Cathedral culture

Durham masons have presented £50,000 to Durham Cathedral in support of its £10 million Open Treasure Appeal, and the Province has already committed to donating another similar sum. Durham Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside said, ‘We as Freemasons are incredibly proud of our heritage and are lucky to have this World Heritage Site on our doorstep. Freemasons have had a strong link with this building for many years and that is why we chose to get involved.’ The donation was presented to the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, Dean of the cathedral, at the Provincial annual meeting. 

The Open Treasure project will create new exhibition spaces for the cathedral, transforming the visitor experience. 

Monday 11th August 2014 was an important night in the history of Derwent Lodge No. 4250, special for one man in particular and indeed for anyone lucky enough to be present on this marvellous occasion

At the end of January 2014, the lodge Secretary made representation to the Provincial Grand Master that they were desirous of holding an emergency meeting in August 2014.

They had a very good reason for wishing to hold such a meeting.

The lodge’s oldest and longest serving member, Harold Rutter, reached his 100th birthday on Sunday 10th August 2014, and the lodge wished to celebrate this outstanding achievement. The Provincial Grand Master was delighted to accede to this request and so granted the dispensation.

The brethren of Derwent Lodge sent out their summons, advertising this emergency meeting, and were delighted when about 70 brethren indicated their desire to join together to celebrate Harold’s centenary.

Among the brethren present were the Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside, and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, George Clark, who had visited Derwent Lodge as recently as Monday 23rd December 2013, when he presented Harold with a certificate congratulating him on 60 years continuous service to Derwent Lodge.

After the Worshipful Master had opened the lodge and the Secretary had read the dispensation for the meeting, the Director of Ceremonies asked the ‘Guard of Honour’ consisting of Harold’s good friends, Colin Urwin, Ronnie Noble, Winston Ridley and Edwin Stanger to retire. After a few moments the Brethren were re-admitted accompanying the man of the moment and guest of honour, Harold Rutter to a thunderous standing ovation by the brethren present.

The Director of Ceremonies then walked the floor of the Lodge to collect Harold and present him to the Worshipful Master, informing the brethren that Harold was the Director of Ceremonies, when he was initiated into the lodge, in 1981, and he was scared of Harold at that time, to which Harold quipped back that he knew the feeling as he was scared of the DC now!

Harold was presented to the Master, who congratulated him on his milestone anniversary, informing him that he would be honoured if Harold would take the chair of Derwent Lodge once again. Harold graciously accepted this honour and the Director of Ceremonies called on the brethren to offer suitable salutation to the centurion, to which Harold thanked them for the warmth of their welcome.

After calling upon the brethren's generosity in the way of a collection in aid of masonic charity, Harold closed the lodge in true Director of Ceremonies fashion, not missing a beat or a word!

The brethren were once again asked to be upstanding, in order to receive the other special guest of the evening, Harold’s daughter Margaret Rutter, there to share in her father’s extra special evening. After photographs, the brethren and Margaret adjourned downstairs to the festive board.

After occupying the Chair of the lodge, Harold also added a first, as he became the first official user of the new stair lift that had been installed by the lodge in Chopwell Masonic Hall, so that members who found stairs a challenge were able to get from the ground floor to the lodge room on the first floor and to the banquet room and bar on the lower ground floor. It is hoped that this chair lift will aid brethren who are infirm attend their Lodge meetings.

Also in recognition of this auspicious anniversary the new toilets on the ground floor were named after Harold, they would be known as the Harold Rutter Centenary Restrooms for the foreseeable future.

65 brethren joined Harold and his daughter, Margaret, for an excellent festive board of Harold’s favourites. These dishes were thoroughly enjoyed by all the brethren present. On the completion of the meal the immediate past master of Derwent Lodge, Dr Paul Mundell, stood to deliver the toast to the special guest, by outlining his life and achievements, both personal and masonic. 

Paul also read an email from Peter Kipps, President of the River Lodges Association, in the email he wished Harold a happy birthday and informed him that the greeting was also posted to their Twitter account reaching 18,500 followers. 

At the completion of the toasts and being a birthday party after all, the birthday boy received his presents and a fabulous birthday cake on behalf of the lodge and his many friends, before being visibly moved as the brethren stood and sang happy birthday to him.

