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





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.