On Tuesday 11 October 2022 RW Bro John Paul Thompson, Provincial Grand Master travelled to St Aidan Freemasons Hall Laburnum Avenue Blackhill, and he brought with him a deputation of officers, including three of his assistants. Joining him was RW Bro N E Heaviside, PProvGM – initiated sixty years ago in Benfeldsyde Lodge No 7807, which also meets in St Aidan Freemasons Hall. They were all there to celebrate the Centenary of St Aidan Lodge No 4080. The lodge reached the milestone of 100 years on Friday 8 May 2020, but that was in the early days of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. That Friday did not pass by unnoticed. The lodge marked that 2020 day with a Centenary booklet – which included a copy of the Consecration summons – distributed to all members, the widows of former members and others. And during the lockdown, the lodge held virtual ZOOM meetings and published two other booklets “One in a 100 – a record of St Aidan Lodge in the 2020-21 pandemic” and one with a message from every member, but it was only on Tuesday 11 October 2022 that the lodge was able to join together and celebrate its 100 years. And it is celebrated in some style.
Fifty years ago, W Bro J MacMurray, Deputy Provincial Grand Master-in- Charge led the Provincial Deputation to celebrate fifty years of working! Present on 11 October 2022 were members Stan Fitches, Eric Heatherington, Paul Heatherington and former members Malcolm Oliver (PM Old Dunelmian Lodge No 8100) and Gareth Davies (John Watts’ first cousin) who were all initiated in St Aidan Lodge more than fifty years ago!
Readers may realise that, whilst John arrived at Blackhill with three of his assistants, all four were present at the meeting. The other assistant was already there to greet him. W Bro John David Watts, PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, is Worshipful Master of St Aidan Lodge. John Watts was installed as Master of St Aidan Lodge in May 2022, by Paul Heatherington. John was initiated into St Aidan Lodge on 12 June 1984, also by Paul Heatherington ( then St Aidan’s ADC). Paul was a last-minute stand-in, as the WM was absent. Looking up, once material light was restored, John recognised Paul, as the solicitor he had seen at Crook Police Station, on 16 April 1984, representing fifteen miners arrested at Tow Law in the early days of the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike, an event which was followed by one hundred miners laying siege to Crook Police station!
At the meeting, Paul Heatherington gave a brief history of the Lodge, “To read click here” after which Mike Davis, Asst Prov Secretary read the Centenary Warrant, which the PGM presented to the lodge, with the members receiving Centenary Jewels. At the end of the meeting, the Worshipful Master, John Watts, presented the PGM with a cheque for £4080 as a donation to the next Festival.
After the meeting, all enjoyed a splendid four-course banquet and everyone received a pen, a replica of the Centenary Jewel on a slate coaster and a booklet “St Aidan Lodge No 4080: One hundred years …plus ” which includes a foreword by the Provincial Grand Master.
A fantastic night was enjoyed by everyone present.