In his reply, Harold thanked everyone for coming, but felt overwhelmed by the turnout. He thanked the brethren of Derwent Lodge for their friendship over the years and Margaret, well, just for being there!

At 10pm Harold and his daughter took their leave, mentioning that even at the age of 100 years old he still needed his beauty sleep! He left to a standing ovation!

All of the brethren present on this magnificent occasion had spent the evening in the company of a very special man and mason and a true gentleman in every sense of the word!

Wednesday 9th July 2014 was a very special night for the members of Synthonia Scout Group as the bond between Freemasonry and charity was yet again demonstrated

John Lockhart Webster, Chair of Durham Benevolence joined the Master of Eanred Lodge No. 7478, Nick Howell along with other members of the lodge to visit Synthonia Scout Group at Billingham.

They enjoyed an evening of fun and games with over 100 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and their parents. The Group Scout Leader, Mark Anderson, Senior Warden of Indaba Lodge No. 9454 wanted to express the Group’s thanks to all the supporters of the Scout Group. They particularly wished to thank Durham Freemasons for the £1,000 grant presented on the evening as part of the non-masonic grants scheme.

This was a significant contribution to the recent purchase of the group's splendid minibus, which has become an essential part of the setup, helping to get members to camp and other outdoor activities, as transport had become a very expensive part of all of previous adventures.

Synthonia Scout Group executive members are constantly fundraising to support the active members of the group in purchasing equipment to expand the experience and lifestyle skills of the young boys and girls, whilst providing a safe environment within their headquarters.

Also attending the fun night was the manager of a local company GrowHow, the company having just successfully completed a full plant shut down and refurbishment with zero hours accident recorded, they had funds to offer local charities and Synthonia received a cheque to the sum of £300.    

After the presentations everyone enjoyed the sausage sizzle. Most of the masons and parents limited themselves to having a go at the archery and eating the sausages. However, two of the members of the lodge, Nick Howell and Mark Davies, tried their hands at Water Wars: a game of catapults and balloons filled with water. Their flames of enthusiasm were quickly extinguished by the shooting accuracy of the young Scouts, much to the delight of everyone watching.

Eanred Lodge have assisted Synthonia Scout Group in the past by supporting members of the group who have attended several World Scout Jamborees, held every four years, the next being held in Japan and again Synthonia Scout Group have had a member selected to attend and represent the UK, more fundraising to follow.

When the Provincial Grand Master of Durham, Norman Eric Heaviside, announced earlier in the year an exciting new initiative to finance the re-flooring of the Great Kitchen at Durham Cathedral as a legacy from Durham Freemasons to celebrate our tercentenary, it was hoped that it would be well received

The manner in which this project has captured the hearts of the Brethren of Durham has been staggering, with donations flooding in from every possible avenue. 'Paving the Way' as it has been dubbed, has already seen over £70,000 pledged as lodges, chapters, individual members and other masonic orders dig deep to support our world heritage site.

To mark the milestone of achieving half the desired target, the Dean of Durham Cathedral, Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove was invited to the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham held at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston in June.

In a historic moment, Provincial Grand Lodge was 'called off' to admit the Dean who was applauded on entering and taking his seat on the stage. Norman Eric Heaviside then delivered his address to the brethren and invited the Dean to address the brethren and tell them a little more about 'Open Treasure' the major multi phase development project taking place at Durham Cathedral.

The Dean delivered an outstanding talk to the Brethren in which he explained why the project was so important to the cathedral and what part the great kitchen would play in the new display area. He also took the opportunity to thank the Freemasons of Durham for their generosity and enthusiasm and hoped that this partnership that had existed for decades would continue to flourish.

On conclusion of this address the Provincial Grand Master presented the Dean, with a cheque for £50,000 representing half of the money pledged, to rapturous applause by the brethren.

Durham Scouts adapt

At a meeting of Quest Lodge, No. 7102, in Seaham, representatives of Durham Scouts received a grant to buy special adaptation kit to enable handicapped Scouts to participate in practical Scouting. The grant was presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Howe to Sheila Gibbon, assistant county commissioner for special needs. 

