Breaking News

A message from the PGM

Brethren, as we approach the end of year 4 in our 5-year Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys which will end early in 2021. I have just announced that we have passed our original target and we have now raised a total of : –

£2,752,675 as at October 31st 2019


This is a phenomenal achievement by the members of our Craft Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters and many other orders and organizations who have given their support.

Everyone who is contributing to the Festival, in whatever way, should be rightfully proud of what they have achieved so far. I hope you will agree with me that it is our duty to raise as much as we can in the time we have left.

Whatever we raise in excess of the original target will be a bonus that we can be proud of.

Your generosity, the hard work of our Charity Stewards and the numerous volunteers who are organising the many and varied fund raising events continues to excite and enthuse our members.

I express my sincere appreciation to all of these volunteers, our Charity Stewards, our Hall Ambassadors and especially the 2021 Festival Team under the leadership of John Thompson for their continuing support in the work that they do. The Province of Durham committed to a 5 year fundraising campaign and I urge you all to keep on supporting the Festival until our conclusion in 2021. I hope you all become Festival Stewards and to make every effort for your lodge to reach its potential.

We have exciting events planned for 2020, please get involved we have one year left to make a real difference.  Once again thank you.

John Arthur

Provincial Grand Master

30th November 2019

platinum lodge award

Corinthian Lodge No. 5808 – Platinum Presentation

Corinthian Spirit at Corinthian Lodge!


The November meeting of Corinthian Lodge No 5808, saw their magnificent charitable achievements recognised by the Provincial Grand Master John Arthur. John, accompanied by a team of Provincial Officers, was delighted to award Corinthian Lodge with their Platinum Certificate and Award on the evening. The Platinum Award itself, came after the Lodge members and their supporters raised over £21,000 towards the Durham 2021 Festival. Corinthian Lodge’s Charity Steward, Jamie Rielly, was also awarded the Platinum Badge by John in recognition of the Lodge, and their supporters, outstanding commitment in their charitable endeavours since the start of the Durham 2021 Festival.


The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Thompson, was then invited to give an illuminating video and PowerPoint presentation regarding the work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as well as reviewing the wide range of charitable events that had taken place, in support of the Durham 2021 Festival, across the 2019 calendar year. John thanked all those who had given their time, energy and commitment in supporting the 2021 Festival to raise over £2.5 million to date, towards the Festival target, at the rate of over £10,000 per month!


John also reminded those assembled of the great friendships and Masonic bonds that can develop from such activities and further encouraged individuals to continue to support the 2021 Festival in whatever way that they can.


Then, to make the evening even more special, fourteen Freemasons, from a variety of Lodges across the Province, who had actively participated in a range of events such as walking, canoeing, cycling, skydiving, skiing, ‘Dragon Boat’ racing & the Great North Run were asked to gather on the floor of the Lodge. John Arthur and John Thompson then took great delight in awarding each participant with their well deserved 2019 Festival Supporters Medal. Consequently, those assembled, in the packed Lodge room, duly showed their appreciation of their charitable efforts and Corinthian Spirit!


At the well-attended Festive Board, John Arthur stood to respond to the Toast and began by formally recognising Corinthian Lodge’s huge achievement in raising over £21,000, 130% of their Festival target. He then formally presenting the Platinum Award to Corinthian Lodge’s Worshipful Master Paul Westgarth who had already presented John with a further £2150 on the evening for charitable causes.


Upon the closure of the Festive Board many of those in attendance remained to enjoy the company and fellowship of old and new friends alike. Many congratulations to the members of Corinthian Lodge upon their Platinum Award, and to the medal winners for their charitable achievements !


Durham 2021 Festival Supporter Nights

Dear 2019 Supporter,


Due to the demand in places we have added a 5th date and venue for our supporters evenings. Please see full information below, if you’re attending please let Paul Quinn know ASAP or if you want to change your chosen night to this new venue.


