Ski Silksworth

2021 Festival Masonic Skiing Challenge



As the festival appeal has gone on the ways to raise money have become harder and harder to come by. It occurred to me that it might be possible to use a sport I am passionate about to raise funds for the festival. The idea was discussed with the Festival director and a plan formed to try and encourage as many people as possible to get involved, it was hopped that by setting several smaller targets building to the main target of skiing the height of Mount Everest that people who perhaps had only done a small amount of skiing might want to participate and after a meeting between W.Bro Thompson, myself and the Head of the Ski School at Sunderland we also decided to provide lessons for anyone that might want to learn how to ski in order to take up the challenge. The event was then put to the membership. Unfortunately, we had no takers for the lessons, but on Sunday 7th July 2019 just under 10 skiers descended on Silksworth Sports complex ranging in age and ability with our oldest Participant Malcolm at the age of 85. Many were supported by family and friends. We where joined by W.Bro Thompson and the obligatory Photo shoot took place and shortly after 12:00pm we were off the descents started to mount and as the afternoon wore on. At around 2pm we where joined by the PGM RW. Bro John Arthur and his support spurred us all on with Steve one of our younger skiers completing his 56 descents Shortly there after Steve then took a short break before returning to the slope to complete a total of over 100 descents which total more than the height of all 3 mountains combined. All told we hope to have raised more than £2500 and are already looking at options for next year.

David Lonsdale


Flickr Account Photo’s

3 Province Pedal

The sun has now set on the third annual sponsored cycle ride organised in aid of the Durham 2021 Festival.


This year saw our team of 34 riders, ably supported by 6 support drivers, take on The Three Province Pedal. A 180 mile ride, from Leeds to Hartlepool via York, Beverley, Scarborough and Whitby, with the small matter of two days of climbs onto the North Yorkshire Moors along the way.


Friday morning saw our  Assistant Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham wave the riders off from Durham services as they journeyed on to their starting point at Leeds, and on arrival the Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur, was ready and waiting  to set off the team from the Provincial Office of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding. The team then climbed steadily away from Leeds towards Tadcaster and then on, largely without incident, to their first welcome lunch stop at Duncombe Place Masonic Hall in York.


After a lunch and a presentation to a representative from the building of one of our ride shields, the team set off along small country roads towards their first evenings accommodation in Beverley. Whilst the route was relatively flat. there were a couple of hairy moments, where members of our team were nearly taken out by mad tractor drivers and a low loader. Thankfully, however, they made it to Beverley relatively unscathed.


After rehydrating and a lovely meal, our team members had a relatively early night in preparation for the next days ride.


8.30am saw the team setting off on route to Hunmanby. The morning’s ride was largely flat, although there were a couple of testing climbs near the end.


After a lunch provided by our very own Paul Quinn, ably assisted by his sous chef, Harry Prince, the weather began to close in, and after donning their waterproofs the team were off towards Scarborough.


A quick diversion to Scarborough Masonic Hall saw our team meeting up with the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings, RWBro Jeff Gillyon, after they interrupted his festive board.


After a quick presentation, the team were back on their bikes and began what proved to be a tough 10 mile climb onto the moors via a strength sapping cinder track. The climb was followed by perhaps an even more terrifying 10 mile downhill over rough ground, which was really appreciated by those on the road bikes – not!


At the end of a warm and humid day, the team congregated at a very pleasant micro brewery adjacent to the overnight accommodation in Whitby, where they were met by our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stephen Walker, and his wife. The day had certainly taken its toll and a couple of our riders needed to be checked over by medics. Thankfully, though, there was no lasting damage, and food and a good nights rest were the prescribed treatments required.


The final morning of this year’s event was undoubtedly the toughest section of the 3 days, involving some steep climbing out of Whitby and up onto the top of the North Yorkshire Moors.  Eventually our team reached the summit and enjoyed a wonderful downhill ride to Guisborough Masonic Hall, where Zetland Lodge, their family, and their friends had put on a wonderful lunch for our weary group.


There had been a couple of injuries along the way, but the final afternoon saw the full team back on their bikes and heading for the finish line. Crossing the Tees via the Newport Bridge, returning to our Province, they made for The Headland at Hartlepool, where they were met by their family and friends.


After three days of arduous riding, the team congregated on the Pilot Pier and were delighted to announce to John Arthur, who was once again on hand to meet them, that their collective efforts had raised £25,000 for the Durham 2021 Festival in aid of the RMTGB/MCF.


Pictures from the event have been uploaded to Flickr, click here to open the album.


