The Annual Provincial Promotions meeting in Dunston on the 30th November 2017 was well attended and the meeting's agenda was a full one. For a full report please click here.
Brethren from across the province were honoured for their continued hard work and dedication within their Lodges, their Masonic Halls and their communities.
Included was Marquis of Granby Lodge's Tony Wynne and the brethren of his lodge whole heartedly congratulate him on his promotion to PPJGW.
This is a deserved honour for WBro Wynne who has supported his lodge in many ways as well as giving his time to several charitable organisations in the Province over many years.
Provincial Golf Day 2017
On September 15th, 103 golfers met at Ramside Golf Course to take part in the Provincial Golf Day and to compete for the Ravensworth Trophy.
The trophy was donated in 1921 by Lord Ravensworth, who was the Provincial Grand Master at that time. The trophy is awarded to the Durham mason who performs the best on the Provincial Golf Day.
This year it was won by our very own Senior Deacon Jason Heels, seen here being presented with the Ravensworth Trophy by our Provincial Grand Master Norman Eric Heaviside.
Jason won many prizes that day, he generously auctioned all of them, including a Magnum of Moët Champagne, with the proceeds going to charity.
The competition raised £3,800 for the Durham 2021 Festival so there were no losers that day.
An illustrated talk by
Bro.Roger Barrell MVO
entitled 'The Bulletcatcher'!
September 2017 and with careful forward planning the lodge’s work diary was arranged so that in this month's meeting, after more than 18 months of degree work, the members of Marquis of Granby Lodge and visiting brethren could sit back, relax and enjoy a fascinating illustrated talk by Bro. Roger Barrell MVO.
A London policeman for more than thirty years, Roger took on several roles before he was admitted to the personal protection group, Royal Bodyguards, which was his responsibility for the final 17 years of his career.
We weren't surprised to hear that royal bodyguards are carefully selected and put through rigorous training, which apart from firearms this also included medical training as well as social etiquette and other skills.
During his service Roger accompanied many of our royal family, including three years with the Queen Mother and seven years with Princess Alexandra as well as other members of the royal family – including our Grand Master, his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.
In contrast to the USA's methods, the protection of our royal family at home and overseas is given a discreet approach so Roger needed to dress appropriately for any occasion.
During his talk Roger illustrated this and other facts with a slide show, in one slide he is there at the rear of an open carriage in the guise of a footman carrying newlyweds Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
Another slide saw him in top hat and tails accompanying Her Majesty The Queen at Ascot. Roger explained that the emphasis is on blending in whilst staying in close proximity - and whilst onlookers are watching the Queen, Roger and his colleagues are watching the crowd.
It was not unusual for Roger and his small team to receive a phone call and find themselves packing their cases at home and needing to be on a flight, sometimes at very short notice, to accompany a member of the royal family on a ‘Royal Tour’ sometimes in the UK, other times overseas.
These tours could last from a few days to a week or more – the protection officer's responsibility is high, the work intense and the hours, long. This is work that to the uninformed may sound quite glamorous but it demands high levels of concentration throughout the whole tour.
The slide show, along with Roger’s narration, made for a fascinating evening.
Some of the events over those 17 years Roger was happy to talk about, naturally there were things he would not – discretion was and still is one of many essential qualities of a Personal Protection Officer.
Roger’s illustrated talk lasted about an hour and following this was an opportunity for the brethren to ask questions.
There were many questions but the final one was answered by Roger with humility; someone asked “what was your most memorable moment?”
Roger lost no time explaining that it was the moment that The Queen made him a Member of the Royal Victorian Order – The MVO is an order of chivalry where the recipient is chosen by the Queen herself rather than a politician or committee of civil servants.
Roger’s talk was rewarded with much deserved and hearty applause with the Worshipful Master John Butterfield thanking Roger for a behind the scenes report of life as a 'Bulletcatcher' which is how members of the unit are unofficially known!
The Worshipful Master then went on with lodge business and after the lodge was closed the brethren retired to the dining room.