Email: Tel: 0191 567 5365

Provincial Team

Headed up by John Paul Thompson, who is both the Provincial Grand Master of the Craft and the Provincial Grand Superintendent of the Chapter, the team comprises his Deputies, Assistants and Principals, ably assisted by the Provincial Grand Secretary.

RWBro John Paul Thompson

John was born in Billingham in 1968 and has lived all of his life in the Town. He has been married to Andrea for over 30 years. They have three children, Danni, Joseph and Katie.

John was appointed Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2013, promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2014, received Grand Rank as PAGStB in 2015, and was promoted to PSGD in 2018.

After his appointment as Assistant Provincial Grand Master on 30th November 2017, John was given responsibility for the Lodges in the West of the Province, as well as continuing as our 2021 Festival Director. As of the 26th June 2021 and revision of the Provincial Map, John assumed responsibility for the Lodges in the South East of the Province. John stepped down from his role as Assistant Provincial Grand Master quarter three of 2021, having served the office and the Province for four years and having completed the 2021 Festival.

He was installed as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of Durham on Saturday, 25th June 2022.

WBro Michael Graham

Michael was born in South Shields in 1972 and lives in Jarrow with his wife Kelly and son Joseph. Michael has been in the Motor Trade for most of his life and is a Partner in successful independent Motor Factor in South Tyneside.

Michael served as part of the Communications Team for nearly a decade, and was appointed Provincial Communications Officer in 2011, a post he served in until his appointment as Assistant Provincial Grand Master in October 2018. As of the 26th June 2021 and revision of the Provincial Map, Michael assumed responsibility for the Lodges in the North East of the Province.

In what little spare time Michael has, he enjoys, fine wines, watching movies, and following his beloved Newcastle United.

Michael was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master on the 25th June 2022.

EComp Michael Stuart Shaw

Michael was born and educated in Stockton-on-Tees. He attended Leeds University, graduating in Chemical Engineering, and has worked for some time as a Chartered Chemical Engineer.

Since returning from a couple of years working in South Africa in the mid-1980s, Michael has lived in the village of Long Newton, just outside Stockton. Outside Freemasonry, Michael’s interests include music, especially classical. He organises regular concerts and musical events in Long Newton, and is occasional organist at the village church.

Michael was appointed Third Provincial Grand Principal in his own Chapter on 13th March 2014 after serving the Royal Arch as Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals since 2011. He was promoted to Deputy Grand Superintendent on 6th October 2018. As of December 9th 2021, Michael assumed the role of Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent in Charge.

On the Installation of John Paul Thompson as Provincial Grand Superintendent, 25th June 2022, Michael was reappointed to the position of Deputy Grand Superintendent.

Michael was recently installed as Inspector General for the District of Durham in the Rose Croix degree.

WBro Clinton Leeks

Clinton was born in Bromley in Kent and educated in Surrey. After graduating with a degree in Modern History from Oxford in 1975 he joined the Hong Kong Government, where he worked mainly on immigration, internal security, relations with China and developing Hong Kong’s infrastructure. In 1999 he was awarded the OBE and returned to the UK with his family. He has since worked on delivering UK rail infrastructure, along with several charitable projects, while retaining close business links with the Far East.

Clinton has been married to Victoria, a ceramics artist, since 1986 and they have two adult sons.

He used to be a keen marathon runner but now prefers hill-walking, swimming and cycling, while retaining his lifelong passion for history.

Clinton was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master Designate on the 26th June 2021 and assumed responsibility for lodges that meet in the South West of the Province. He was invested at a special meeting held at his Mother Lodge, Universities, in September 2021. In June 2022 at the Investiture of the new Provincial Grand Master, RWBro John Paul Thompson, he assumed responsibility for the lodges in the North East of the Province.

WBro Andrew Charles Moule

Andrew was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Yarm. After graduating from the University of London in Pharmacy in 1985, he and his pharmacist wife Sarah, took over and ran a pharmacy in Middlesbrough, specialising in the treatment of addiction. They sold the business and both retired in 2015. They have two adult daughters. Andrew enjoys golf, WW1 history, and is learning to dance, somewhat late in life.

Andrew was appointed Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals in 2014, and became the Second Provincial Grand Principal in October 2018, a role he relinquished in September 2021 when he was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master designate in the Craft. He was Invested in that Office on the 6th October 2021.

WBro John David Watts

John was reappointed as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master on the 25th June 2022.

Further information to follow.

WBro Andrew Peter Fall Foster

Andrew was born in Darlington. He was educated, with his brother, at the Royal Masonic School in Bushy after the untimely death of his father.

He married Angela in 1978 and they have a son, Timothy, a daughter, Rebecca, and three grandchildren. He worked in Darlington at Whessoe Heavy Engineering for 25 years before moving to Stanhope and then York where he took up similar roles. Andrew enjoys Golf and was secretary to the local Rugby and Cricket clubs for some 25 years.

He joined Freemasonry in 1981. He was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2002, was the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of ceremonies for 5 years before becoming Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, an office he held for six years. He was the Founder and first Worshipful Master of the Durham Provincial Grand Stewards' Lodge and was awarded the Provincial Grand Master's Certificate of Service to Freemasonry in 2016. In Grand Lodge he was appointed to Past Grand Director of ceremonies in 2007 and promoted to Past Junior Grand Deacon in 2015.

