Northumberland Grand Officers’ Mess

12th March 2024

The Deputy Grand Master, Sir David Hugh Wootton, was the guest of honour at the inaugural meeting of the Northumberland Grand Officers’ Mess.

Held on 1st March at Ashington Masonic Hall, the idea for a mess came from WBro. John McNeil, who is a member of a similar group in West Yorkshire. He discussed it with WBro. Gordon Criags, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, who got support for the Mess from the Provincial Grand Master.

The plan is to hold two meetings a year, one in the spring and the other in the summer, at various halls in the Province. Grand Officers in the Province are eligible to join and can invite Masonic guests.

It was at the Quarterly Communication in September 2023 in Newport that John approached Sir David and asked if he would be prepared to address a Mess in Northumberland. He agreed provided that he could also attend a lodge while in Northumberland, hence his visit to Percy Lodge the night before.

A ‘trial run’ was held at Fern Avenue and, afterwards, Grand Officers were consulted about the format. After an excellent Mess lunch at Ashington, the Deputy Grand Master gave an address about ‘Service’. This was particularly significant given that the Ashington building was the base for the Meals on Wheels group which delivered meals to vulnerable and shielding individuals during Covid. Some of the group members then went on to ‘rescue’ Portland Lodge, which meets in the building.

Presently the Mess has 53 members and it hoped to increase the number as more Grand Lodge Officers are appointed. The next meeting is planned for an evening in July at Fern Avenue, Jesmond.

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