stated that on his passing his wish was to donate it to Clarence Lodge,  to be passed on from  generation to generation in perpetuity..

Peter is truly shining example to all, and an inspiration to the younger membership within the Clarence Lodge, we congratulate him on his promotion and may he have many happy and healthy years ahead to enjoy it.


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Clarence Chapter Centenary Celebration | Durham Freemasons

On the evening of Tuesday 20 th December 2022, the companions of Clarence Chapter assembled at Hartlepool Masonic Hall in Raby Road. This special meeting was of immense importance, the celebration of 100 years of existence 1922-2022 with 55+ companions in attendance.

This evening started with a Deputation team visit led by the Provincial Grand Superintendent John Thompson. There was also a good turnout of acting officers joining him, who were warmly welcomed into the Chapter Room.

Lewis Ayers gave an abridged reading of the minutes from the Chapters first ever-meeting held on 31st March 1922. Lewis then read out a brief 100-year history (link below) of the chapter with a full version souvenir booklet available to everyone attending on the night. Bill Florentine, who was unable to attend, had worked hard to put the booklet and history together.

History of the Chapter

Doug Lister from Rowland Burdon Chapter read out the Chapter Centenary Warrant before handing over the warrant to John Thompson. John then spoke about how it was a pleasure to attend the chapter on this their Centenary Celebration, before presenting the warrant to Bill Abbott.

John then presented each subscribing member of the chapter a Centenary Jewel.

Paul Hopper then announced that it was a real privilege and pleasure to be present to dedicate a storage chest for the Chapter banners, which has been donated by Peter Meadows. Paul asked everyone to rise before reading out a dedication (link below) for this chest for the use of Clarence Chapter.

Dedication of the chest

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 incredibly special Centenary 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.

John praised all the wonderful work that Bill Florentine had done to make the night so special and successful and thanked the chapter for the £200 cheque they had presented to him for Durham Benevolence, emphasising the magnificent work that Durham Benevolence do, giving out a substantial amount to causes in need of support.

John praised Trevor Sherwood for the splendid work he was doing as editor of the successful Insight email, which is being sent out to every member. In conclusion John wished everyone a Wonderful Christmas.

Gary Elgie replied on behalf of the Provincial deputation, paying special credit to the founder members of the chapter who, as was the case one hundred years ago, went about their work without the modern aid of emails and mobile phones to assist them.

Ian Welford proposed the toast to the visitors, to which Ian Groves replied. Ian’s Great Grandfather Matthew Henry Groves was one of the founding members of the Chapter back in 1922 and he expressed his immense pride in being able to celebrate with everyone tonight.

All enjoyed an excellent and entertaining evening.

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Lest we Forget | Durham Freemasons

The Freemasons of Durham turned out in large numbers to pay their respects in the many organized parades and marches throughout the province. Here is a selection of photos from those submitted and many more will be added to the Provincial Flickr page later.

More photos to view here

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Double celebration at The Haven of Rest | Durham Freemasons

Friday the 4th of November was a very special evening for the members of The Haven of Rest lodge (#4350), who meet at Raby Road in Hartlepool.  Having been consecrated 100 years ago, the members and visitors gathered from near and far to celebrate the lodge centenary.  The Provincial Team, which was led by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham, were warmly welcomed by the Worshipful Master, Stephen Little, and the brethren of the lodge.

Brian Footitt presented a very interesting talk on the History of the lodge from the point of being consecrated to present date.  Haven of Rest being the daughter lodge of Harbour of Refuge was founded in 1922 with 20 founder members.  For the first 8 years of the lodge history 8 of the founder members occupied the chair of King Solomon.  It was very clear that Brian had invested a lot of time and effort in producing the history of the lodge and all in attendance showed their appreciation in a manner usual among masons.

The centenary warrant was presented to Stephen Little, on behalf of the lodge, by Michael Graham.  It was highlighted that Dennis Carter, lodge secretary, had skilfully crafted by hand the frame and surround for the centenary warrant which was in fact in keeping with the surround which houses the original lodge warrant.  Stephen expressed his gratitude on behalf of the entirety of the lodge to Dennis for his special contribution.

Celebration continued when the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Watts, took to the floor and presented John Henry Carr with a long service award for 50 years of continuous membership and service to freemasonry and the Province of Durham.  John was initiated into the lodge on the 3rd of November 1972 at 35 years of age and became Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1981.  John has been and continues to be a very active freemason which was very clear when the Assistant Provincial Grand Master detailed numerous events and activities that spelled out John’s masonic career spanning 50 years.  The 50-year certificate was read out by the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Paul Swansbury, before it was presented to John to take home.

A cheque for £200 was presented by Stephen, on behalf of the lodge, to Michael towards Durham Benevolence.

Downstairs everyone enjoyed a delicious meal and each other’s company at the festive board before the night concluded.  Paul also paid thanks on behalf of everyone in attendance to all of the members who had been involved in the planning of the evening, in which it was very evident that a lot of time and effort had been invested well in advance.

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