A Special Installation At Portland Lodge

09th December 2022

Last Friday evening saw the Installation of one of the current Assistant Provincial Grand Masters in the Craft, and Past Provincial Grand Master in the Mark, WBro Gordon Craigs, into the Masters Chair of Portland Lodge No.6170, which meets at the Ashington Masonic Centre.

This special occasion was witnessed by four other Heads of Order, who had been tempted to attend, in the form of Ian Craigs, the Provincial Grand Master in the Craft Province of Northumberland, Ray Walton, the Provincial Grand Master in the Mark Province of Northumberland, Stephen Read, the Inspector General of the Rose Croix in the District of Northumberland, and John Warham, the Provincial Grand Master for the Royal Order of Scotland in the Province of Northumbria.

The ailing Portland Lodge was recently reinvigorated when several members of the Ashington and Bedlington Meals on Wheels Initiative joined their number, bolstering them and effectively saving it from certain closure. During the Covid pandemic the initiative delivered Sunday lunches to both Freemasons and their dependents, ensuring they received a good home cooked meal, in addition to enabling the volunteers to check that they were otherwise OK.  This was all made possible by generous donations from both the Mark Benevolent Fund and the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund. 

Another highlight of the evening was when W.Bro Sid Fisher was elected as an Honorary Member of the Lodge to mark almost 60 years of his membership.  Regrettably, Sid is unable to now attend the Lodge meetings due to advancing years, and ill health, and it was felt that this was a fitting tribute to mark his many years of devoted service.

The Lodge was consecrated in 1945 by the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Cecil A Cochrane, and was born out of the length of waiting times for Candidates in their respective Lodges, and the protracted time that a junior officer would have to wait to be given the opportunity to advance. In the early stages it was thought to be a Lodge for the ‘Upper Crust’ but nothing could be further from the truth, with 2 grocers, a plumber, a licensed victualler, an electrician, a storekeeper, a colliery datal hand and a schoolteacher being amongst the first 12 Initiates.  

Portland Lodge is now a thriving Lodge which has changed the night of meeting to a Friday and enable members to enjoy the fine dining which is one of the trademarks of the Ashington Building on what is for many not a “school night”.

If anyone is interested in becoming a joining member of Portland Lodge please do not hesitate to contact the Secretary WBro. Bob Waddell

Thanks go to W.Bro Bob Waddell, of Portland Lodge, for the submission of this article.

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