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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.

Stronger Together

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The Ravensworth Golf Competition, Presentation to Winners

On Tuesday the 5th of December at St Cuthbert’s Lodge No. 3417, Archer Street in Darlington, W Bro. Bill Baty and W Bro Stephen Willis attended the Lodge’s Christmas Meeting to officially present the Ravensworth Golf Trophy to the Winning Pair.

The Organising Committee of this very old and prestigious Golf Competition comprises the above two Brethren together with Alan Jenkins, Craig Pattison and Martin Rankin, who have worked tirelessly to re-establish this event in the Durham Masonic Social Calendar. Indeed our Provincial Grand Master, Rt WBro. John Paul Thompson, endorsed it with his attendance on the day itself.

The original trophy resides in the Provincial Museum/Office and is a magnificent piece of silverware. The trophy was introduced in 1921 by the Hon Gerald Wellesley Liddell, later the 6th Baron Ravensworth who was our Provincial Grand Master from 1919 until 1932. He wanted to create an event during his tenure as the Provincial Grand Master of Durham and to give the Brethren of the Province of Durham a prestigious Golf Tournament to be proud of and to participate in.

The original trophy is now replaced by a wonderful engraved Crystal Bowl which the Lodge keeps for one year. There are also individual trophies for the winners together with golf related prizes.

In July 2023 the Tournament was played at Roseberry Grange Golf Club and the Club and its Members embraced our event magnificently and made us truly welcome. Being the height of Summer, the course was in excellent condition and 64 golfers took to the Greens to challenge it.

The Winners on the day were W Bro. Andrew Peter Fall Foster and Bro. Martin Dunstone, of St. Cuthbert’s Lodge No. 3417 with a tremendous Stableford Score of 47 Points. Incidentally, Andrew and Martin were repeating their success in this Competition in 2021.

Bill and Stephen attended St Catherine’s Lodge and made the ‘Official Presentation’ to them and at the same time, thanked them and their Lodge for their continued support. The Worshipful Master, W Bro. Mark A. Philbin and the Lodge Members made them most welcome and they enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Dinner in good company, followed by their tremendous Christmas raffle, toasts and replies. Congratulations were extended to Bro. Mark P. Bradbury, Senior Warden who was elected as Worshipful Master of the Lodge for the forthcoming masonic year.

In his presentation Bill Baty thanked all the other golfers, sponsors, raffle supporters and helpers on the day; collectively this resulted in the 2023 raising £1,500 presented to the TLC Teddies, a fantastic amount for a one-day event.

The 2024 Tournament details will come out early new year and this now well-established annual event on the Durham Masonic Calendar is set to continue for many years. Thank you all for your support.

Stronger Together

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John Goes Live On Prince Bishops Hospital Radio

Many thanks to our TLC  Coordinator Mark Davies, Colin Overton and the TLC team for organising an interview with Craig Robinson one of the volunteer DJs at Prince Bishops Hospital Radio with our ProvGM John Thompson. John said,

“It was a great opportunity to chat about Durham freemasonry, and our amazing TLC team whilst highlighting our members’ great work to the community“.

After the interview, the team took the time to make an important delivery of bears and to chat with the nurses in the urgent care ward where our TLC bears are given to children in distress. 

Many thanks to our TLC ambassadors who give so much time to ensure our TLC scheme continues to succeed. To date over 116,500 bears donated to our local hospitals and urgent care units. Thank you to all our lodges and members who continue your support of TLC

Thanks to Mark Davies, John Deamer, Nick Howell, Colin Overton and Kevin Carter who supported John on the visit.

To listen to live Interview: Click Here

Stronger Together

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Durham Go Live on Radio Stitch

Recently … Big Ted accompanied the Provincial Grand Master along Mark Davies, and Colin to Radio Stitch broadcasting to the University Hospitals of North Tees & Hartlepool on Hospedia Channel 1. Base based within North Tees Hospital John, was there to promote TLC within the Province of Durham and the engagement of Durham Freemasons within the community.

The visit proved to be quite a nostalgic event as also attending on behalf of TLC was Freemason Colin Overton who kindly organised the visit. A former volunteer presenter on the station, whose first encounter with the teddies was back in 2006 when he attended the very first meeting held at Penshaw to introduce the TLC scheme to Durham, and at the end of the meeting the then Provincial Grand Master Derek Richmond the time held up a Teddy and asked who wanted the first Teddy. Colin shot his hand up and Derek threw it to him saying “that will cost you a tenner”.Colin gave the teddy to his Granddaughter so technically she was the first child to get a teddy in the Province of Durham.

