It was a rather special evening for us on the night of the 14th June. Not only were we passing the Grandson of one of our Grand Lodge Officers, but we also had the Provincial Grand Master in attendance to present the lodge with a festival award.
It was the passing of Bro. Dan Hall, Grandson of W. Bro. Joe Laidler. Dan lives in Essex, and having expressed an interest in joining Freemasonry, Joe stepped up and diligently did his research with the Province of Essex to find a suitable lodge. The one selected was Boswells Lodge No. 7759. Even before Dan's initiation, agreement had been made that Palatine would perform his Second Degree. He was initiated on the 28th April, and a number of us made the trip down to see him take his first step. It was a very enjoyable occasion. Having performed Second Degree ceremonies in the previous two months, you'd have thought this one would be a breeze, but fairly last minute absentees meant that both our Wardens were stand-ins, one of which being a visitor from Boswells Lodge, W. Bro. Bryan Martin, who performed admirably as Junior Warden, having received a very brief run-down of how we do things at Palatine! The rest of the officers, again, showed their calibre, with a very slick and well executed ceremony. Thanks again go to W. Bro. Richard Davison of Ernest Dixon Lodge No. 7856, for a superb rendition of the Second Degree tracing board.
Official and unofficial visitors were in abundance, with our official visitors being Thornhill Lodge No. 3216, Lodge of Harmony No. 4224, Peace and Unity Lodge No. 6312, and Ernest Dixon Lodge No. 7856. There were a dozen from Ernest Dixon alone! Not forgetting, of course, the Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro. Norman Eric Heaviside, and the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W. Bro. Andrew Dixon.
The festive board was a very lively affair, with 59 brethren dining, and it was here that the ProvGM performed his official duty, presenting the lodge with our Platinum award in aid of the Durham 2021 Festival, in recognition of us beating our target and having surpassed 133%. It is fair to say that the lodge is quite proud of this achievement. However, since Eric has announced his retirement, we felt that it was also a good opportunity for the lodge to show our appreciation for all he has done for the Province of Durham in the 10 years he has been Provincial Grand Master, presenting him with a book of photographs produced from a number of our treasured glass slides (special thanks to W. Bro. Adam Lamb at the Provincial Museum for his assistance with this), and also a glass model of the Cutty Sark. They were very much appreciated.
We also had a response to the visitors toast by the aforementioned W. Bro. Bryan Martin of Boswells Lodge. Bryan's hometown is Ryhope, but he has lived in Essex for 33 years, joining Boswells Lodge 25 years ago. This was his first ever visit to a lodge in Sunderland, and we were very pleased to hear that he felt like he was at home and, in his words, had one of the best Masonic evenings ever, with us. We look forward to a continued association with Boswells, and will be planning a trip back down to Essex to see Bro. Dan do his Third.
As the formalities of the night drew to a close, we enjoyed the Tyler's toast, then a number of us stayed on in the bar to continue enjoying the camaraderie with a few more drinks, bringing to an end a very enjoyable, and busy, start to our 2018 Masonic year. We are already looking forward to September, when we'll be making a new friend and brother with an Initiation. It is sure to be another good night.
Until then, enjoy the recess!