Well done team, and many, many thanks, to all who supported them.

silver lodge award

Lodge of Industry – Silver Award

Silver Award Achieved by

Lodge of Industry No. 48

At the July meeting of Lodge of Industry the North Are Director Ian Turnbull had the pleasure of presenting the Silver Award for the sterling work that the Lodge and Charity Steward Tony Richardson have done since the start of the Durham 2021 Festival. The Lodge then presented Ian with a cheque for £307 and an Auction item, from the Lodge Junior Warden, to be included in the Grand Auction on behalf of the Lodge.

Congratulations to Lodge of Industry on achieving the Silver Award.

gold lodge award

Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100 – Gold Presentation

Gold Presentation – Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100

On a very warm Friday 12th July, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, David Sanders Hay was honoured to be the representative of the Provincial Grand Master at the Installation meeting of the Old Dunelmian Lodge No. 8100, held in the Luce Theatre of Durham School. This was to be a double celebration with the Installation as Master of a stalwart of both School and Lodge, Godfrey William Hedley and a 100% Gold Target Award for contributions to the Durham 2021 Festival for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). David was introduced into the Lodge by David Atkinson, where the Worshipful Master, Jeremy Bray welcomed him to the proceedings. All brethren were then presented with a well worked Installation Ceremony. At the second rising David received cheques benefiting, Durham Benevolence, the TLC Teddies Scheme and the 2021 Festival. David in turn presented the Worshipful Master with their Gold Award Certificate after which Charity Steward Eric Robinson came forward and was bestowed with a Gold Award Pin Badge. Eric thanked all of the members for their contributions in achieving their target giving a special tribute to the late John Liddle a sorely missed Brother and for many years Lodge Secretary.


The festivities continued to the festive board being held in big school where a splendid banquet was served. All dining finished the required toasts were adhered to and after the toast to the Provincial Officers, the representative David, thanked the members of the Lodge for a memorable evening, and how honoured he felt to be invited as a guest on such a special night. David made reference to the three cheque donations presented to him and congratulated all members for their hard work reaching the Gold Award Target. He praised their charitable enthusiasm and dedication made to the 2021 Festival and paying special tribute to John Liddle.


The idea of forming a School Lodge was made by school old boy, Alan Barraclough who suggested that it should meet in London, however Vernon Ferens, an influential Durham Mason and a former pupil suggested to hold all the meetings at Durham School. However Province would not agree to the meetings being held at the school so they were held at Durham Masonic Hall.  On 4th June 1966 the Old Dunelmian Lodge was consecrated, Vernon being the first Worshipful Master. Things changed in 1968 when the meeting was held at the Masonic Hall but the festive board was held at the school. Move on to July 1996 when there was a problem with asbestos at the Masonic Hall and it had to be closed, so a dispensation was granted to hold the Installation Meeting at the School the same being replicated every year since.


Durham School was founded by the Bishop of DurhamThomas Langley, in 1414, it received royal foundation by King Henry VIII in 1541 following the dissolution of the monasteries. The School was an all-boys institution until 1985, when girls were admitted to the sixth form. The school became fully coeducational in 1998 and celebrated its 600th Anniversary in 2014 making it the 18th oldest in Britain. It is possible however, that it may actually have origins in the Priory at Lindisfarne, being moved to Durham City to escape marauding Viking invaders around the time that St. Cuthbert’s body was brought to what is now the site of Durham Cathedral. The school was in Langley’s time situated on Palace Green north of the Cathedral, in 1844 the school moved to its current location across the river wear. Former students are known as Old Dunelmians. The School had some interesting times – for example, in 1640 the Old School Buildings were utterly destroyed by the Scots. Homeless due to the burning down of its buildings, the school continued in various houses in the city. It was in 1661 that the school moved back to Palace Green. The School location now has been steadily expanded and updated overtime. The School Chapel, built from 1924 to 1926 sits on top of a hill overlooking the main School site and is also a war memorial, its walls are engraved with the names of those who died in World War I and World War II. Within the Chapel is a superb Stained Glass window which the Lodge funded.


One of the highlights of the evening is the traditional singing of the School Song,’ Floreat Dunelmia’ (May our school flourishwhich is also the School Motto. During the rendition of the song which is wholeheartedly sang by all, it is a spectacle to watch as  young and old  former pupils climb onto their seats and the more able onto the dining table to let you know they are old boys of the school and proud be so.

Link to Provincial Website

Sanctuary Lodge No. 8613 Garden Party

Sanctuary Lodge Garden Party

The Worshipful Master of Sanctuary Lodge David Overton extends a warm invitation to join the Lodge members and guests to a Garden Party to be held at Durham Masonic Hall on Sunday 18th August 2019.

The Garden Party will include Live Music, Games, Afternoon Tea and a Grand Draw. All proceeds to be donated to the Durham 2021 Festival Appeal.

