Past News and Events
Below are listed some events that have occurred in the Lodge since the 75th Anniversary which occurred on Friday 1st of March 2002.
Friday 5th April 2002 the Lodge marked the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
Friday 7th February 2003 Bro Kevin Delaney was installed as Master. Kevin and his wife Kim are living down in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. That same year he received dispensation from Grand Lodge to take the Chair in Hagley Lodge No. 7932. (now amalgamated and called Hagley and Holy Wells Lodge No. 7932). This made him the WM of two Lodges. That same year a minibus was hired and about ten members of the Lodge (and a few others) went down to Bromsgrove on a Fraternal Visit where a Third Degree Ceremony was worked.
In November 2003 Durham Province gave permission for Lady Freemasons to use the Gateshead Masonic Hall and the furnishings. They were still not allowed to use personal items of the Freemasons such as collars, wands and the Volume of the Sacred Law.
Friday 5th November 2004 the WM of Hagley Lodge No. 7932 Bro A.L. Smith and Officers of his Lodge paid a Fraternal Visit to St. Mary’s. They worked a Second Degree Ceremony using the Worcestershire ritual (permission had been obtained from PGL) and Bro Kevin Delaney IPM acting as SW on the evening presented and explained the Tools and Charge.
Friday 3rd December 2004 Bro Geoffrey Hindmarsh Brown was elected as the Durham Benevolent Representative Taking over from Bro John Richardson Bolam who was moving to the Isle of Arran in Scotland.
Friday 4th March 2005 Bro Len Butler’s two sons, Leonard and Graham, were initiated into the Lodge. Both were students and as Graham was under 21 (DOB 28.11.85) the Lodge had to seek dispensation from United Grand Lodge.
8th April 2005 Bro Frederick William Hindmarsh Apedaile PJGD, PPJGW one of our two Grand Officers in the Lodge passed away aged 93. Bro Fred joined in 1947, was Master in 1960 and received his 50 year Certificate in 1997. His first appointment was that of Provincial Treasurer in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham, then PPJGW. Fred's first appointment in Grand Lodge was as PAGDC and then PJGD. He was the Senior Grand Officer in the area for many years.
7th November 2005 Bro Walter Harold Beavan CBE, PPGTreas died aged 89 years. Bro Walter joined in 1948 and was Master in 1962. He was a stalwart of the Lodge in the 1950's to the 1970's when bad health prevent him from attending.
Wednesday 28th March 2007 Bro Ray Wilson, PAGDC, PPJGW, our remaining Grand Officer received his 50 year Certificate at his home, being unable to attend the Lodge due to illness. Raymond was Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1976.
September 2007 Bro Neville Percy Johnson being unable to attend the Lodge, received his 50 year Certificate from Bro George Clark APGM.
7th March 2008 Bro John Richardson Bolam PPJGD travelled down from Scotland to receive his 50 year Certificate from Bro George Clark APGM.
In 2008 Bro Kevin Delaney was promoted to PPSGD in Worcestershire. He had also been WM in Hagley Lodge No. 7932 and WM of Holy Wells Lodge No. 6975.
At the Regular Lodge Meeting in March 2016, Bro William Scott, PPAGStdB, PM and WM in 1984, was presented with his 50 Year Certificate by W.Bro J.D. Watts, APGM. Bill was also presented with some inscribed glasses from the WM as a memento of the occasion .
At the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in June 2016, the Provincial Grand Master appointed Bro Arnold Wilson as Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant and Bro John William Swinburn was appointed to the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge. Hearty congratulations to these two brethren.
At the Regular Lodge Meeting in November 2016, Bro John Robert Woolley and Bro Peter Douglas McFarling were raised in a ceremony performed by Past Masters of the Gateshead Lodges.
On the 14th of November 2016 Bro. Alf Fox, one of our Joining Past Masters, was installed into the Chair of Saint Edmunds Lodge No 7377 for the third time. We wish him well for this special year.
At the Promotions Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Rainton Meadows Arena in November 2015 our Treasurer, Bro Malcolm Marshall, PPJGD, was promoted by the Provincial Grand Master to Past Provincial Grand Registrar. The evening was attended by several St Marys brethren and we offer congratulations to Bro Malcolm and thanks for all the work he has carried out over many years within our Lodge. This promotion was truly deserved and we share in his delight at receiving it.
At the Promotions Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Rainton Meadows Arena in November 2016 our current WM, Bro Joseph Smith, PPJGD, was promoted by the Provincial Grand Master to Past Provincial Grand Registrar. The evening was attended by several St Marys brethren and we offer congratulations to Bro Joe from everyone. Footnote: the Saturday beforehand the Lodge held a Ladies Night at the Masonic Hall, Gateshead where Bro Joe Smith and his Lady Carole hosted a wonderful evening attended by 160 guests.
We acknowledge the recent passing in 2016 of two Past Provincial Grand Masters, the RW Bro, RtHon The Lord Barnard and RW Bro Dr Alan Martin Davison. Our sympathies go out to their families and we acknowledge the contribution they made to Freemasonry in Durham.
