Great North Run 2019



Tyneside was bathed in sunshine on Sunday the 8th September to welcome some 57,000 runners from across the globe eager to take part in the world’s greatest half marathon.


Once again amongst the throng of participants were Durham Freemasons proudly pounding the tarmac to raise over £7,500 in donations and pledges for 2021 Festival, all wearing their distinctive MCF Festival shirts.


Along with the Durham contingent were many more of our brethren, friends and family who were raising funds for individual charities and we of course equally applaud their efforts, and congratulate all on having  successfully completed the gruelling 13.1-mile transition from Newcastle to the South Shields coast, where thousands of spectators applauded their triumphant efforts.


We now look forward to September 2020 when the GNR celebrates its 40th Anniversary, to mark this milestone in the history of the iconic event we as a Province are hoping to encourage 40 Durham Masons to enter.


Feeling inspired to take on #GreatNorthRun 2020?


Sign up to the reminder service to be the first to get our updates for 2020.    And tell Paul Quinn you’ve done it at


For more images from the day visit the FlickR album.


Dragon Boat Race

Durham’s Masonic Dragons Roar


4 Teams from the Province of Durham competed in the 3rd Tees Dragon Boat Festival which took place on Sunday 1st September 2019, raising money for the Durham 2021 Festival.


Each Dragon Boat can carries a maximum of 16 rowers plus one drummer and is steered by a helmsman provided by the event operators. The format of the event involves each team competing in 3 races, with the 4 fastest teams then competing in the final. This year 20 teams took part.


Our Teams were The Chester le Street Masonic Dragons 1 & 2, The Billingham & Castle Eden Freemasons Dragon Boat Squad and the Paddling Pedalers’, a team drawn largely from those who completed this year’s 3 Province Charity Cycle Ride.


After registration and the safety briefing the first of our boats to compete was Chester-le-Street Masonic Dragons 2 and they soon showed that they were a force to be reckoned with, posting what was then the quickest time of the first round, an amazing 1 min 4.45 seconds, to cover the 200m course in blustery conditions. In that first round their time was only beaten by a semi-professional dragon boat, The Purple Warriors, a team of HM Forces Veterans who compete regularly and use the sport as a means of inspiration, rehabilitation and recovery. They clocked an amazing 58 seconds in that first round.

We had had a few late withdrawals from the squads and there were some who were unable to stay for the full day but in true Masonic Spirit our teams supported each other, providing rowers and drummers where required.

The weather conditions continued to be squally but our rowers were undeterred. By the start of the final round, CLS 2 remained in 3rd place. Whilst they had improved their best to 1.03.14, Dave’s Dragons, had posted an incredible 55.9 seconds. Our Peddalers’ were lying in 4th with 1.05.91 and our remaining 2 teams were not far behind.

With the news that the semi-professional team would not compete in the final, our teams redoubled their efforts. Incredibly, 3 of our Teams, CLS 2, the Peddalers’ and Billingham & Castle Eden managed to hold off the competition and reach the Final. In fact we also had the 5th fastest time from CLS 1, who only missed out on a place in the final by 4 hundredths of a second.

As the 4 boats lined up on the start line the Masonic Teams knew that Dave’s Dragons were the team to beat. There was also however some healthy rivalry between our squads as they all competed for the top spot. In what proved an amazingly close race (apart from Dave’s Dragons who, as expected, left the other 3 teams in their wake) it was the Peddalers’ who managed to steal second place with their fastest time of the day, 1 min 2 seconds, beating Billingham & Castle Eden by a very short nose and with CLS 2 very close behind.

After cheering their competitors and receiving their trophies from the Mayor of Stockton there was just time for our teams to cheer all of the supporters who had turned up, particularly those from Billingham who had manned a TLC Teddies stall throughout the day.

Freemasonry in the community at its most enjoyable – well done to all involved.

For more images visit the FlickR album

Parachute Challenge

Parachute Challenge 2019

Friday 6th June 2019 has been an honour and pleasure for to be  the organiser of this Tandem Skydive event with each Skydiver raising money for the Durham 2021 Festival. After an informal presentation held in Hartlepool Masonic Hall 10 names were put forward to take part,  and so began the steady process of getting sponsors to donate towards the Festival target and a magnificent total of over £5,000 was in place as we all met nice and early at Peterlee Parachute Centre.


Our thoughts are with Angela who sustained a shoulder injury in the cycle ride just a few days previous and was unable to attend. The remaining 9 were then put through the checking in process and training, being ready to kit up at about 11am. Their jump would be from the maximum altitude, 15,000 feet giving them over a minute in free fall and then 5 minutes under the parachute before landing.  Lee Harrison was selected to go early to fill a lift of Tandem Students from a previous course and I jumped with him complete with camera to record it. The jump went well and on landing Lee was keen to tell the others how brilliant it was.