Dress is Smart Casual and start time is 1:30 pm for a 2pm start.

Tickets can be obtained from Les Dean 0191 526 4332 or 07949 020 109 email:


Sanctuary Lodge Garden Party Poster

Ski Challenge

Ski Challenge

On Sunday 7th July 2019 the Durham Brethren took on another challenge in the Durham 2021 Festival 2019 Events. Seven Brethren attempted to Ski the height of either of the three peaks of Mount Everest, Mont Blanc & Ben Nevis a total of 96 descents down Silksworth dry ski slope.

The even weather was perfect not too hot and a little overcast, however this did not deter the Skiers as they set about the challenge.

Thanks to David Lonsdale and Silksworth Ski Slope for a fantastic day of Skiing. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the 96 descents some even did 100 descents almost twice the height of Everest. Well done everyone who took part and to everyone who sponsored our skiers and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Flickr Account Photo’s

We've reached 2500000

£2,500,000  announced by the PGM

£2,500,000  announced by the PGM


The Provincial AGM finished with the exciting news from the Provincial Grand Master VW Bro John Arthur that we have reached the sum of £2,500,000 on our quest to reach our target. I’m especially pleased and proud of everyone who has supported us to date, whether it’s a direct debit, a lodge donation, gift aid envelopes, sponsoring an event or even taking part every little helps. the PProvGM Eric Heaviside always said “The dripping tap will fill the bath” and it is indeed doing just that.  I urge you all to continue on until we conclude in 2021 to reach the personal goal of Festival Steward, either by donation of by taking part in one of our many events. Or for your lodge to reach its potential to turn that bronze award to  Silver,  or to reach the target and maybe even push onto platinum and join the 19 lodges who have already reached this goal.


Thank you for your continuing support to me and our team and ultimately those who benefit from MCF support.


WBro John Thomson, Festival Director


An exert from the PGM Address at the AGM, Dunston 29th June 2019


“The masonic charities are one of the major things we hold most dear, and Festival is the time for us, as a Province, to show our support for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. We are very proud and fortunate to be raising money in the name of The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and all of the money raised will be used to support children and young adults who need our support.

The financial and welfare support they provide to children and young people aims to reduce the impact of the tragedy and hardship they have experienced, often from a very early age. MCF support aims to enable higher academic attainment, improved standards of day-to-day living as well as better life and employment prospects. Currently, almost 2,000 Masonic children and young people are benefiting from our support across England and Wales each year, at a cost of around £9m per year.

In 2018 support for Masonic families in Durham totalled £400,475, with a further £150,500 supporting 21 charities. That’s an average of £10,586 per week for those who need it most in our Province. This is equivalent to over £6m over the 11 year time period between Festivals.

We are extremely proud of everyone who has accepted one of the challenges set by the Festival Team, this includes, running, walking, canoeing, cycling, skydiving, skiing next week and of course the dragon boat racing in September for which I’m informed we still have places.  I thank the organisers, sponsors, support teams and the participants which totals over 200 masons with their family and friends who to date have raised over £50,000.

Your generosity, from those with regular direct debits, donations from lodges, and our of course our sponsored events is quite remarkable.

Together all of this support has increased our total raised to £2,500,000.  Congratulations to you all. Last year we raised an average of about £10,000 per week which was beyond our expectations but if you recall The beneficiaries in our Province received on average £10,586 per week from the MCF last year. This goes to show how important it is to keep supporting the Masonic Charitable Foundation until our Festival conclusion in 2021. Remember Brethren, when we finish supporting the MCF in 2021 they won’t stop supporting us.”

gold lodge award

Johnstonian Lodge No. 9301 – Gold Presentation

Johnstonian Lodge’s June 2019 meeting saw The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stephen William Walker lead an Area Team Visit to mark the membership’s outstanding achievement of reaching their Durham 2021 Festival Gold Award.


After Stephen was warmly welcomed in to the Lodge Room by John Dodson, as Worshipful Master, the main work of the evening began by Raising Bro Trevor Goodwin of The Spirit of Rugby Lodge 9910. After a faultless, and most enjoyable ceremony, Trevor took his seat with those assembled in the Lodge including members of the ‘Durham Light Blues Club’ (DLBC) who were also lending their support on the evening.


Stephen then took the opportunity to congratulate the members of Johnstonian Lodge upon their outstanding collective achievements in attaining their Gold Durham 2021 Festival target, with eighteen months of the Durham 2021 Festival still remaining. On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur, Stephen reminded those assembled of the exceptional progress that the Province as a whole continues to make towards the overall Durham 2021 Festival target and thanked those assembled for their continued support.


