Recent Masonic News and Events
From 2020 onwards . . .
Our new Lodge Website was completed in March 2020. Below are some ‘Masonic News’ stories from that date onwards . . .
At our March 2020 Meeting, the first of our new masonic year, Bro S.A. Lee, our WM, and his Officers worked a First Degree Ceremony with a candidate who had shown interest through Social Media, Bro DAVID STANYON. Bro David's application was handled by one of the Brethren within our Province who work in this area of Membership and he was recommended to consider our Lodge. We met and spoke with him on several occasions and he expressed his interest to become a member, so we completed the start of his membership at this meeting.
Bro K.E.C. Howe, PAsstPGM could not attend our Annual Meeting but we were delighted to have him at our March Meeting. Bro Howe has a special friendship with our WM that went back to when Steven Lee was his Director of Ceremonies and he made mention of this in his very amusing words and style at the Festive Board, replying on behalf of the Visiting Brethren. A good night was had by everyone attending with the ceremony performed to a high standard. The Festive Board had well over 35 brethren dining. Thirty St Mary’s Brethren attended the meeting, a great turnout and testimony to the work being done within the Lodge to keep everyone involved, by introducing new members, and, at the same time, keeping up the standards expected both in ceremony and masonic protocol.
CORONAVIRUS . . .
On Tuesday, 27th of March 2020, the MW Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, KG, made the following announcement:
‘‘In view of the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic, all Lodge and Chapter meetings
within England and Wales are suspended for a period of four months with immediate effect’’
This unprecedented step will mean hardships for many individuals, their families, and of course all those involved within our organisation. We must look after the health and welfare of those close to us and consider those brethren who may need assistance.
A resumption of Lodge Meetings was intimated in a letter dated 17th of July 2020 from UGLE. Discussions within Provinces and Lodges will be ongoing with the safety of members the prime consideration. Since then, as the Coronavirus escalated, a further message was issued from UGLE suspending Freemasonry until the Government lifts restrictions, whereupon a review will be made by UGL England and PGL Durham.
In late March 2021, UGL announced that current restrictions on Masonic meetings and dining will be lifted from June 21st, although it is not yet clear what restrictions or Government guidance will take their place.
St. Mary's Lodge did not hold any Regular Meetings or Lodges of Instruction in April, May, June, September, October, November or December 2020 and this continued into 2021 due to the Coronavirus situation. Apologies were received by our Lodge Secretary from many Officers and Brethren and there were not enough Brethren present (Covid-19 permitting) to form a quorum and so no meetings were held.
Further to the Notice of lifting of restrictions by the Government and UGL, St Mary's Lodge have taken the decision to commence Meetings in September 2021, Friday the 3rd of September, 6.45pm. Our Lodge Secretary will send out details to all Officers and Members as we look to continue with our Masonic business. We have several candidates to introduce to Freemasonry and it is hoped that we can return to regular Meetings from this date onwards.
At the Annual General Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge that should have been held in June 2020, the RW PGM would have conferred the rank of Past Provincial Grand Steward (PPGStwd) on Bro. Paul John McKie, IPM and Lodge Almoner. Paul was delighted to receive this very special honour and our Lodge congratulate him and share his joy on his preferment.
The Annual Promotions Meeting (or Christmas Party as it has become known) was due to be held in October 2020 but again had to be cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. Our WM, Bro S.A. Lee was promoted to PPJGW and we share with Ryton Holy Cross Lodge in the delight that our SW, Bro. D. Anderson, was also promoted to PPJGW. Congratulations to these two worthy Brethren.
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of two of our Brethren in December 2020. Bro. Derek Bell, PPrGStwd and Bro. Robert M. Gibson, PGStdB, PPJGW, both passed away. Both of these Brethren contributed hugely to Freemasonry in Gateshead and within their Lodges and Province, they will be dearly missed by everyone. Bro. Derek Bell joined our Lodge from Northbourne Lodge and Bro. Bob Gibson from the Lodge of Industry (he was originally a Member of Borough Lodge) when their respective Lodges closed. Bro. Derek's and Bro Bob's funerals were well attended by our WM and Brethren, Covid-19 permitting, and we express our sincere condolences to their wives and families.
At the 2021 Annual General Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge that should have been held in June 2021, the RW PGM is to confer the rank of PPAGReg on Bro. Andrew Hedley, PM. Andrew is delighted to receive this very special honour and our Lodge congratulate him and share his joy on his preferment. At the same meeting Bro. Alf Fox will be promoted to PPGSwdB, through his Mother Lodge, Saint Edmunds Lodge, however we share Bro. Alf's delight in this honour conferred.
Our long-serving Lodge Secretary, Bro. George R. Tatters, was promoted in June 2021 to PPJGW. With the work that George carries out for our Lodge and Freemasonry in general, this is a reflection of how respected he is and we congratulate him on this promotion and hope he has many years enjoying his new Provincial Rank.
It is with sadness that we announce the death of Bro Frederick Lonergan Crawford, PM, PPJGW, who passed away in May 2021 after a short illness. Fred Crawford was an Honorary Member of our Lodge but had been in the Chair in 2001. He was a real character, known to so many brethren in Gateshead and beyond. His mother Lodge was Beaconsfield but he had a special place for St Mary's Lodge, where he never missed a meeting. Bro. Fred's funeral was very well attended by our WM and Brethren, Covid-19 permitting, and we express our sincere condolences to his family.
On Friday 3rd December 2021, Bro Paul Kenneth McFarling was elected as the Durham Benevolent Representative taking over from Bro Alf Fox who has served the Lodge well in this role. Our thanks go to Alf for all his efforts and work on our behalf.
On Friday 3rd December 2021, Bro. Dean Anderson was elected WM for the ensuing year. Our current WM, Bro. S.A. Lee will have occupied the Chair of our Lodge for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bro Dean was installed with great dignity on Friday 4th of February 2022 with over 90 taking their place at the Annual Dinner afterwards.
At our First Regular Meeting of the new masonic year, on Friday the 4th of March, Bro. David Stanyon was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason after waiting more than two years to reach this. We wish him all the very best in his masonic career and his future enjoyment within our Lodge. In the following months of April, May and June the Lodge worked the Third Degree.
Although not a Craft matter, we are nonetheless delighted to record and acknowledge that Bro. George R. TATTERS has been recognised in Supreme Grand Chapter as PAGDC through DeBurghi RAC No. 424. A tremendous personal honour and one that we share in. Many congratulations George. The Investiture was on 28th of April 2022 at Great Queen Street and George was accompanied by Bill Baty.
Our new Provincial Grand Master Designate, WBro. John, P. Thompson will be installed at PGM/GrandS at a meeting on Saturday 25th of June at Dunston. He will then install his new Deputy and Assistants. At the Annual Meeting of PGL to be held on Saturday 3rd September at Rainton Meadows, Bro. M. Marshall will be promoted to PPJGW, many congratulations Malcolm.