You’re receiving this invite because you have raised money for our festival in 2019 either by taking part or volunteering in one of our 2019 sponsored events


May I take this opportunity to either thank you for the fundraising / volunteering you have done this year or are about to in the forthcoming GNR.  It is our intention to thank everyone who raised funds with us this year by inviting you along to one of our lodge meetings to receive the 2019 Supporter medal. This invitation is open to non masons and family members or friends who joined us in our activities this year.  Four lodges covering our Province have graciously offered to facilitate our supporter nights on the dates below. The format of the evening will be a presentation from the festival team on our events this year and our plans for 2020, with a presentation of a supporters medal. Please respond as shown below.


Please pick a location or a time that suits you best.  The cost of the meal will vary from £7 – £22. Start time will be 6.30 – 7pm. Full details will be on the summons which will be forwarded to you on release.


St Paul Lodge

(Jarrow)               Thursday 3rd October 2019  – Masons and non mason supporters only, no partners or wives 7pm start, £7 per head, Numbers for attendance and dining to be confirmed by 30/9/19


Eanred Lodge

( Billingham)              Monday 14th October 2019 –    wives and partners are welcome at the festive board. 7pm start, £7.50 per head,  Numbers for attendance and dining to be confirmed by 5/10/19


Lodge of Progress

( Chester Le Street)    Friday 18th October 2019 – Masons and non mason supporters only, no partners or wives 6.45pm start, £8 per head, Numbers for attendance and dining to be confirmed by 13/10/19


Corinthian Lodge

( Shildon) Tuesday 26th November 2019 – Masons and non mason supporters only, no partners or wives 6.45pm start, £7 per head, Numbers for attendance and dining to be confirmed by 20/11/19


Elvet Lodge

(Durham) Tuesday 17th December 2019 – wives and partners are welcome at the festive board. 6.45pm start, £22 per head for a five course festive meal with live entertainment,  Numbers for attendance and dining to be confirmed by 1/12/19



I would appreciate if you could let our Festival Secretary Paul Quinn   know ASAP if you can attend one of our events, with the following response


If you are attending, are you dining, which location, do you have an dietary needs, can’t attend


( if its Billingham or Elvet will you bring a partner), if you can’t attend please also let us know and we will ensure we get a medal to you.


I hope you can join us on these evenings and give us the opportunity to say “Thank you”

silver lodge award

Spirit of Rugby Lodge No. 9910 – Silver Award Presentation

Spirit of Rugby Lodge No. 9910

Silver Award Presentation


Bill Baty attended Spirit of Rugby No. 9910 representing the PGM and Officers of PGL at their Annual Installation. A raucous evening in the Festive Board, reflective of the Lodges connection with their sport, was preceded by a very good Ceremony of Installation upstairs at Chester-le-Street. This saw WBro. Kieran Fyland going into the Chair as the fifth WM of this, the newest Lodge in our Province.


At the conclusion of the Second rising Bill was presented with two cheques of £50 for the Teddy Bear Scheme and £250 from the Lodge towards their Durham 2021 Festival Target.


Downstairs in a very enjoyable and unique Festive Board, they use a whistle, not a gavel, to gain order, for example and during my reply I then presented W Bro. Barry L. Clark, PProvJGD with the Lodges Silver Award for their achievements.


Barry then stunned me by presenting me with a further cheque for £750 to go to their credit for the Durham 2021 Festival from the Chester-le-Street Fundraising Committee as a result of their fundraising in the building itself. Chester-le-Street have a unique system of supporting each other in many ways and sharing the funds between the Lodges in the building which results in all Lodges working towards their Festival Targets, a great initiative.


Bill was delighted and overwhelmed to receive this further donation from the Lodge and Charity Steward who work hard to support the Durham 2021 Festival and many other initiatives and made sure this was reflected in my reply.


Beer and Cider Festival

Chester le Street Masonic Centre hosted its 3rd annual beer and cider festival over the first weekend in July.

The Beer & Cider festival kicked off with a sponsors and VIP event on Thursday and was open to the public from Friday evening until Sunday when a barbecue and live music brought the festival to a close. The profits made over this weekend are all going towards Chester le Street Lodges  2021 festival targets and the event has been arranged by the charity stewards of Chester le Street. To celebrate the weekend a special whisky infused cider had been commissioned named whisky 2021 and it was only fitting that this was the first of the 18 beers and 20 ciders on offer to be completely sold out.” Another amazing event from the brethren in Chester Le Street.

Provincial website & photos





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.”