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A meeting at Old Blackburnian Lodge No. 7933 is always a special occasion, but on Friday the 15th October is was made extra special with the celebration of 51 years in Freemasonry of John Duckworth. John was supported by a full Lodge Room and a large District Delegation who all enjoyed a wonderful evening and a welcome return to face to face meetings.

Following the business of the Lodge, Andrew Taylor as the Provincial Deputy DC led in a District Delegation headed by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Alan Kirwillian into the Lodge and after taking the chair from Worshipful Master Dave Mottershead, the celebration began.

As John was initiated into Morning Star Lodge No 4136, 51 years ago, and the minutes from that lodge are no longer available, Alan asked John for his recollections from that evening which he was happy to do as far as he could remember.Tony Kenny then delivered his tribute to John, this included details of his working life in the press and his early work in the establishment of the Provincial Communications Committee. The full transcript can be seen HERE.

As is the tradition for events such as this, the APGM highlighted events that took place in 1970. These included the price of everyday items such as a loaf of bread for 9p, but the average wage was £32 per week. He continued to highlight the film and music stars of the era and who was prominent in the field of politics at the time.

Alan then presented John with his Illuminated Certificate and letter from the The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Sir David Trippier, following which John was perambulated around the Lodge to the rapturous applause of the Brethren. Before the delegation departed, District Chairman Dave McGurty presented John with an extra token of appreciation and his 50th lapel badge which he hoped he would wear with pride. Dave thanked him for all the hard work he has put into the Lodge and in Freemasonry in general.

The festive board was wonderful with everyone enjoying each other’s company and partaking in the usual excellent ‘Old Blacks’ meal. In his response Alan Kirwillian was brief but very amusing when he recounted outlandish tales from the Sunday Sport newspaper where John was the Arts Editor for a while. John Wishart proposed the toast to John where he expressed great delight at John’s friendship not only to himself but to the Lodge. John’s response was brief but very sincere in his thanks for everybody’s company and for such a wonderful evening.

The Brethren left happy and well fed and watered. It was a fitting tribute to a dedicated Freemason who has done a lot in the Province to promote communications and who remains a very caring and charitable man. We all look forward to his 60th Anniversary!

Article and images: East Ribble District Team