On Friday 3rd of February 2017, Bro Paul Sutton was installed into the Chair of the Lodge for the fifth time, more than any other Past Master in the history of our Lodge. In his Toast to the WM, PM Bro. William Baty mentioned the huge contribution Paul had made to our Lodge and to the area generally.
On Friday, 3rd of March 2017, Bro. Joseph Kendall, a joining Past Master from the Prince of Wales Lodge 2520, was the Junior Deacon and performed a lot of the ceremony of Initiation when his son, a Lewis, Mr. Michael George Kendall was initiated. A wonderful occasion for Joe and our Lodge and a very enjoyable Festive Board followed.
At the Lodge Regular Meeting in September 2017 the newly appointed Senior Warden of the Province of Durham, David John Green, ProvSGW, a PM of Clarence Lodge in Hartlepool, attended on a private visit.
On Friday, 6th of November 2017, Bro. Joseph Kendall took the Master's Chair and performed the majority of the ceremony of Raising when his son Bro Michael George Kendall was the Candidate. Another wonderful occasion for Joe and our Lodge.
On Thursday, 30th of November, Bro Kenneth Walker, PPGSupWks, a joining PM from Centenary Lodge No. 5509 received a Promotion to PPJGW at the PGL of Durham Annual Promotions Meeting. At the Lodge Regular Meeting the very next day, the 1st of December. Ken also received his 50 Year Certificate for membership of the Craft from Bro J.D. Watts, APGM. A good attendance were present with many of Ken's friends from Centenary Lodge and the many other Lodges he visited when a Lodge Officer. Ken suitably replied in a light hearted way in the Festive Board where he recollected attending St Aidan's Lodge in the early 1990's where a very young, almost boyish looking Worshipful Master was in the Chair, that individual was J.D. Watts. Ken also reflected on 50 years of happy Freemasonry and paid huge respect to his wife Brenda for her support over the years.
At the same meeting above our Annual Lecture was delivered by Bro. G.W. Dixon, PPSGW, PM of Tristram Lodge 2415. His enjoyable talk was entitled ‘‘The Mason and Masonic Law’’.
On Friday 2nd of February 2018, Bro Paul Sutton remained in the Chair of the Lodge for the sixth time, more than any other Past Master in the history of our Lodge. The Ceremony was a Proclamation Ceremony performed by Bro. Joe Smith, PM.
On Friday 2nd of March 2018 the country was in turmoil with the Beast from the East, snow covered most of the North East. Our WM and several brethren who lived near to the Masonic Hall met. They opened the Lodge, read the Minutes, declared that there were not enough brethren present to continue with the meeting and closed the Lodge. This complied with the Book of Constitutions and maintained the continuity of our meetings. Thanks to all those brave individuals who made the effort to meet.
The Lodge sadly announces the sudden death of Bro. W. Scott, PM, PPGStdB, WM in 1984 who passed away on Saturday 3rd of March 2018. Bill was a popular Freemason who, together with his late wife Hazel, contributed immensely to our Lodge. Our thoughts go with his family at this sad time.
On Friday 6th of April 2018, Bro David Thompson, PPSGD (Northumberland), a joining PM from Morden Lodge, and brother-in-law to Allan Jones, received his 50 Year Certificate for membership of the Craft from Bro J.D. Watts, APGM. A good attendance was present with some of David's friends from his Mother Lodge. David replied with humility and dignity to the toast given to him in the Festive Board where he was presented with a piece of inscribed crystal and a bottle of malt whisky by our WM to mark the occasion.
In May 2018 we welcomed Bro Alan Foster and Bro Derek Bell, two brethren joining our Lodge from Northbourne Lodge 3241. Sadly Northbourne Lodge closed and these two brethren are to continue their Freemasonry and membership of the Craft within St Mary's Lodge. We wish them both a long and enjoyable membership and association with us.
One of our Lodge’s most senior Past Masters; Bro John Richardson Bolam PProvJGD sadly passed away on Wednesday 24th April at the age of 88 at his home on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Bro John became a joining member of St. Mary’s Lodge in June 1984 from Moseley Lodge No. 3105. He was proposed by Bro Ray Wilson and Seconded by Bro Jack Guy. John R. Bolam was a very popular Freemason made excellent progress in the Lodge and was Invested as its Worshipful Master in 1991 and in due time rewarded in Provincial Grand Lodge with the Acting Rank of ProvJGD. On the death of the Lodges Durham Benevolent Representative Bro Jack Guy in 1994, Bro John took over the Office and introduced the little brown envelope scheme for members of the Lodge, with this initiative every year the Lodge reached its target to present to Province.
Bro John carried on as The Lodges Representative until his move to Scotland when he handed over the office to Bro Geoffrey Brown who carried on as he had done for man years; this office is now being carried out by Bro Alf Fox. On the 7th March 2008 Bro John travelled back to the North East and to St. Mary’s to receive his well deserved 50 year Certificate from W Bro George Clark PAGDC, APGM. Bro John was a well respected Freemason and gentleman, very highly thought of not only in this Lodge but in the Province. His funeral in Ardrossan, Scotland was attended by Bro Bill Baty and G. Tatters who reflected on a man and freemason of high stature. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
In June 2018 we welcomed Bro David Brooks, a PM of Norfolk Farmers Lodge No. 8392. Bro David had recently moved into the area to be with his family and was looking for a Lodge to join. We are delighted to have him as a member.