John and Ted were given a tour of the studio by station manager Elliot Kennedy who explained how the equipment, aspects of radio presenting, production, interviewing techniques, recording and editing and the service delivered to the patients, family and staff at both North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals, along with the stations plans to expand its service to other areas within the Province.

The interview will be regularly broadcast within hospitals, providing a tremendous platform,enhancing awareness of the highly successful TLC initiative and Durham Freemasons as an organisation.

To Listen to the Broadcast Click Here

Stronger Together

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Ravensworth Golf Trophy

For 102 years the golfers of the Province have met to compete for the Ravensworth Golf Trophy – a fine silver trophy presented in 1921, by the Provincial Grand Master at the time,  Lord Ravensworth.

This year, on Thursday, July 6th, 63 golfers met at Roseberry Grange Community Golf Club to compete again for the trophy and were blessed with good weather, a course in excellent condition, good food, good company – and even some good golf (for some!).

The competition was once again held to raise funds for the Provincial TLC scheme and Big Ted was on hand to have his photograph taken with each foursome on the first tee, assisted by our Provincial Grand Master,  RWBro John Paul Thompson.

The winners this year were Andrew Forster and his partner Malcolm Dunstone – both from St Cuthberts Lodge No 3417, who repeated their success of 2021, with a winning score of 47. In addition to getting their names engraved on the trophy, the pair will hold a magnificent crystal trophy for a year with engraved whisky glasses and golfing equipment.

In their foursome that morning was John Illingworth of Trinity Lodge No 4751, who won the “nearest the pin” competition on the 18th hole with a shot within 5ft 5 inches of the hole, winning himself the prize of £100. 

Second and third were 2 visiting pairs, Ian McArthur & Fran Carrigan (score of 44) and John Davison & Peter Walker (score of 43 and ahead on count back), who also won golfing equipment, whilst in 4th place were John Webster and his playing partner Mike Saint of Old Dunelmian Lodge No 8100, who also came in with a score of 43.

On hand to present the prizes at the end of the day, in his own inimitable way, was Kenneth Howe, who confirmed that not only had it been a great day for the golfers, the event had raised the magnificent sum of £1500 for Big Ted and the TLC scheme.

Well done to the organisers, golfers and Big Ted. Here’s looking forward to the 2024 Ravensworth Trophy.

Stronger Together

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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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TLC Teddies

TLC Teddies

What are TLC Teddies?

TLC Durham provides 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 its treatment. Their use saves the NHS considerable staff time and speeds the diagnosis and thus treatment of many injuries where delays can have a considerable negative impact on the child’s recovery.

Each Teddy has a label stating “Donated by local Freemason’s” and they are a clear and identifiable sign of freemasons working for and within our communities to make lives better. Funding for the bears is raised from within freemasonry by various means and the funds are ring fenced within Durham Benevolence to be used solely for the provision of TLC Teddies.

We also deliver Selection Boxes at Christmas and Easter Eggs to the various Children’s Wards across the Province. The many letters and cards of thanks received from the nursing staff or from the children are a testament to the value the wider community places on our good work. These small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Our main communication with the wider NHS community and its patents is via our Facebook site ‘TLCTeddiesDurham’ and the active engagement continues to grow. We now have 1,765 likes and reach in excess of 4000 people. We would encourage everyone to visit the site to gain an understanding of the impact the Teddies have truly. If you like the site you will then receive notifications when we receive new posts. Many of these are from parents and Hospital staff, across the province, expressing gratitude and thanking freemasons for our kindness.

We raised £14,085 during 2022 and we provided 4248 to be used with children in distress. Since TLC Teddies was launched throughout the Province of Durham we have provided over 117,500 bears to help comfort children in distress.

The Teddies are something Freemasons are especially proud of as they make a big difference to the children who receive them by “turning tears into smiles” at a difficult time.

TLC Durham


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The Ravensworth Masonic Golf Trophy 2023 | Durham Freemasons

This Competition was started in 1921 with the Winners from the Lodge of Industry. Over the past 101 years it has been the focus of an enjoyable day out for Brethren who like their golf. Whatever their ability they can enter this Annual Competition and enjoy masonic fellowship and at the same time raising funds for our fantastic initiative ‘Teddies For Loving Care Durham’.

To win the Ravensworth Trophy, the winning pair must be two Freemasons from the Province of Durham, representing a named lodge, of which at least one of the pair is a member. Non-masonic guests are welcome to play and, although ineligible to win the trophy, will receive a suitable prize if finishing in a ‘placed’ position. There will also be a prize for Nearest-The-Pin.