In the next 2 lifts of the aircraft the remaining Durham brethren made their jumps and all were on a high after their return to terra firma , exchanging the thrills which can only be experienced by jumping yourself. John Arthur our PGM and his good lady and the Festival Director John Thompson were both in attendance to give their support to this superb effort by all involved.


On a personal and sad note I made my second jump of the day and very last skydive with 4 of our Tandem jumpers before retiring from a sport that I have been involved with since 1980. This event will be repeated next year and should you wish to take part please send your details to Michael Graham Senior. There will be a free skydive to one of the names put forward kindly donated by Peterlee Parachute Centre.


Pictures from the day have been uploaded to Flickr, click here to open the album.


A Brilliant day for all involved and the sun gods and blue skies were all in our favour.


Ski Silksworth

2021 Festival Masonic Skiing Challenge



As the festival appeal has gone on the ways to raise money have become harder and harder to come by. It occurred to me that it might be possible to use a sport I am passionate about to raise funds for the festival. The idea was discussed with the Festival director and a plan formed to try and encourage as many people as possible to get involved, it was hopped that by setting several smaller targets building to the main target of skiing the height of Mount Everest that people who perhaps had only done a small amount of skiing might want to participate and after a meeting between W.Bro Thompson, myself and the Head of the Ski School at Sunderland we also decided to provide lessons for anyone that might want to learn how to ski in order to take up the challenge. The event was then put to the membership. Unfortunately, we had no takers for the lessons, but on Sunday 7th July 2019 just under 10 skiers descended on Silksworth Sports complex ranging in age and ability with our oldest Participant Malcolm at the age of 85. Many were supported by family and friends. We where joined by W.Bro Thompson and the obligatory Photo shoot took place and shortly after 12:00pm we were off the descents started to mount and as the afternoon wore on. At around 2pm we where joined by the PGM RW. Bro John Arthur and his support spurred us all on with Steve one of our younger skiers completing his 56 descents Shortly there after Steve then took a short break before returning to the slope to complete a total of over 100 descents which total more than the height of all 3 mountains combined. All told we hope to have raised more than £2500 and are already looking at options for next year.

David Lonsdale


Flickr Account Photo’s

3 Province Pedal

The sun has now set on the third annual sponsored cycle ride organised in aid of the Durham 2021 Festival.


This year saw our team of 34 riders, ably supported by 6 support drivers, take on The Three Province Pedal. A 180 mile ride, from Leeds to Hartlepool via York, Beverley, Scarborough and Whitby, with the small matter of two days of climbs onto the North Yorkshire Moors along the way.


Friday morning saw our  Assistant Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham wave the riders off from Durham services as they journeyed on to their starting point at Leeds, and on arrival the Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur, was ready and waiting  to set off the team from the Provincial Office of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding. The team then climbed steadily away from Leeds towards Tadcaster and then on, largely without incident, to their first welcome lunch stop at Duncombe Place Masonic Hall in York.


After a lunch and a presentation to a representative from the building of one of our ride shields, the team set off along small country roads towards their first evenings accommodation in Beverley. Whilst the route was relatively flat. there were a couple of hairy moments, where members of our team were nearly taken out by mad tractor drivers and a low loader. Thankfully, however, they made it to Beverley relatively unscathed.


After rehydrating and a lovely meal, our team members had a relatively early night in preparation for the next days ride.


8.30am saw the team setting off on route to Hunmanby. The morning’s ride was largely flat, although there were a couple of testing climbs near the end.


After a lunch provided by our very own Paul Quinn, ably assisted by his sous chef, Harry Prince, the weather began to close in, and after donning their waterproofs the team were off towards Scarborough.


A quick diversion to Scarborough Masonic Hall saw our team meeting up with the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings, RWBro Jeff Gillyon, after they interrupted his festive board.


After a quick presentation, the team were back on their bikes and began what proved to be a tough 10 mile climb onto the moors via a strength sapping cinder track. The climb was followed by perhaps an even more terrifying 10 mile downhill over rough ground, which was really appreciated by those on the road bikes – not!


At the end of a warm and humid day, the team congregated at a very pleasant micro brewery adjacent to the overnight accommodation in Whitby, where they were met by our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stephen Walker, and his wife. The day had certainly taken its toll and a couple of our riders needed to be checked over by medics. Thankfully, though, there was no lasting damage, and food and a good nights rest were the prescribed treatments required.