At the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at The Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, in June 2018, Bro Arnold (Arnie) Wilson was invested with the rank of PPGPurs by the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro N.E. Heaviside. Arnie has been the Lodge Senior Steward for many years and has been a significant member of St Mary’s Lodge. We wish him health and happiness to enjoy his new masonic rank. At our Regular Meeting in September 2018, Arnie responded to the Salutations given and also to his Toast at the Festive Board.
At a Special Meeting on Saturday, 6th of October 2018 at The Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro John Arthur was installed as Provincial Grand Master of the Craft and Provincial Grand Superintendent of the Chapter by the RW Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence together with a Deputation from Grand Lodge. The new Provincial Grand Master then invested Bro S.W. Walker as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and also Bros Simon Craig Steele, John Paul Thompson, Gordon Brewis and Michael Graham as Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.
In September 2018 we welcomed Bro Ian Coates who joined our Lodge from Ryton St Mary’s Lodge No. 6550. Ian has been a regular visitor to our Lodge for many years and his friendship with Paul McFarling has resulted in him joining us. We wish him a long and enjoyable time with us.
At the Promotions Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at The Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, in November 2018 our Chaplain, Bro James Alfred Armstrong, PPJGD, was promoted by the Provincial Grand Master to Past Provincial Grand Registrar. The evening was attended by several St Marys brethren and we offer congratulations to Bro Jim from everyone. Bro. Jim joined our Lodge from Saltwell Lodge 3000. We wish him many years to enjoy his preferment.
At the Regular Meeting in December 2018, the Annual Lecture was delivered by VWBro. George Clark, PPDGM, PProvSGW, PM of Ryton St Mary’s Lodge 6550. His talk was entitled ‘‘The Only Masonic Meeting Held in King Solomon’s Temple’’. The talk was very well received and enjoyed by everyone.
The Annual Festival in February 2019 saw Bro. Paul J. McKie installed into the Chair of the Lodge by the Installing Master, Bro. Paul Sutton. Paul Sutton had completed two years as WM and had given the Lodge a firm foundation for MM’s to come through and take office. The Installation was attended by over 100 brethren.
At the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at The Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, on 29th of June 2019, Bro Alan Leslie Ritchie was invested with the rank of PPGPurs by the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro J. Arthur. Alan joined our Lodge from Saltwell Lodge 3000 and has become an important member by serving as a Lodge Steward and then Senior Steward for some years; we wish him health and happiness to enjoy his new masonic rank. At our Regular Meeting in September 2019, Alan responded to the Salutations given and also to his Toast at the Festive Board.
On Friday 4th of October 2019, Bro Derek Bell, PPGStwd, a joining PM from Northbourne Lodge, received his 50 Year Certificate for membership of the Craft from Bro M. Graham, PSGD, APGM. Derek suffers from an illness that prevents him from holding dialogue but the presentation was carried out with great dignity and thought. Derek was presented with some inscribed glassware and a bottle of malt whisky at the Festive Board by our WM. Congratulations Derek, we hope you have many years to continue to enjoy your Freemasonry.
Our Regular Meeting in December 2019 was attended by the PPGM, RWBro N.E. Heaviside who delivered the Annual Lecture. He was accompanied by two assistants, Bro. T.F.R. Coulson and Bro. A. Lamb who did the visual side of the talk which was entitled ‘‘The Millennium Project at Durham Cathedral’’. It was a great honour to have a PPGM attending and his talk was extremely interesting and very well received. At the Festive Board afterwards, RWBro Heaviside reflected back on his time as APGM of our area and on the many friendships he had made within St Mary’s Lodge. He wished the Lodge the very best for the future.
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COVID-19, its effect on our Freemasonry and St. Mary's Lodge . . .
In December 2021 UGLE sent out the following communication:
''New Government restrictions have been imposed in England and in Wales in response to the Omicron variant. In accordance with the law and with Government guidance, the United Grand Lodge of England and Supreme Grand Chapter have changed their guidance on face coverings and they now recommend that Freemasons wear face coverings at Masonic meetings, unless exempt. Members are still encouraged to undertake a lateral flow test, available free from NHS Test and Trace, prior to attending any Masonic meeting''
All Brethren can be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of everyone will be our only concern when making any Covid-19 decisions
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During the Covid-19 restrictions, we have lost four of our Brethren:
Bro. DEREK BELL, PPGStwd. Bro. BOB GIBSON, PGStdB, PPJGW, in May 2021. Bro. FREDERICK L. CRAWFORD, PM, PPJGW and in July 2021 Bro. LES BUCK. All these Brethren are a significant loss to our organisation and our Lodge. St Mary's Lodge were well represented (Covid restrictions permitting) at their funerals. We send our sincere condolences to their families and paid due respect to their passing
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