The entry fee is £75 per Two-Ball or £150 per Four-Ball paid in advance to include coffee, tea and bacon sandwich on arrival and two course meal afterwards with all profits going to Masonic Charities. It is expected that entries will be made either as a foursome or as a pair. Tee times are reserved from 10.00am.

Those wishing to enter the event should contact Alan Jenkins  at  (07780 304364), Martin Rankin  at  (07850 527100)  or  Craig Pattison  at   (07921 220186)  and inform them of your preferred tee time.

Entries can only be confirmed on receipt of payment by cheque – payable to “ Ravensworth Golf Trophy ” or preferably by bank transfer to:

Ravensworth Golf Trophy

Sort Code 20-45-45

Account No. 03562204

Every hole can be sponsored at a very reasonable cost of £25 with the sponsors details on the Tee Box and full recognition given to their company, organisation, masonic lodge or group. We welcome any contributions towards this – please contact  Bill Baty at (07956125851) for further details.

A Raffle will also be held on the day and any donated prizes would be welcomed.

We look forward to welcoming you to Roseberry Grange Golf Club for this very special Masonic Social Event, one that we hope you will support.

Stronger  together

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Soothing Bears | Durham Freemasons

Scarborough Court is the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institutions (RMBI) home providing support for older Freemasons, their families, and people in the wider community with residential care, nursing and dementia support. Although in Cramlington (Northumberland) it is fully supported by the three Provinces of County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland from which areas the bulk of the residents are drawn.  Today the three Provinces pulled together to put a smile on the faces of the residents by making the first delivery of “soothing bears”!

Bill Morley DPGM of Cumberland & Westmoreland was made aware several nursing homes in his Province were supplying shop bought Teddies for dementia patients on their wards. These were proving a great source of help of comfort and support, helping ease any distress and anxiety that patients carrying the Teddies were experiencing, from time to time because of their Dementia. Bill immediately thought of the dementia residents in Scarborough Court where he is a member of the Committee of Friends. Sam Buxton the care home manager confirmed they would be delighted to receive Teddies if the Friends of Scarborough Court wished to allow their provision. The home supports up to 37 residents of these currently 18 live in the dementia area. Activities Manager Stacy Hunter stated “these will be a fantastic tool to allow is to bring a very personalised level of comfort to our many residents during their time in the home”.

St. Oswald’s Lodge & Harte Lodge agreed to share the cost of the 1st three boxes of Teddies to Scarborough Court. The Masters Richard Tucker MBE and Jim Durrand presented these to Activities Manager, Stacy Hunter and Phil Armstrong of the Homes Facilities team accompanied by several residents who were keen to take possession of their new friends. Also on hand were John Thompson the PGM of the Province of Durham, and Bill Morley and Alasdair Watson, APGM Northumberland.

One of the highlights of the day was meeting Eric Allison, a Northumberland Freemason, who is the Home’s most long standing resident who is still an active Freemason. He was proud to show Alasdair Watson the photo of him receiving, last year, his 70 th  Certificate in his own Lodge. This again emphasised the amazing support the home provides in ensuring Eric could continue to enjoy his Freemasonry.

Duncan Maw, the TLC coordinator for the Province of Durham, stated “everyone was overwhelmed how quickly the Teddies brought a smile to the residents that were on hand to help receive the bears. The real power of the generosity and kindness of the Brethren across all three Provinces is clearly seen in the many photos published alongside this article.”

It is hoped that other Lodges across all three Provinces will come forward and offer to buy further bears for use by the staff and residents at Scarborough Court. Any Lodge that wishes to do so are asked to contact Duncan Maw at  who will coordinate the supply to the home when required. The home is keen to welcome any contributing Lodge to present the bears and it would be a great opportunity to see the good work undertaken at Scarborough Court.

John Thompson was keen to stress on behalf of all the Provinces “This is a fantastic facility provided by an organisation with its roots deep in Freemasonry. The many services and high level of care offered by the staff at Scarborough Court are not as widely known throughout the provinces as they could be. We all see the regular Provision of Teddies as a real opportunity to raise the profile of the home and to clearly signal to our brethren that it is a multi-province facility that we are all proud of and should contribute towards!”

In Attendance:

JPT, Andrea Thompson, Bill Morley MBE DPGM Cumbria and Westmoreland, Alasdair Watson APGM Northumberland, Richard Tucker MBE WM St Oswald Lodge, Jim Durrand WM Harte Lodge, Duncan Maw TLC Coordinator, Stacy Hunter Activities Manager, Phil Armstrong Facilities Team Member.

And the real stars:

Heather Doonan, Lilly Storey, Tom Heslop, Maureen Meggason and Eric Allison seen standing with JPT and AW

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