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Bedic ‘Double’ Celebration with a ‘Triple’ Presentation


March 2019

The earlier than normal start for the February meeting of Bedic  lodge, who meet at the Masonic Hall in Shiney Row, had a very special significance, it marked the 75th Anniversary of the lodge. The evening also was to celebrated a 50 year long service achievment for one of its members, Edwin Howell.


To commemorate this double celebration, the Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur, accompanied by a full Deputation of Provincial Officers, swelled the ranks of to an almost full capacity lodge room.  After being ‘warmly’ welcomed into the lodge, John Arthur was quick to allow the master Andrew Crow to proceed with a very busy schedule of the remainder of the evening. The first business of the evening was a concise explanation of the history of Bedic Lodge from its consecration in 1943, delivered by John Kelly. Most of these extracts were taken from the workings of a publication the lodge is working on, which we are told will be available in the not too near future.


Next on the agenda was part two of the celebrations, a long service certificate presentation to Edwin Howell,  well known by everyone as Eddie, he was born in Deptford, Sunderland on 11th May 1932. At 15 years of age he began an apprenticeship as a Bricklayer. This was interrupted by two years National Service in the Royal Artillery, during which he met his wife Jean. They married in August 1954 and have a daughter called Kay.


Ed continued working as a Bricklayer until he set up his own building business in 1960 which continued until he retired, although it is unclear exactly when he retired!  Ed’s  Masonic career began when, after being proposed for membership by his older brother Charles, he and his other brother Tom were initiated together into St.Nicholas Lodge on 4th February 1969 and both being Raised together on 7th October 1969. Ed became Master in 1981. Ed was also a  Director of Burdon Road Masonic Temple for 10 years and was responsible for the maintenance of the building.  He became a regular visitor at Bedic and became a joining member February 2012.  Outside of freemasonry Ed  formed the Wear Harmony male voice choir which performed throughout the area for various organisations and raised some £10,000 for various Charities during its 10 years of existence, whilst also helping in the running of  the Sunday evening social at Seaham Masonic Hall for a great number of years. As well as this Eddy has been a racing pigeon fancier since the age of 10 and is a judge of considerable reputation in the racing pigeon world.


Closing off, John read from an email he had received from Ed’s daughter Kay,  ‘Dear John, Dad is really looking forward to celebrating this special occasion, can you just add the time when my father was caught out pointing the gable end of Seaham Masonic Hall. At the time dad was 80 years old and he knew how I would respond if he told me his intention of carrying out this work. So what did he do? ‘kept quiet’ and didn’t tell me. One day I was out shopping and was talking to a friend of dad’s who is also a member of Seaham Masonic Hall. He said’ I was talking to your dad the other day can’t believe he is still working, he was up the ladders pointing the gable end at Seaham it was absolutely freezing’. When I asked dad about this he said ‘well I didn’t tell you cause I knew what you would say!!’


After the reading of the certificate Ed was presented and saluted by John before being seated again. The Master then immediately rose to present John with a very large cheque equating to the lodge’s number of £5915 to go towards the Festival.


Next on the billing, Brother Tom Keers, the Tyler of Bedic Lodge, came forward to present a new ‘Pointer to the lodge to mark the 75th anniversary. The master, Andrew Crow, informed us that Tom had  formed the Durham Stickmakers at Fence Houses Community Centre 20 years ago and is the Chairman of the Border Stickdressers Association, an international organisation with over 400 members. Brother Tom has presented sticks to HRH Prince Charles, and attended his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. He has represented the Border Stickdressers in the presence of HRH, Her Majesty The Queen, at Holyroodhouse Garden Party.


Tom then explained during the presentation that the pointer was to be used when explaining the Tracing Boards, and is made from English hazel that has been cut and allowed to season for 2 years. It was then straightened and given 5 coats of clear laquer before shaping and attaching a Scottish ox horn to form the pointer handle. A commemorative plaque detailing the Lodge number and consecration date was then fitted and sealed into the top of the handle, thus completing the pointer. Following on from this, the Assistant Grand Chaplain, Julian Ward, conducted a wonderful Dedication service of the new Pointer.


In the packed Festive board, the celebrations continued with a welcomed short response by John Arthur to his toast whilst still thanking Bedic for their warm welcome, a tremendous cheque for the festival before giving the ‘thumbs up’ to the organisers Sean Anderson, John Kelly and Alan Gettings, for managing a very busy schedule of events that evening.  On the reply to the visitors, the Provincial Junior Warden, David Dorwood, thanked the lodge for their hospitality and paid tribute to his friend Eddie Howell on receiving his 50 year certificate. Ed on his response, now that he’d found his voice….thanked everyone for a most memorable night .


Well done to all those involved in organising this event, and don’t forget to look out for Bedic’s publication of this next chapter of their history.

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