The final morning of this year’s event was undoubtedly the toughest section of the 3 days, involving some steep climbing out of Whitby and up onto the top of the North Yorkshire Moors.  Eventually our team reached the summit and enjoyed a wonderful downhill ride to Guisborough Masonic Hall, where Zetland Lodge, their family, and their friends had put on a wonderful lunch for our weary group.


There had been a couple of injuries along the way, but the final afternoon saw the full team back on their bikes and heading for the finish line. Crossing the Tees via the Newport Bridge, returning to our Province, they made for The Headland at Hartlepool, where they were met by their family and friends.


After three days of arduous riding, the team congregated on the Pilot Pier and were delighted to announce to John Arthur, who was once again on hand to meet them, that their collective efforts had raised £25,000 for the Durham 2021 Festival in aid of the RMTGB/MCF.


Pictures from the event have been uploaded to Flickr, click here to open the album.


Well done team, and many, many thanks, to all who supported them.

silver lodge award

Lodge of Industry – Silver Award

Silver Award Achieved by

Lodge of Industry No. 48

At the July meeting of Lodge of Industry the North Are Director Ian Turnbull had the pleasure of presenting the Silver Award for the sterling work that the Lodge and Charity Steward Tony Richardson have done since the start of the Durham 2021 Festival. The Lodge then presented Ian with a cheque for £307 and an Auction item, from the Lodge Junior Warden, to be included in the Grand Auction on behalf of the Lodge.

Congratulations to Lodge of Industry on achieving the Silver Award.

gold lodge award

Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100 – Gold Presentation

Gold Presentation – Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100

On a very warm Friday 12th July, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, David Sanders Hay was honoured to be the representative of the Provincial Grand Master at the Installation meeting of the Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100, held in the Luce Theatre of Durham School. This was to be a double celebration with the Installation as Master of a stalwart of both School and Lodge, Godfrey William Hedley and a 100% Gold Target Award for contributions to the Durham 2021 Festival for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). David was introduced into the Lodge by David Atkinson, where the Worshipful Master, Jeremy Bray welcomed him to the proceedings. All brethren were then presented with a well worked Installation Ceremony. At the second rising David received cheques benefiting, Durham Benevolence, the TLC Teddies Scheme and the 2021 Festival. David in turn presented the Worshipful Master with their Gold Award Certificate after which Charity Steward Eric Robinson came forward and was bestowed with a Gold Award Pin Badge. Eric thanked all of the members for their contributions in achieving their target giving a special tribute to the late John Liddle a sorely missed Brother and for many years Lodge Secretary.


The festivities continued to the festive board being held in big school where a splendid banquet was served. All dining finished the required toasts were adhered to and after the toast to the Provincial Officers, the representative David, thanked the members of the Lodge for a memorable evening, and how honoured he felt to be invited as a guest on such a special night. David made reference to the three cheque donations presented to him and congratulated all members for their hard work reaching the Gold Award Target. He praised their charitable enthusiasm and dedication made to the 2021 Festival and paying special tribute to John Liddle.


The idea of forming a School Lodge was made by school old boy, Alan Barraclough who suggested that it should meet in London, however Vernon Ferens, an influential Durham Mason and a former pupil suggested to hold all the meetings at Durham School. However Province would not agree to the meetings being held at the school so they were held at Durham Masonic Hall.  On 4th June 1966 the Old Dunelmian Lodge was consecrated, Vernon being the first Worshipful Master. Things changed in 1968 when the meeting was held at the Masonic Hall but the festive board was held at the school. Move on to July 1996 when there was a problem with asbestos at the Masonic Hall and it had to be closed, so a dispensation was granted to hold the Installation Meeting at the School the same being replicated every year since.


Durham School was founded by the Bishop of DurhamThomas Langley, in 1414, it received royal foundation by King Henry VIII in 1541 following the dissolution of the monasteries. The School was an all-boys institution until 1985, when girls were admitted to the sixth form. The school became fully coeducational in 1998 and celebrated its 600th Anniversary in 2014 making it the 18th oldest in Britain. It is possible however, that it may actually have origins in the Priory at Lindisfarne, being moved to Durham City to escape marauding Viking invaders around the time that St. Cuthbert’s body was brought to what is now the site of Durham Cathedral. The school was in Langley’s time situated on Palace Green north of the Cathedral, in 1844 the school moved to its current location across the river wear. Former students are known as Old Dunelmians. The School had some interesting times – for example, in 1640 the Old School Buildings were utterly destroyed by the Scots. Homeless due to the burning down of its buildings, the school continued in various houses in the city. It was in 1661 that the school moved back to Palace Green. The School location now has been steadily expanded and updated overtime. The School Chapel, built from 1924 to 1926 sits on top of a hill overlooking the main School site and is also a war memorial, its walls are engraved with the names of those who died in World War I and World War II. Within the Chapel is a superb Stained Glass window which the Lodge funded.