After the formalities in the Lodge Room came to an end, the Festive Board saw Stephen stand respond to the Toast and again recognise Johnstonian Lodge’s huge achievement in raising 100% of their Durham 2021 Festival target. He formally presented the Gold Certificate to John and expressed his thanks for a further two generous cheques that were presented on the evening, again in support of the Durham 2021 Festival. Stephen also pointed out that as a former Durham Johnston student himself he was particularly delighted to be able to share in the evening’s celebrations.


Stephen went on to thank the Deputation who had accompanied him for their support and also asked the members of the visiting DLBC, including their Chair, Matthew Pearce, to rise in order for those assembled to express their appreciation of their attendance. Stephen explained that the DLBC is a new group set up to enhance the feeling of brotherhood, camaraderie and fun both inside and outside the Lodge Room. It is is open to all Masons who hold a rank between an Entered Apprentice, to a current or Past Master who has not yet received Provincial rank.


Stephen then reminded those present of the wide variety of ways that individuals and Lodges as a whole can continue to support the Festival and the great friendships that can result from such activities in particular, as well as the Craft in general.


Upon the closure of the Festive Board many of those in attendance remained to enjoy the company and fellowship of old and new friends. Congratulations to all of the members of Johnstonian Lodge on their charitable endeavours which continue to make a huge difference to the lives of others.

Provincial Website Photo’s

gold lodge award

Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 5089 – Gold Award

Commercial Travellers Lodge

Reach Gold Award

Commercial Travellers Lodge No 5089 welcomed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Gordon Brewis to help them celebrate their 90th Anniversary and to present him with a cheque to the value of £1800.00 , towards the Durham 2021 Festival and thereby achieving their Gold Award target.


The Worshipful Master Edward Jenkinson invited Past Master Alan Neil to deliver the 90 year history of the Lodge from its beginnings in 1929, formed by 25 “bona fide”  Founder Commercial Travellers, some of whom came from as far away as London and Plymouth. With the demise of the profession of Commercial Travellers the Lodge By Laws were altered in 1967 and the main criteria for membership was altered to initiate ‘ Good Men and True ”  The Lodge Chaplain Phillip Etherington conducted a memorial to deceased brethren which was followed by prayers. The Charity Steward Steven Noble then gave a summary of the Lodges substantial  charitable giving over the last 15 years.


The celebration festive board was a jovial affair and made extra special with each brother receiving a set of cuff links bearing the Lodge insignia and a laminated place mat to remember the occasion. The splendid meal which followed was rounded off with a specially baked birthday cake by Elaine, wife of the Secretary Graham Wharton.


The Provincial Director of Ceremonies for the evening,  Grahame Haran then conducted the appropriate toasts of the evening. During his reply to the Provincial toast Gordon Brewis thanked the Lodge for their welcome and for providing a very special evening for all present. Gordon made special reference to the generous cheque for £1800.00 achieving Gold status and indeed putting the Lodge on its way to Platinum. The Charity Steward Steven Noble was then asked to come forward where he was presented with the Gold Award pin badge marking the achievement. The Worshipful Master was also presented with a framed Gold Award certificate.


The evening was further enhanced with entertainment provided by Merrick Hamilton in his own unique style. It was said at the outset that to be a Commercial Traveller you had to be a “Charmer” and there is no doubt that on the evidence this evening that this is a “Charming Lodge”.

Full story & pictures


Three Province Pedal Ride

Update to the Three Province Pedal Ride

Over the weekend of Fri 31st  May – Sun 2nd June 34 Riders and 6 support crew set off from Durham Services for a 180 mile bike ride. Gavman Rowell, Brian Bullock and Steve Piercy had planned a route from Leeds Provincial Office in Headingley to the Headland of Hartlepool, with various stops along the route for lunch and evening stays in hotels and YHA.

The ending on the Sunday was fantastic and we were all with our families. Can the Festival team take this opportunity to thank you all for your tremendous efforts over the weekend, it had been great riding and sharing some happy and terrible memories all at the same time. We thank all the riders and support crew,  you will agree everyone played their part in raising what looks like a projected total of £25,000 which is another supreme effort from Gavin, Steve and Brian and the team. This takes the cycling total to over £75,000 in the last three years.

These challenges are never easy but it’s always satisfying when the riders get finished and arrive home. The PGM & The Festival Team are grateful for the efforts of the whole team including the support teams. Our Durham 2021 Festival wouldn’t be as successful if it wasn’t for events such at these.

We intend to host our supporters evenings again towards the end of the year to thank you all once again and to give us the chance to meet up and relive the memories of the weekend.  We hope you can make it, full details will be sent probably over the summer.

The Flicker account can be found clicking on the link below for some of the photo’s

However a few pictures to go on with