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A Golden Celebration at Old Dunelmian Lodge


April 2018

The Old Dunelmian Lodge was consecrated in 1966 and meets at the Masonic Hall in Old Elvet, Durham. They have six regular meetings of the Lodge, with the Installation held at Durham School.


At the April meeting of the Lodge, they welcomed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Paul Thompson, who joined the Old Dunelmian Brethren in Durham to honor one of its own long-standing members, Rodwell John Soper Harrison in his 50 years in Freemasonry.


After being welcomed into the Lodge room by Lloyd Pickering, the Lodges Master, The Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Kenneth Edward Coatsworth Howe, rose and delivered a heartfelt solemn Eulogy in memorandum of the sad passing of the last 2 remaining founder members of the Lodge.


The next business of the was to Pass to the Second Degree, John Paul Conroy and Thomas Williams. The double ceremony was carried out in a first-class manner and was enjoyed by everyone present on the evening.


John then invited Rod to come forward so he could begin the main business of the evening by presenting him with his 50-year certificate.


Rod was Initiated on the 26th April 1968; incidentally this is a special date for John as he was born the very next day.  Rods sponsor in the Lodge was a founder member and from the very start, was aware being a member of something special.


In 1981 he became Master of the Lodge, in those days the Installations took place in Old Elvet and he remembers that special year with some fantastic memories and great friendships. The following year he Installed his good friend Ken Howe into the chair of the Lodge, something again which gave him great pleasure.


Rod retired and moved to Spain; summer in Majorca and winter in Andorra, with skiing a passion of his.


During the evenings double Second Degree ceremony he delivered the Working Tools of the Second Degree in an excellent manner.


John then asked David Atkinson, his Provincial Director of Ceremonies, to read the certificate citation.  John congratulated Rod and passed on the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master on this wonderful Masonic milestone, before presenting the certificate to Rod.


Rod was taken aback by the evening and by the effort people had obviously taken for the evening and thanked everyone present for the evening which he certainly won’t forget.


As John and Thomas couldn’t stay for the festive board, Andrew Thompson the Junior Warden of the Lodge, stood in for the Lodge Mentor for the evening and presented them with their mentoring handbooks, which brought matters to a close in the Lodge Room.


At the festive board in the reply to his toast John congratulated Rod on his 50 years in Masonry, and on the enormous pleasure he had in making the presentation to him. The Lodge is well on its way to reach its Festival Target and currently it has reached 81% of it. John then highlighted the Chapter Convercation at the Lancastrian Suite on Wednesday 23rd May and the Provincial Promotions meeting again at the Lancastrian Suite on Saturday 23rd June.


John then had the great pleasure in presenting Michael Liddle with his MCF shirt as he is running the Great North Run on behalf of the 2021 Festival.


Ken Howe then proposed the toast to his good friend Rod and he looked back and remembered some great times and memories, he then presented Rod with a Print of the Durham School Cricket pitch with a view onto the school and chapel.


Rod was taken aback by this as was he with the evening.  He never thought people would go to this kind of trouble for him. He thanked everyone for the evening and it is one he will always remember.


The evening was brought to a close as all Old Dunelmian Lodge meetings are, with a rousing rendition of the Durham School song, “Floreat Dunelmia” (May Our School Flourish)


The Old Dunelmian Lodge was consecrated on 4th June 1966 and as the name suggests, it is the Former Old Boys Lodge of Durham School.


Durham School was Founded by the Bishop of Durham, Thomas Langley, in 1414, it received royal foundation by King Henry VIII in 1541 following the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the Protestant Reformation. It is the city’s oldest institution of learning.


Former students or Old Boys are known as Old Dunelmians. The school celebrated its 600th Anniversary in 2014.


Notable past pupils Old Dunelmians include,

Alexander Armstrong, Actor, Comedian, Singer and perhaps better known as the host from BBC Pointless.

Field Marshall Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, Commander in Chief of the British Army after the Duke of Wellington.

Granville Sharp, the founder of Sierra Leone.

Geoff Parling, Premiership and International Rugby Player (Leicester Tigers, England, British and Irish Lions.


Old Dunelmian are members of The Federation of School Lodges, the other members in the Province include the following.

Johnstonian Lodge No.9301, Durham. Old Barnadian Lodge No. 9358, Barnard Castle. Old Barnadian Chapter No. 9358, Barnard Castle.


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