The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Durham held the 103rd Durham Mark Annual Meeting at The Fed in Dunston on Wednesday 28th June 2023. This is a very special event on the Mark Mason Calendar which is reflected by the hundreds who attend.
It is hard to single out what makes this meeting so special and many different people will enjoy it for many different reasons. Some are there to support the outgoing Provincial Officers on their last day in Office and some to congratulate the newly appointed officers on their investment. Some are here for the pomp and ceremony which always accompanies this event. Some are here just to catch up with old friends, as this is sometimes the only time they get to meet. But, highly likely, most are there for all the above and the organising team do their best to make it the best possible occasion.
Not only do Mark Masons from the Province of Durham attend but we are always delighted to welcome so many Distinguished Brethren from other Provinces and Orders, who are greeted with much acclaim by the assembled brethren. It is also very pleasing to see the Royal Ark Mariners Installed Commanders parade into the meeting who are likewise warmly welcomed.
The Durham Mark Annual Meeting is the culmination of a hard but very enjoyable year for many, not least the Provincial Grand Master and his Provincial Team. It is also the beginning of another memorable year for them and very many other brethren. It is a time to reflect on the achievements of the year but also plan for the coming year.
It is of course a very special time for many of Durham’s Mark Masons and almost certainly the highlight of the event, when they receive their Provincial Appointments and Promotions. To all who received an honour, we thank you for your past commitment to Mark Masonry and your Lodges, and also thank you in anticipation of your continued and future exertions.
But wait, David wasn’t finished and requested Brian Smith to be presented to him. Now Brian had been on the team for a couple of years and never dines but is always ready to steward and help the Lodge out. He always brought his own apron and heat resistant gloves. The Executive decided to issue a special award to him and presented him with an apron made specially for the task!
A full list of all Appointments and Promotions can be found HERE
The Provincial Grand Master, David Hanson addressed the meeting and gave his thoughts and desires for the future of Mark Masonry in the Province. The future is up to us brethren, to encourage more to join this wonderful Order and also the Royal Ark Mariners.
He talked about the Durham 2029 Festival which was launched in January this year. Since then, the Festival Team have sold over 200 Festival Jewels, facilitated many Continuous Giving mandates and made presentations throughout the Province. Whilst no final target was set there is an aspiration and the sum raised so far is just over £300,000 which is an amazing achievement.
The PGM explained the good work of the Durham Mark Benevolent Fund and made reference to the Craft PGM, John Thompson who extols the mantra of being stronger together. In doing so, he had the pleasure of presenting a £2000 donation to the Durham Knights Templar Eye Hospital appeal and then £6000 to the Cheshire Mark Festival. He then followed by thanking the brethren of Durham for making this all possible through their generous donations.
A copy of David’s address can be found HERE soon.
Before the meeting was closed, a collection was then taken in aid of our 2029 Festival where a fabulous amount of around £1,750 inclusive of Gift Aid was raised!
A flurry of activity soon followed transforming the venue into a banquet hall for well over 200 people. This gave the brethren a chance to cool off, have a couple of drinks and catch up with friends before the meal.
With everyone in high spirits, the celebrations continued to the festive board where a wonderful meal was enjoyed by all.
The health of the brethren attending is always safeguarded with the attendance of the St John Ambulance Service. It is only cordial that we reciprocate and also make a donation towards the service. Pictured are Beverley Herd and Dave McCartney from St John with Roy Neville and Trevor Lynn representing Durham Mark. Also assisting from St John Ambulance Service was Paul Herd.
An unexpected presentation was made by John Thompson the Craft PGM, when he presented the first annual instalment of £5,000 towards the 2029 Festival. This was a very novel ‘cheque’ in the form of a Keystone and typifies the close working of Companion Orders in Durham.
As in previous years the meeting was a great success and a credit to the organising team, who worked tirelessly to produce a brilliant day for the many brethren from all over the Province of Durham and distinguished visitors from far and wide.
For more information about the St John Ambulance Service, please click HERE