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Some of the leading and most Senior Freemasons of the Province along with Grand Lodge Officers from Hartlepool were invited by the Trincomalee Trust to visit the ship, enjoy a tour and sample their hospitality with a meal in the Captains cabin

The group of Freemasons, headed by our Provincial Grand Master, RtWBro Norman Eric Heaviside accompanying the Grand Secretary were greeted in to the interactive museum entrance by members of the Trust and after a welcome drink they were warmly greeted by the booming and commanding voice of Colonel Euan Houstoun OBE. Euan expressed his gratitude to the visitors for attending and hoped that they would gain a better insight in to the great work carried out by the trust in the upkeep and restoration of this quite splendid and historical vessel.

The floor was handed over to Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Business Engagement) for Teesside University who then treated the guests to a most interesting and fact-filled brief history of the journey the ship has taken through the years. From its construction in Bombay in 1816 to its journey in 1987 to Hartlepool and its subsequent restoration to its former glory as it now lies.
The guests were then split in to 3 smaller groups and, after being warned of the low ceilings aboard the ship, were boarded and treated to a tour of all decks by the more than capable and extremely knowledgeable tour guides.

Now remember the warning of low ceilings, all of course heeded this, well apart from those whose heads could be heard knocking off solid oak wooden beams throughout the evening.
After the 3 tours had been completed everyone gathered on the Captains deck where the guests were treated to a fabulous meal and hospitality second to none.
During the evening it was discovered that the Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro Phil Rann was celebrating his birthday and it was suggested that some candles be brought on board to place in a cake to mark the occasion, without mentioning Phil’s age and with the usual custom being a candle for every year, we were correctly informed by staff that bringing a forest fire on to a ship made out of solid wood would not be the best idea.

After the impressive meal, Colonel Houstoun addressed the guests, thanking them again for their attendance and shared his hopes that this could be the start of a long running relationship between the Freemasons of Durham and the Trincomalee. He also paid tribute to the late Captain David Smith OBE, their Chairman who had sadly passed away only weeks ago in Malta after a short illness. Everyone present was then asked to rise and honour a toast to Captain David Smith marking the fantastic years of hard work and devotion he had showed and for his dedication in helping restore the Trincomalee to the marvellous spectacle that it is today

RWBro Heaviside responded to the toast and after the now recognisable sound of head meeting Oak he decided it was safest to respond, seated. In his response he thanked the Trust for their kind invitation, he thanked our tour guides for the evening for their excellent information and he thanked the fabulous catering staff for what really was an excellent meal. He urged the Brethren of Hartlepool to support the Trincomalee and reminded everyone of the thousands of youngsters who benefit from this marvellous attraction and can be inspired by its story, these youngsters are, after all .our future!

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