He was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master and invested on 25th June 2022.

EComp David Nigel Hanson

David was born in Sunderland in 1967 and attended Southmoor Comprehensive School. On leaving school he joined Vaux Breweries and has been involved with the licence trade ever since. He is currently a self employed Stocktaker.

David and his wife Marilyn have 4 granddaughters and a grandson of which they are immensely proud. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf where he is a member of Houghton le Spring Golf Club. He has recently retired from playing cricket after 40 years.

He was initiated into Sportsman’s Lodge on the 6th December 1991 and was very fortunate to be the Lodge’s first candidate. He became Master in 2003 and was honoured by Province in 2010 being appointed ProvAGDC and in 2012 he was appointed ProvDGDC, a position he held for 4 years. In 2016 he was appointed Acting GStB in the United Grand Lodge of England.

In the Mark Degree, David was advanced into Union Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 124 on the 25th February 1993. He became Master of the Lodge in 2000 and received Provincial honours in 2004, Past Provincial Grand Senior Deacon. In 2014 he was promoted to acting Grand Senior Warden and was appointed Assistant Grand Secretary in December 2016. In June 2017 he was promoted to Assistant Provincial Grand Master and was honoured in Mark Grand Lodge to acting Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. He was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Mark in 2018.

In Chapter, David was exalted into Williamson Royal Arch Chapter in 1993. He became First Principal in 2013 and is a founder member of Sportsman’s Royal Arch Chapter. He was honoured by Province in 2016, being appointed Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, which was followed by Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, a post he only relinquished when being appointed and invested as the Second Provincial Grand Principal on the 25th June 2022.

Monday 28th November 2022 was a very special day in the Mark Master Masons of Durham calendar at “The Fed” in Dunston. Over 200 brethren gathered to witness the Installation of David as the new Provincial Grand Master.

EComp Dr Rakesh Bhalla

Rak was born and brought up in Leicester and then went to The Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff. Having completed his Junior Doctor training, he started his career in General Practice in 1988 in South Shields. After 30 years as a GP Partner and then Senior Partner and being involved in Primary Care at many different levels, he took semi-retirement in 2018. He now works two days a week in General Practice and is also an Associate Director of South Tyneside CCG. His vision has always been of General Practice being a personalised care service and he now leads on this transformation in the CCG.

In Freemasonry he joined Mowbray Lodge No5373 in 1993 and has been Master on three occasions. He was Provincial Senior Warden in 2006 and was proud to receive Grand Honours in 2011 as PAGDC. In the Royal Arch he is a member of Chapter of Strict Benevolence No97 and has been MEZ twice. In 2016 he was appointed Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals a role he thoroughly enjoyed, supporting the Executive Team. He was appointed PGStB In Supreme Grand Chapter in 2020. He was appointed as the Third Provincial Grand Principal in September 2021.

Rak is married to Julie, and they have two sons both living and working in London. Family time, his garden and DIY projects are how he spends his spare time, and he has a new friend called Shitake, his son’s puppy, who is a joy and keeps him occupied.

WBro Tom Gittins

Tom has over 35 years’ experience in education, 25 of which were spent in the role of Primary School Head Teacher in three schools. He retired from Education at the end of 2014.

He has been happily married to Gillian for 43 years. They have two grown up children, Jonathan who is a Barrister (and a Freemason) and Ellie who is a Primary School Teacher, as well as two grand children who keep him busy when not on Masonic duties.

Tom is a member of Tees Lodge No. 509 in Stockton, Tees Chapter No. 509, as well as a being a member of a Lodge in the Province of YNER.

Having already served the Province as a Past Provincial Grand Steward and Communications Officer for the South of the Province, Tom became the Provincial Grand Secretary and Scribe Ezra on 1st January 2016. Tom was very proud to receive Grand Rank in the Craft in 2018, and in the Royal Arch in 2019.

As a long standing Season Ticket holder at Leeds United - Tom is always mindful of life’s ups and downs!

  • TLC Teddy Initiative……

    “thank you Freemasons for the thousands of teddies donated to children’s casualty departments”

  • Community Support Grants…..

    “The grant from Durham Freemasons has made an enormous difference to our service users”

  • Provincial Annual Meeting….

    “The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”….

  • Masonic Widows……

    “My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”

  • Provincial Meeting…..

    “The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”

  • The Royal Arch…..

    “I feel that I have a much better understanding of the whole Masonic story after joining the Royal Arch”

  • What have you gained?

    “I’ve made wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life who I wouldn’t otherwise have even met”

  • In respect to the TLC Teddy initiative

    “A child patient copes with medical treatment so much better when they’ve been given a TLC teddy”

  • What Freemasonry has done for you?

    “The teachings of the masonic ceremonies helped me to be a better father, better husband, better son and better neighbour”What Freemasonry has done for you

  • One of the best things I have ever done…

    “Along with getting married, the birth of my children and Sunderland winning the FA Cup, becoming a Freemason is one of the best things I’ve ever done”