Provincial Christmas Party 2017
The Annual Provincial Promotions meeting or the Provincial Christmas Party as it is often referred to this year took place at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston and hosted a record crowd.
Once again this was a fabulous opportunity for faces from all across the Province to meet with old friends, make new acquaintances and witness something we do rather well in the Province of Durham, excellent ceremonial and even better hospitality.
Provincial Grand Lodge was opened by the Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside after the several processions had everyone where they needed to be and the usual items of business were taken care of.
The first main item of business was to Install John Paul Thompson as a brand new Assistant Provincial Grand Master (click here to see separate article). With John in his new rightful place the Provincial Grand Master, assisted by the Director of Ceremonies Team proceeded to Promote Brethren in Provincial Grand Lodge being honoured for their continued hard work and dedication within their Lodges, their Masonic Halls and their communities.
With everyone back in their respective places Provincial Grand Lodge was ‘called off’ to allow David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation accompanied by representatives of the eight Charities receiving a special Support Grant to enter the meeting.
The Provincial Grand Master then delivered his address in which he congratulated all those that he had earlier promoted, he also summarised the tercentenary year, the future of our Masonic Centres, non-masonic Donations and gave an update on the 2021 Festival.
Eric also talked about the TLC Scheme and the huge success it had been, a lot of this had been down to the hard work of our Chief Teddy, Harry Norman who had successfully headed the TLC project for the last 12 years. Eric announced to the brethren that it was Harry’s intention to retire from that position and that Duncan Maw of St Oswald Lodge had agreed to take over the running of the scheme. In recognition of Harry’s outstanding commitment to the scheme the Provincial Grand Master requested that Harry be brought to the dais where to the delight of the Brethren he presented Harry with the Provincial Grand Master’s Certificate of Service to Freemasonry, an extremely high honour indeed.
It was now David Innis’s turn to address Provincial Grand Lodge, in his address he talked about he infused the Brethren present by informing them of everything the Masonic Charitable Foundation had been up to in the last two years and explained to them their hopes for the future. He also made a plea for Lodges to inform Provinces of any charitable donations they were making to try and get a figure for what we, as a organisation donate on a yearly basis.
The Provincial Grand Master, assisted by David Innes then proceeded to make eight very special presentations:
Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group – £25,000
Northumbria Blood Bikes – £15,000
Café JJ – £15,000
Teesdale Disability Access Forum – £6,000
Centrepoint North East – £6,000
Family Action The Bridge Young Carers – £4,000
St Mary’s Community Association – £4,000
COAST (Formerly FOCAST) – £4,000
These Community Awards were the result of an online poll earlier in the year and were voted on by both Masons and the General Public.
After the presentation, the Charity Representatives along with David Innes retired from the meeting to enable the Provincial Grand Master to ‘Call on’ and continue with the agenda.
With the business completed a collection raising a magnificent sum of was completed and a rapturous first verse of the National Anthem filled the meeting, The Provincial Grand Master closed the meeting and the retiring processions streamed out of the arena.
Whilst the Brethren chatted over a social drink the staff at the Lancastrian Suite, assisted by the ever-hard-working Provincial Grand Stewards transformed the arena into a banquet hall allowing the returning Brethren to take their seats for the Festive Board.
The Banquet that followed was enjoyed by all and although the evening did over run a little it was clear to see that the Brethren where enjoying the Christmas spirit with friends.
The Evening was rounded off with an impressive toast to the Provincial Grand Master delivered extremely well and from the heart by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Craig Steele.
Another fantastic evening doing what our PGM always asks, enjoying our Freemasonry!
To see all of the pictures of the evening via our Flickr feed click here
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”….
“My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”
“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”