Scout leaders, together with wives and friends, attended the meeting where they were invited into the lodge room to hear a presentation on the similarities between Freemasonry and Scouting. Quest Lodge Master Raine Gregson led the initial fundraising with a social evening, which raised £600, and Durham Provincial Grand Lodge added a further £1,000 to the donation. 

Hartlepool cycles for charity: Six members of a Hartlepool lodge in the Province of Durham have cycled in a 60-mile round trip and raised more than £2,200 for masonic and local charities

Ian Burton, Laurie Leck, Martin Green, Paul Pearson, Ian Lister and Steve Legg from Heortnesse Lodge, No. 4639, with Kevin Godfrey in the support vehicle, set out from the masonic hall in Raby Street, Hartlepool (pictured above) to cycle to Raby Castle and back. The money raised will go to Hartlepool & District Hospice, South Cleveland Heart Fund and various Durham masonic charities. 

Monday, 11 November 2013 13:31

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Durham tries again

There is nothing like healthy sporting rivalry between Provinces, and so it proved when Durham masonic rugby team took to the field at Darlington RFC in an exciting rematch against the reigning champions, Northumberland

Last year Durham had only eight players but returned with 25 recruits to win 36-29. Durham club chairman Andrew Dixon said: ‘My two great passions of rugby and Freemasonry came together today with a spread from right across the Province – several Durham lodges and nearly as many rugby clubs were represented.’ A raffle and the sale of refreshments raised £600 for the club’s charity for this year, the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

All aboard the Trincomalee

Built in 1817, HMS Trincomalee is a wooden sailing frigate constructed shortly after the Napoleonic Wars. Following the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, visiting the oldest Royal Navy warship still afloat in 2012, it was fitting that Grand Secretary Nigel Brown would start his visit to Durham Province with a dinner aboard this world-famous vessel in Hartlepool. The Durham masonic group, headed by Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside, was greeted at the entrance to the interactive museum by HMS Trincomalee Trust members, and given an insight into the upkeep and restoration of the ship.

When Ian Kirkbride, Provincial Information Officer for the South of the Province of Durham, enquired into the possibility of Hartlepool’s Central Library displaying copies of the Gazette, he opened up one of the best opportunities there’s been for promoting the Craft

Diane Marlborough, the library’s Events Co-ordinator was only too pleased to approve the request, and having already experienced the generosity of local Freemasons whose donations had earlier helped with their 'Here and Now' project (help for the elderly and those experiencing memory difficulties) she offered to host an exhibition to further promote Freemasonry in general and Hartlepool’s contribution in particular.

Ian contacted W Bro John Thompson of Harte Lodge No. 4217 who had helped with the earlier project and asked him if he’d like to take it on. John readily accepted and began by recruiting a team comprising Bro Bill Horsley of Haven of Rest Lodge No. 4350, experienced in organising Hartlepool’s annual Carol Service with John, and fellow Harte Lodge member W Bro Kevin Dixon. Further assistance was forthcoming from W Bro Peter Kay who edits the famous local masonic newsletter The Heugher News, and W Bro Peter Hodgeson, both local respected masons from the town.

The exhibition runs from 29th July and run for 5 days.

John said, 'The team are focusing on 3 themes: Freemasonry in general, Freemasonry in the community of Hartlepool, and charitable giving, both nationallly and locally throughout Durham.'

'Local Masons have volunteered to act as guides throughout the exhibition to answer questions that the public may have.'

'Open days are also planned for the Friday night of 2nd August to round off the exhibition at both of the town’s Masonic centres of Raby Road and Regent Street on the Headland.'

He went on, 'We’re already getting great support from the Provincial executive, and Adam Lamb at the Provincial Library and Harry Norman who masterminds the TLC Teddies project in our area.'

The intention is on the completion of the exhibition it will be moved to a permanent disply in Raby Road masonic building with the view that if other masons around the Province would like to use it in their area, it will be made available to them.

'This goes to the heart of Freemasonry in the Community, I’m a Mason and proud of what we do and what we have accomplished as local Freemasons in hartlepool and on a wider scale within the Province of Durham,' John continued.

John would love to hear from anyone willing to act as ‘guides’ or give of their time in any way to ensure the project is a success and can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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