Thursday 7th September saw the close to one thousand Freemasons and their families gather for a special for an evening of thanks and celebration as The Province of Durham celebrated 300 years since the formation of United Grand Lodge in style in the world heritage site that is Durham Cathedral.
As well as Brethren and their families from all corners of the Province the Provincial Grand Master was honoured to have as his special guests HM Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, His Worship the Mayor of Durham, Councillor Bill Kellett, The Dean of Durham, Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett and non-other than The Assistant Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Hugh Wooton.
With the Cathedral close to capacity the service was conducted with precision and splendour, tributes associated to any formal Provincial Masonic occasion and Durham Cathedral. Looking our across the Cathedral it was an amazing sight to see the rows of pews awash with Gold and Masonic Blues. The evening was further enhanced with Hymns from both the Cathedral Choir and our very own Masonic Choir, conducted by WBro Paul Debenham.
In the middle of the service the Dean of Durham handed over proceedings to the Provincial Grand Master who conducted a special award presentation from Durham Benevolence, distributing £100,000 in Community Support Grants to ten local worthy charities or organisations, who supported children or young adults in need.
SUNDERLAND MINSTER – £25,800
The Minster is a church building which is used for a wide variety of services, events, groups, children’s activities, exhibitions etc. The provision of hospitality is at the heart of the ‘Minster offer’ and facilities for this outside of the cafe are not good. We are seeking to improve facilities within the choir vestry for the proper provision of refreshments.
FRIENDS OF CARLTON CAMP (Hartlepool) – £10,000
Friends of Carlton Camp charity aims to raise money to give all local children the experience of Residential opportunities at Carlton Outdoor Centre on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors & to ensure that the centre is well resourced & continues to be available, long term, for the local community.
Enter CIC (Ferryhill) – £10,000
Enter CIC has worked with hundreds of young and disadvantaged people in areas of high deprivation for seven (7) years. Enter CIC provides inspirational and aspirational opportunities in the arts. Recent projects have included performing at Durham Cathedral and being personally invited to perform at the Sage, Gateshead by and with Sir Tim Rice. The company’s aim is to take young people out of their current sphere of experience and show them a world in which they can confidently engage and successfully achieve. Some of Enter’s young people are now successfully completing university degrees, the first in their family to attend higher education of any kind.
Enter’s work is driven by Director, Andrea Flynn’s thirty (30) years of educational work in inner-city schools and even areas of Sri Lanka affected by the 2004 tsunami.
Enter CIC is one of only a handful of providers in the whole of the North East offering discrete Creative Apprenticeships
CHEESY WAFFLES (Durham) – £10,000
Cheesy Waffles aims to deliver positive activities for young people in County Durham. The project is predominantly for young people with learning disabilities age 11-30 years but all young people whatever their ability are welcome to attend making the club accessible to all.
There are currently 112 young people who attend different projects and activities from all over County Durham, the majority residing in the Durham City area and outlying villages.
This grant will enable the delivery of a programme of positive activities and projects in the school and college holidays that will enhance the learning and encourage new skills.
HOME ON THE RANGE (Spennymoor) – £10,000
Home on the Range is a social enterprise that supports disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The farm is accessible to those most at need within the Province of Durham, particularly those socially isolated or suffering poor mental health.
The grant will enable the purchase of a horse box, allowing the transportation of horses to deliver equine therapy in the community, for example, visits to dementia units to offer therapy to ex- miners.
HEEL & TOE CHILDREN’S CHARITY (Chester-le-Street) – £10,000
Heel & Toe is a local children’s charity based in County Durham which provides free conductive education therapy and subsidised therapies to children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. The charity receives no government funding and currently helps around 125 children from across the North East. They provide a range of services which help children up to 19 years old, improve their mobility and movement, increase their independence and confidence and give them a better quality of life. Heel & Toe recently launched its Footprints Appeal, to refurbish their second building in Chester le Street.
The grant from the Benevolent Fund will enable the charity to purchase a Hydrotherapy Pool, so they can help even more local children reach their full potential.
2505 SQUADRON RAF AIR CADETS (Bishop Auckland) – £10,000
2505 (Bishop Auckland) Squadron consists of 38 male and female cadets with various backgrounds, aged between 12 and 20. They travel from across Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Spennymoor, Weardale and Teeside to attend the squadron two evenings a week and many weekends, to take part in a range of a challenging but enjoying activities.
The grant will go towards purchasing and running a minibus to transport the cadets across the region.
CO DURHAM YOUNG FARMERS CLUBS (Durham) – £7,000
Co Durham Young Farmers Club has 9 clubs within Co Durham and have just under 300 members. The club brings together young people, mainly from remote rural areas of the county and it is for many of them their only source of meeting up with like-minded people for a sense of comradeship and learning as well as enhancing their social and practical skills into adulthood.
The grant will sponsor a Northern Area Event bringing together youngsters from across the Province and North East
KAYAKS (South Shields) – £5,000
KAYAKS provide young people with the opportunity to participate in adventurous, arduous and challenging outdoor sports and activities.
This grant will go towards the Calvert Trust Residential, which enables families to use purpose built accommodation which will house up to 160 members, and the Thurston Experience or outdoor activities very like it.
HUG IN A BAG (Durham and Darlington) – £5,000
Hug in a Bag is a charity that was started in Sunderland in October 2006 by three women who met, laughed, cried and supported each other during their treatment for breast cancer.
Each of the three coped in their own way but found that sharing their thoughts, anxieties and concerns was extremely helpful. They also gave each other lots of hugs in times of fear, sadness and joy.
They knew from their own experiences that you can feel very vulnerable at this time, and wanted to show understanding and support.
Their aim was to help reduce these experiences of vulnerability and loneliness by giving the gift of a Hug in a Bag containing gifts and information leaflets.
As Sunderland breast care unit closed Hug transferred to Durham and Darlington Hospitals. The grant received has enabled Hug to make the pilot project in Darlington a permanent long-term initiative.
After the presentation, the Dean delivered his Sermon, in particular he paid tribute to the charitable giving of Durham Freemasons and went on to compliment the very foundations on which Freemasonry is built, a respect for one another, kindness, honesty and trust, traits that are compatible with all faiths.
Once again, the Province of Durham has displayed that when we do something we do it in style, a fantastic evening enjoyed by all who attended, the Tercentenary celebrated in a fitting manner and local worthy causes supported for the future, not many organisations can boast such evenings!