Row errupts over proceeds of Greenlaw's former masonic hall

A Greenlaw man has launched a scathing attack on the governing body of freemasonry in Scotland in a row over the proceeds from the sale of a former town lodge.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 31st January 2022, 8:06 am
The former masonic hall in Greenlaw.
The former masonic hall in Greenlaw.

The once-thriving masonic hall in Greenlaw is poised for conversion into two homes.

A planning application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for the conversion and partial demolition of the former masonic and function hall at Mill Wynd.

The Lodge Blackadder in Greenlaw is believed to have been granted its charter in 1927, and held its meetings in a number of locations.

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Gerry McCann.

It moved to 13 Mill Wynd in 1977 and was renowned for Saturday night social dances, community functions and wedding receptions with its two large halls, bars and kitchen.

Due to falling membership the lodge was declared dormant in October 2015.

Following its closure a campaign, originally backed by the leaders of Blackadder Lodge, was launched for a share of the proceeds from the sale of the building and from the lodge's other assets, including fixtures and fittings and cash reserves, in the region of £85,000, to be used to help fund an alternative community resource in the village.

Lodge members called on support with the campaign from Gerry McCann, then chair of Greenlaw and Hume Community Council.

The lodge members recently withdrew from the campaign after they were informed that such action was against the Grand Lodge's set constitution and laws.

But Mr McCann, who has no issue with the planning application, insists that the local community should benefit from the lodge's remaining assets and the proceeds from its sale. He believes a share of the funding should be ploughed in to proposed local projects, including the formation of a Greenlaw's Men's Shed .

Mr McCann said: "The issue fundamentally is that our village lost a valuable asset/community facility, and to make matters worse all of the money was taken away by 'strangers', who had not invested a penny and whose contribution was essentially to grant a charter in 1927.

"All I am trying to do is make their craven behaviour public, but it seems obvious that a solid brass neck is an essential prerequisite of holding office in the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

"They are, in effect, doing a 'Boris' – just brass it out and maintain there is nothing to see here, and rely on flimsy excuses, which can then be repeated ad nauseum. End result is that they get away with 'daylight robbery', but can sleep easily."

The Grand Lodge of Scotland said: "While we sympathize with Mr McCann's efforts on behalf of his local community, there are strict conditions in the constitution and laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland which govern the disposal of assets when a lodge goes dormant.

"All property and proceeds must be returned to Grand Lodge to comply with these regulations.

"Those funds cannot be used for local community projects. This simply falls outwith the scope of assistance provided by the Grand Lodge.

"We give to national causes such as Prostate Scotland, to whom we've donated almost £1 million.

"In principle we have no objection to Mr McCann's proposals but on this occasion our hands are tied by issues of governance.

"The original request for these funds was made by seven lodge members, one of whom has sadly passed away.

"The remaining six have since changed their minds, having been informed of the conditions in the constitution and laws.

"Mr McCann does not represent anyone from the former Lodge Blackadder."

Mr McCann responded that the Grand Lodge had the discretion, but were “refusing to exercise it”.