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First Platinum Award goes to Agricola Lodge


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Platinum is a chemical element with a symbol Pt and atomic number 78.  Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into “little silver”.  Its current market price is £747.73 per ounce.  Platinum, also happens to be the (PGM’s Special Award) for Lodges who achieve 130% of the Lodges 2021 Festival target.  The target amount is based on the membership of each Lodge as stated in the 2016 year book.  It’s also worth mentioning that the Festival was only launched at the Sage in Gateshead on Sunday 24th January 2016.

To celebrate this and, present the first Lodge in the Province of Durham to reach this milestone, the Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside made his way to Agricola Lodge in Durham on Tuesday 22nd November.  The evening was a double celebration for the Agricola brethren, as Timothy Allan Mace was installed as the Master of the Lodge on a special celebratory evening.

Agricola Lodge is also known as the Farmers Lodge; in respect to this the Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge carries a Shepherd’s Crook inside the Lodge room.  Agricola is very much a family Lodge with a bond of fellowship and a can do attitude that is the envy of many Lodges in the Province.

The new Master’s first task after being installed into the chair was to present Eric with a large cheque both in size and total.  It was for the magnificent sum of £7,741, a sum which relates to the Lodges No. 7741.  Eric thanked the Agricola Brethren for this fantastic donation and he would say more on this at the festive board.

As the Lodge is made up primarily of farmers, great store is placed on the quality of food at Agricola.  Installations offer a fantastic showcase with a selection of gastronomic delights.  The roast beef for the main course was supplied by Brian Hodgson, who does a fantastic job as the Lodge’s Charity Steward.  On evenings like this he comes into his own; as a farmer and butcher he supplied the beef and at the festive board and also carved it.  The empty plates were certainly testament to Brian’s skill and dedication, with many commenting on the superb quality of the beef.

The evening marked a new era in Agricola Lodge as Ian Snowdon stepped down as Secretary after 27years in the role.  Ian is 80 years of age and thought it was a good opportunity to pass the role on to one of the younger members.

Joining Ian on this very special evening by request of the Agricola Brethren was his wife Dorothy and son Neil.  The Brethren presented Ian with a clock and Dorothy with a medal for being married to Ian for over 50 years.

Eric thanked the Agricola Brethren and congratulated them on being the first Lodge in the Province to attain the Platinum award, adding that they are the Lodge that could be benchmarked by the innovating ways in which they raise money, from offering teas and coffees at the Durham Miners Gala, to the Hog Roast that they are famous for.

To mark this special occasion, Eric presented Allan with a framed certificate and, joining him in the presentation, was the 2021 Festival Director John Thompson who presented Brian Hodgson, the Lodge’s Charity Steward, with a Platinum Pin Badge.

John marked this special occasion with a crystal engraved memento of the Platinum Award that he hoped would be displayed on the table at the Lodge’s Festive board.

This brought a memorable evening to a close; one that the 100 dining brethren will long look back on with fond memories of a great evening at Agricola Lodge.




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