One of the highlights of the evening is the traditional singing of the School Song,’ Floreat Dunelmia’ (May our school flourishwhich is also the School Motto. During the rendition of the song which is wholeheartedly sang by all, it is a spectacle to watch as  young and old  former pupils climb onto their seats and the more able onto the dining table to let you know they are old boys of the school and proud be so.

Link to Provincial Website

Sanctuary Lodge No. 8613 Garden Party

Sanctuary Lodge Garden Party

The Worshipful Master of Sanctuary Lodge David Overton extends a warm invitation to join the Lodge members and guests to a Garden Party to be held at Durham Masonic Hall on Sunday 18th August 2019.

The Garden Party will include Live Music, Games, Afternoon Tea and a Grand Draw. All proceeds to be donated to the Durham 2021 Festival Appeal.

Dress is Smart Casual and start time is 1:30 pm for a 2pm start.

Tickets can be obtained from Les Dean 0191 526 4332 or 07949 020 109 email:


Sanctuary Lodge Garden Party Poster

Ski Challenge

Ski Challenge

On Sunday 7th July 2019 the Durham Brethren took on another challenge in the Durham 2021 Festival 2019 Events. Seven Brethren attempted to Ski the height of either of the three peaks of Mount Everest, Mont Blanc & Ben Nevis a total of 96 descents down Silksworth dry ski slope.

The even weather was perfect not too hot and a little overcast, however this did not deter the Skiers as they set about the challenge.

Thanks to David Lonsdale and Silksworth Ski Slope for a fantastic day of Skiing. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the 96 descents some even did 100 descents almost twice the height of Everest. Well done everyone who took part and to everyone who sponsored our skiers and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Flickr Account Photo’s

We've reached 2500000

£2,500,000  announced by the PGM

£2,500,000  announced by the PGM


The Provincial AGM finished with the exciting news from the Provincial Grand Master VW Bro John Arthur that we have reached the sum of £2,500,000 on our quest to reach our target. I’m especially pleased and proud of everyone who has supported us to date, whether it’s a direct debit, a lodge donation, gift aid envelopes, sponsoring an event or even taking part every little helps. the PProvGM Eric Heaviside always said “The dripping tap will fill the bath” and it is indeed doing just that.  I urge you all to continue on until we conclude in 2021 to reach the personal goal of Festival Steward, either by donation of by taking part in one of our many events. Or for your lodge to reach its potential to turn that bronze award to  Silver,  or to reach the target and maybe even push onto platinum and join the 19 lodges who have already reached this goal.


Thank you for your continuing support to me and our team and ultimately those who benefit from MCF support.


WBro John Thomson, Festival Director


An exert from the PGM Address at the AGM, Dunston 29th June 2019


“The masonic charities are one of the major things we hold most dear, and Festival is the time for us, as a Province, to show our support for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. We are very proud and fortunate to be raising money in the name of The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and all of the money raised will be used to support children and young adults who need our support.

The financial and welfare support they provide to children and young people aims to reduce the impact of the tragedy and hardship they have experienced, often from a very early age. MCF support aims to enable higher academic attainment, improved standards of day-to-day living as well as better life and employment prospects. Currently, almost 2,000 Masonic children and young people are benefiting from our support across England and Wales each year, at a cost of around £9m per year.

In 2018 support for Masonic families in Durham totalled £400,475, with a further £150,500 supporting 21 charities. That’s an average of £10,586 per week for those who need it most in our Province. This is equivalent to over £6m over the 11 year time period between Festivals.

We are extremely proud of everyone who has accepted one of the challenges set by the Festival Team, this includes, running, walking, canoeing, cycling, skydiving, skiing next week and of course the dragon boat racing in September for which I’m informed we still have places.  I thank the organisers, sponsors, support teams and the participants which totals over 200 masons with their family and friends who to date have raised over £50,000.

Your generosity, from those with regular direct debits, donations from lodges, and our of course our sponsored events is quite remarkable.

Together all of this support has increased our total raised to £2,500,000.  Congratulations to you all. Last year we raised an average of about £10,000 per week which was beyond our expectations but if you recall The beneficiaries in our Province received on average £10,586 per week from the MCF last year. This goes to show how important it is to keep supporting the Masonic Charitable Foundation until our Festival conclusion in 2021. Remember Brethren, when we finish supporting the MCF in 2021 they won’t stop supporting us.”