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 restrictions 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 RtW PGM conferred 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 was 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 four Third Degree Ceremonies, raising Bros. Martin Renwick, Keith Tyler and Dominic Mark Taylor; thank you all for your patience.
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 with the rank of 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 where George was accompanied to London by Bill Baty.
Our new Provincial Grand Master, RtWBro. John, P. Thompson was installed at PGM/GrandS at a meeting on Saturday 25th of June at Dunston. He then appointed and installed his new Deputy and Assistants.
At the Annual Meeting of PGL held on Saturday 3rd September 2022 at Rainton Meadows, Bro. Malcolm Marshall was promoted to PPJGW, many congratulations Malcolm.
In September 2022 we are delighted to record that Bro.Paul Sutton, PPJGW was appointed the First Lodge Membership Officer. (Bro Alf Fox, PPGSwdB was appointed as his replacement in February 2023.)
At our September 2022 Meeting, we hosted Brethren from Lodge Possilpark No. 1330 Scottish Constitution on what was the start of a relationship we hope to develop in the future. Eight Brethren attended our meeting and we look forward to returning the compliment in 2023.
At our final meeting of 2022, December 2nd, Bro. Joe Kendall was elected Master for the forthcoming year. His Installation will take place on Friday 3rd of February 2023. We also welcomed Bro. Adam Lamb, PAGDC and Bro. Tom Coulson, PJGD, and Adam presented our Annual Lecture entitled ''The Provincial Grand Masters of Durham'', a most interesting talk on this subject which was very well received. At the Festive Board, Bro. Bill Baty and Bro. Bryan Scott were presented with the Ravensworth Golf Trophy, a Competition they were successful in as Winners in July 2022. Our Annual Christmas Raffle raised £400; we received some wonderful harmony from Bro. Richard Straughan, and our Christmas meal was enjoyed by some 45 Brethren.
At our Annual Meeting on Friday 3rd of February 2023, our new Worshipful Master Bro. Joseph Kendall was installed into the Chair of St Mary's Lodge by Bro. Dean Anderson in a most exemplary and sincere manner. The Representative of the RtWPGM, Bro. K.E.C. Howe, PAPGM, PSGD, commented on the quality of the work done and that he was delighted to see our Lodge so strong and in such great heart. The Installation was attended by over 80 in the Lodge Room with several more joining them for the Annual Festival Dinner. Congratulations to our new WM and the Officers who were appointed and invested. (See Gallery for Pictures.)
At the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham in June 2023, Bro. Joe Smith was promoted to PPJGW, a honour well deserved and we wish him many years ahead to enjoy his new masonic rank.
At the 1st of September 2023 Regular Meeting the Lodge welcomed Bro. J.D. Watts, PSGD, AsstPGM, and his DC Bro. Jonathan Golightly. Bro. Watts presented a 50-Year Membership Certificate to Bro. Ken Bunn. The WM, his Officers and Brethren also Initiated Mr. THOMAS BODEN into the Lodge. Bro Watts commented on a 'splendid masonic evening' for those who were present. (See Gallery for Pictures.)
Friday 22nd September 2023. Visit by St Mary’s Brethren to Lodge Possillpark 1330 Province of Glasgow City, Scottish Constitution. (See Gallery for Pictures.)
Following the successful relationship between our Lodges that started in 2022, the Brethren of St Mary’s Lodge (Gateshead) returned the visit that Lodge Possilpark (Possilpark, Glasgow) had made to them in September 2022 with 12 St Mary’s Brethren going along to witness a Scottish Third Degree Ceremony at their Lodge in Glasgow. Led by our WM, Bro. Joe Kendall, we witnessed a Third Degree Ceremony with Bro Paul Sutton acting as a candidate.
Our WM, Bro. Joe Kendall was welcomed into the Lodge by their (Rt)Worshipful Master, Edward Dixon and St Mary’s Brethren formed two columns ahead of him. The ceremony started at 7.30pm and it did not finish until 10.30, then we retired to the Festive Board where the informality of the proceedings extended the evening considerably. Dinner was three courses: Scotch Pie; Chicken Curry and Rice and a Tunnock’s Biscuit; interesting but greatly accepted by all.
Back to the ceremony, where the ‘volunteer’ candidate for the evening was our very own Bro. Paul Sutton, PM, PPJGW of St Mary’s Lodge who was subjected to often ‘brutal treatment’ on his being Raised to the Sublime Degree of a MM. At some point it was unsure whether he would indeed be accepted as a new MM, such was the unabated ‘testing’ demanded and scale of the physical attention demanded of him!
Also in attendance on the evening were an Official Visit from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow (established 1739), led by their Deputy Provincial Grand Master, (R)WB Alan Cuthill who interestingly is a PM of another St Mary’s Lodge, Partick St Mary’s Lodge No. 117. WB Cuthill formally welcomed St Mary’s Brethren to the Province of Glasgow. He had also done his homework on our Lodge from Gateshead, commenting on St Mary’s Church and its prominent position on the Gateshead side of the iconic Tyne Bridge. The former Principal Church of Gateshead, for over 900 years it played a significant part in life in the Town and Boroug. He hoped that the association between our two Lodges would grow and be mutually beneficial to both parties. Bro Bill Baty, PM, PProvSGW thanked RWB Cuthill and his Provincial Brethren for the honour of being supported by them; he thanked him for his remarks and sentiments and wished them well.
At the Festive Board our WM Bro Joe Kendall spoke of the honour of heading our visit to Lodge Possilpark. In his own special way he made reference to the candidate, to the quality of the (long) ritual worked and for the generous hospitality afforded to us.
Several Possilpark Brethren have promised to attend our Lodge Installation in February 2024 (first Friday) when Bro. Joe Kendall will install Bro. Michael Kendall, his son, into the chair of St Mary’s Lodge; a unique and special occasion – all are welcome!
We look forward to seeing them next year and for the relationship between our Lodges to continue to grow, flourish and develop in the future.
At our Regular Annual Lecture Meeting on 1st of December 2024, we were delighted to receive a Talk from Bro. Gaurav Jamnadas, PPGStwd, Provincial Mentor. His topic was ''The Freemason AI Robot'' and it was very well received. Our Christmas Raffle raised £340 and we enjoyed a splendid Christmas meal prepared by our Chef, Neil. Bro Michael G. Kendall was elected as WM for the ensuing year, his installation will take place on Friday 2nd of February 2024