Bede Royal Ark Mariners celebrated their Centenary in Chester-le-Street at the end of November. To help them celebrate, the Assistant Grand Master, Stephen Davison would attend supported by a Provincial Deputation.
The first business of the evening was for Stephen Davison to present Bede Mariners with their Centenary Warrant. Prior to this, Stephen requested his Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies, John Vause to read it out to the brethren present. In presenting it he acknowledged the fantastic achievement by Bede Mariners in achieving their Centenary.
The Lodge are to be commended for their quick thinking when faced with the sudden illness of the secretary. The planned talk on the Lodge history by the secretary was quickly improvised to one on Blood Bikes by John Watts. John is very well known throughout the province and a strong promoter of this worthy cause.
John highlighted that the first Blood Bike was bought by the Mark Benevolent Fund for the Northumbria Blood Bikes and this was named “Mark Master Mason”. He also recounted that all provincial executive members were invited to London to participate in a walk to raise funds. They hoped for £150,000 but were overwhelmed by the generosity and achieved over £400,000. This enabled the purchase of many more Blood Bikes. The MBF has now donated over 2 dozen bikes and cars to the charity throughout the country.
John recounted a number of stories relating to his experiences whilst assisting the Northumbria Blood Bikes. All these stories were touching and enlightening and highlighted the importance of the service. Some readers may recall that John was featured in the Autumn 2018 edition of Freemasonry Today with his picture on the front cover.
The Freemasonry Today magazine article on Blood Bikes can be found here
The formal meeting was soon followed by the festive board and drinks. It was the first time that the Assistant Grand Master had visited Chester-le-Street. When on visits he ensures he makes time to chat with as many of the brethren as he is allowed to; the Directors of Ceremonies always keen to keep the proceedings moving.
In responding to the toast to Stephen, made by the Provincial Grand Master, Denovan Wilson, he thanked everyone for such a warm welcome. Whilst he had visited the north on a number of occasions, this was his first time to Chester-le-Street. He again congratulated Bede Mariners on achieving their Centenary. Stephen encouraged members to keep looking for friends to invite to the Mark and Mariners. In addition, if they are not in the Craft, why not invite them to join?
As a memento of his visit, the Worshipful Master, David Anderson, presented him with a hand-crafted vase. This was produced at the glass centre in Sunderland and it is hoped it will remind Stephen of the excellent night in Chester-le-Street.
Northumbria Blood Bikes is a registered charity and relies on donations and volunteers. If you are interested in assisting them or just want more information, they can be found here.
More information on the Durham Mark Benevolent Fund can be found here
More information on the charitable work of the Mark Master Masons can be found here