Nearly 1,000 Freemasons and their families gathered for a special evening of thanks and celebration in style in the world heritage site that is Durham Cathedral in September, as the Province of Durham marked the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary

As well as brethren and their families from all corners of the Province, the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Eric Heaviside was honoured to have as his special guests HM Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, His Worship the Mayor of Durham, Councillor Bill Kellett, the Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett and the Assistant Grand Master RW Bro Sir David Wootton.

With the cathedral near to capacity, the service was conducted with precision and splendour; tributes associated with any formal Provincial Masonic occasion and with Durham Cathedral. Looking across the cathedral, the rows of pews were awash with gold and masonic blue. The evening was further enhanced with hymns from both the Cathedral Choir and Durham’s very own Masonic Choir, conducted by W Bro Paul Debenham.

In the middle of the service, the Dean of Durham handed over proceedings to the Provincial Grand Master who conducted a special award presentation from Durham Benevolence, distributing £100,000 in community support grants to 10 local charities and organisations who support children or young adults in need.

Award Recipients included:

  • Sunderland Minster – £25,800
  • Friends of Carlton Camp (Hartlepool) – £10,000
  • Enter CIC (Ferryhill) – £10,000
  • Cheesy Waffles (Durham) – £10,000
  • Home on the Range (Spennymoor) – £10,000
  • Heel & Toe Children’s Charity (Chester-le-Street) – £10,000
  • 2505 Squadron RAF Air Cadets (Bishop Auckland) – £10,000
  • Co Durham Young Farmers Clubs (Durham) – £7,000
  • Kayaks (South Shields) – £5,000
  • Hug In a Bag (Durham and Darlington) – £5,000

After the presentation, the Dean delivered his sermon, in particular paying tribute to the charitable giving of Durham Freemasons and went on to commend the very foundations on which Freemasonry is built – a respect for one another, kindness, honesty and trust.

Once again, the Province of Durham showed that when they do something, they do it in style. A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all who attended, with the Tercentenary celebrated in a fitting manner and local worthy causes supported for the future.

Durham masons preview cathedral sponsored stones

Durham masons who had been generous sponsors of Durham Cathedral’s Great Kitchen project, which is part of its Open Treasure development venture, were among a group of special guests invited to the cathedral.

Two years ago the Province set out to raise £100,000 for a new stone floor in the 14th-century kitchen by asking lodges and chapters to make a small donation, and by providing the opportunity for individuals to sponsor a stone. Through the initiative, Durham masons raised £136,000 in just 12 months, with individuals able to mark out the position of their stone. 

The special preview visit culminated in the 14th-century Great Kitchen, where sponsors were able to view and photograph their stone. 

Friday, 04 September 2015 01:00

New floor for Durham Cathedral's Great Kitchen

New Great Kitchen floor for Durham

A stone-laying ceremony has been held in the Great Kitchen of Durham Cathedral, during which the Dean Michael Sadgrove was presented with a cheque for £136,000 from the masonic community for the Open Treasure development project. Individual masons and lodges raised £121,000; £10,000 was donated by the Grand Charity; and £5,000 by Durham Benevolence.

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. 

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 Cathedral’s campaign to install Automated External Defibrillators in the Cathedral Church and its precincts is well underway thanks to a grant from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham of £1,600.

A defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses and treats Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  

In other situations, where defibrillators have been placed in the community, it has been shown to greatly improve survival rates, and with the Cathedral situated at the top of the Bailey, where access is sometimes restricted, we hope that the installation of defibrillators will allow for a quick and timely response should there ever be an emergency.  

The Dean of Durham Cathedral, The Very Rev Michael Sadgrove said, “The sanctuary knocker on Durham Cathedral’s north door reminds us of the Cathedral’s important role, throughout history, as a ‘safe place‘. Today, we extend our ministry of welcome to over 600,000 visitors every year, and their safety is of the utmost importance to us. As such, we are committed to equipping our building and preparing our staff and volunteers to deal with emergency situations, including the onset of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. We are so grateful to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham for their generosity, which could one day mean the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

Malcolm Wilkinson, a Cathedral Guide and Steward, and member of the Benevolent Committee of the Province of Durham was the crucial link between the two organisations. He said, “I was delighted to take to the committee the request for the grant towards the cost of the defibrillator. There has been a long association between Freemasons and the Cathedral, both of which I am privileged to serve. In an emergency, I know how important this equipment might be and I’m so pleased the Freemasons of Durham have been able to help towards the cost of providing it.”

Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Webster said, “Freemasons have been supporting Durham Cathedral for many centuries and when we heard of the desire to make this lifesaving equipment available in the Cathedral, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham was very pleased to assist by supplying sufficient funds to buy a defibrillator for the benefit of all who worship and visit there”.

Key Account Coordinator for St John Ambulance Commercial Training Division, Tom Dawson said, “St John Ambulance are committed to promoting the installation of defibrillators in as wide a variety of locations as possible and providing training of both CPR and use of defibrillators, and we are delighted to work at a local level with Durham Cathedral to consider the installation of defibrillators and the training of staff.”

On Tuesday 8th May 2012, the Chairman of the Provincial Benevolent Committee, AsstPGM John Webster accompanied by WBro Malcolm Wilkinson, the Benevolent Representative of Lodge Stewart No4261 attended the Cathedral where they presented a defibrillator to The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove MA FRSA DL, Dean of Durham Cathedral.

ugle logoSGC logo