Piece of Freemason history returned to South Tyneside masonic lodge

L-R Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Watts, Worshipful Brother John Perry, Worshipful Master of St Bede Lodge Phil Dunn and Deputy Communications Officer Paul ODoherty

L-R Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Watts, Worshipful Brother John Perry, Worshipful Master of St Bede Lodge Phil Dunn and Deputy Communications Officer Paul ODoherty

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A piece of the borough’s Freemason history has been returned to its roots in South Tyneside.

John Perry made the 700-mile round trip from Plymouth to Jarrow after researching where the Masonic regalia he had inherited had come from.

A member of the Royal Naval Lodge on the south coast, John discovered an apron belonging to Frank Sissons had been presented in 1911 during an initiation ceremony held at the St Bede Lodge in Jarrow.

Mr Perry had been given the apron and Grand Lodge certificate, which is issued to masons after joining the fraternity, by his aunt who had married Mr Sissons’ brother.

The regalia was returned to St Bede Lodge – which is based in Jarrow’s Masonic Lodge – by Mr Perry during a recent meeting of Freemasons.

The return of the regalia was made even more special as this year the lodge, in Grange Road, Jarrow, celebrates its 150th anniversary.

To bring the regalia back to the lodge where it was first presented more than 100 years ago was incredible.

Lodge Spokesman

A spokesman for the lodge said: “We were contacted by John, who is a Freemason in Plymouth, who explained he had inherited masonic regalia which had belonged to his aunt’s brother-in-law Frank Sissons.

“His aunt knew John was a Freemason so had passed the memorabilia on to him.

“John had no links or connections to the North East, so for him to take the time to travel up to Jarrow from Plymouth, to bring the regalia back to the lodge where it was first presented more than 100 years ago was incredible. It was a 700-mile trip for John to make, but he was wanting to return the memorabilia back to Jarrow in memory of his aunt’s brother-in-law.”

The spokesman added: “There were very few people who knew John would be attending the meeting where he would hand back the regalia, so it came as a complete surprise to a lot of people.

“We are delighted to have had this piece of our history, which had been residing in his aunt’s loft for some time, returned to us, especially as the lodge is celebrating it’s 150th year.”

The Masonic apron is the badge of membership for Freemasons and symbolises the protective apron worn by stonemasons.

When a member joins he completes three ceremonies. After each one is completed he is given an apron which becomes more elaborate.

Freemasons come from all walks of life and are active in promoting a culture of integrity, charity and community responsibility.