A very special lodge meeting!

It would be fair to say that our lodge's meeting on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 was very eventful! In the space of just three hours, we would;

  • Receive special dispensation from the Provincial Grand Master to initiate a 20 year old man. (our Book of Constitutions states that a candidate to be made a mason must, except by dispensation, be 21 years or more).

  • Welcome the Provincial Grand Master (PGM) into our lodge meeting along with an Assistant PGM, several Grand Officers of the United Grand Lodge of England and Provincial Officers of Durham.

  • Ballot for and accept two candidates to be made a mason.

  • Initiate a 'Lewis' (a term that means the son of a freemason).

  • Receive the Platinum Award from the PGM, marking our charity fundraising efforts for the Durham 2021 festival.

  • Two of our lodge members would receive a 'supporter's medal' for their efforts in fundraising.

An eventful and happy meeting

After opening the meeting, our Lodge's Master, Jason Heels, asked the secretary if he had received any communications, the secretary replied that he had received a dispensation certificate from the Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur, granting our request to initiate Mr Peter Watt, a 20 year old man who is the son of our Assistant Secretary, Derek Watt.

We then welcomed the Provincial Grand Master (PGM) John Arthur, into our lodge's meeting along with his Assistant PGM and several Grand Officers of the United Grand Lodge of England and other Provincial Officers.

A photo of members of Marquis of Granby Lodge No.124 The PGM of Durham John Arthur, our VGO VWBro. George Clark & John Thompson, Festival Director

A photo of members of Marquis of Granby Lodge No.124 and (centre) PGM of Durham John Arthur, our VGO VWBro. George Clark (2nd right) & Asst.PGM John Thompson, Festival Director (4th left).Charity Steward Richie Parker is seen with framed certificate with PGM to his right and lodge Master Jason Heels to his left.

With his father watching intently and smiling throughout, Peter Watt went through the ceremony of being 'made a mason' in the same way his father did some years previously - this is virtually the same ceremony that has taken place in the Marquis of Granby Lodge for over 280 years.

'Initiation' is a beautiful ceremony that includes an explanation of social and moral values that are expected  of a mason, both in a lodge meeting and in the wider world beyond the lodge.

Father and son are pictured here with Peter being congratulated by our Lodge's Master, Jason Heels, the photo being taken after the lodge had closed.

L to R; John Thompson, Richie Parker, Jason Heels and John Arthur.

From L. to R; John Thompson, Festival Director, Richie Parker, Lodge Charity Steward, Jason Heels, our lodge's Master and Provincial Grand Master, John Arthur.

Derek and Peter Watt receiving congratulations from our Lodge Master, Jason Heels

From L to R; Derek Watt, Jason Heels & Bro Peter Watt.

After the initiaton ceremony was completed the Marquis of Granby Brethren had other lodge business to address.

Part of this was  presenting the PGM, John Arthur, with a cheque for more than £800 towards the Durham 2021 Charity Festival as well as another cheque for £50 to the 'TLC' Teddies campaign.

Our Lodge reached it's target of £18,576 in November of 2018 and received the Provincial Grand Master's 'Gold Award'.

The PGM received the cheques with heartfelt thanks and went on to present a framed certificate to the lodge's Charity Steward, Richie Parker (pictured).

Our lodge's donation this evening had taken our contributions to the Durham 2021 Charity Festival to over £25,000.

Once the meeting was formally closed, those present then retired downstairs to the Dining Hall and enjoyed a quality three course meal whilst anticipating the events that would follow.

Soon enough, , we heard from Brother Derek Watt who shared his thoughts of his son becoming a mason before formally proposing a toast to his son. A toast that is made to every new made brother.

His son, Peter, the most important person that evening, rose to respond to the toast with an impressively articulate reply whilst his proud Dad (pictured) looked on, smiling as he had been most of the evening!

Marquis of Granby Lodge No.124 Father and Son Derek and Peter Watt on Peter's Initiation into Freemasonry

A confident and articulate Brother Peter Watt replies to the toast whilst his proud and very happy Father looks on.

Our Provincial Grand Master spoke again about how delighted he was with our lodge's fund raising efforts so far - pointing out that this is not the end of our Province's fundraising for the Durham 2021 Festival as there are another 21 months before the campaign officially closes.

AsstPGM John Thompson congratulating Marquis of Granby Lodge 124's Michael Dunn and John Butterfield.

At this point our PGM then handed over to John Thompson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Festival Director of Durham 2021.

John explained how the campaign was progressing  across our province and the many events that are taking place once again, this year.

This was the perfect time for him to formally thank two of our lodge members for their effort in an event last year. Michael Dunn and John Butterfield are seen here (pictured) receiving their award from John Thompson recognising their fantastic sponsored event - walking the length of Hadrian's Wall.

From L. to R. John Thompson, Michael Dunn & John Butterfield

John Thompson then handed back to our PGM who presented our lodge with an engraved crystal plaque (pictured) recognising that we had reached Platinum status in our fundraising, this was received by our lodge Master, Jason Heels.


The Provincial Grand Master urged the lodge to display this beautiful crystal at our meetings in the future.

Once formalities were over, the sixty freemasons present, including visiting freemasons from many parts of England and Scotland, enjoyed time together, old friends catching up with each other's news and new friends starting along a similar journey.

John Arthur, PGM, presenting WBro Jason Heels of Marquis of Granby Lodge No.124 with Charity Fundraising Platinum Award

John Arthur, PGM presenting an engraved crystal plaque to our lodge's Master,WBro Jason Heels

Eventually, this eventful and very happy meeting came to an end, with everyone went home smiling - knowing that there was always another meeting of Marquis of Granby Lodge No.124 to look forward to, in the future.

All photos courtesy of WBro Gary Halliday