On Wednesday 6th April at a regular meeting of St. Gabriel Lodge No. 2995, W Bro. John Yim Chan, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master was presented with a certificate to mark his 50 years of continual service in Freemasonry by R W Bro. Peter Magnay DL, the Past Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Northumberland. This celebration was delayed almost one year late due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
John was initiated in St. Gabriel Lodge on 7th April 1971, passed on 1st September 1971 and raised on 1st March 1972. He was its Worshipful Master in 1979 and 1998. He was the Founding Junior Warden in Oriental Lodge No. 9371 and was in the Chair in 1992. He joined Northumbrian Masters’ Lodge No. 3477 in 1993 and was in the Chair in 2016. In 2017, he also joined David Kenneth Williamson Lodge No. 9938 which meets in Grand Lodge and is dedicated to University Scheme candidates who have been through the Chair as well as the members of its Scheme Committees.
In the Province, John was appointed as Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 1989 and promoted to Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1992. He was also made an honorary Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in the Province of Argyll and the Isles in Scotland in 1996. In Grand Lodge, he was appointed as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremony in 1996 and was promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon in 2008 when he was the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland.
In Royal Arch Chapter, John was exalted into Chapter de Sussex No. 406 on 8th March 1982 and was in the Chair in 1989 and 2018. He was made a life member of Islay Royal Arch Chapter (Scottish Constitution) in 1995. He was the Founding Zerubbabel in Oriental Chapter No. 9371 in 2005. He also joined Northumbrian First Principals Chapter No. 3477 and was in the Chair in 2021.
In the Province, he was appointed as Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in 1994 and in Supreme Grand Chapter, he was appointed as Past Grand Standard Bearer in 2000 and promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2009.
John was appointed as the Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2007 and retired in 2012. During which time, he had set himself 4 targets which were all achieved, and these were:
- Setting up of a new Provincial Website in 2008.
- Design of a new Provincial logo.
- Introduced a new Provincial tie in 2008 which has been worn by the brethren until it was replaced by a new tie in 2019.
- Getting our Province on board with the Universities Scheme in 2009. Up to date, our two Scheme Lodges, Hotspur Lodge No. 1626 and Duke of Connaught No. 3892 are highly successful and have initiated many University candidates including staff and students. Hotspur recruits those from the University of Newcastle whereas Duke of Connaught gets them from the University of Northumbria. In 2010 and 2014 the Scheme President and the Assistant Grand Master at the time, R W Bro. David Kenneth Williamson visited Hotspur Lodge and the current President and the Assistant Grand Master, R W Bro. Sir David Wootton attended the Duke of Connaught Lodge centenary in 2018.
St. Gabriel Lodge was the sponsoring Lodge and is the Mother Lodge of Oriental Lodge. Seven Founders were from St. Gabriel out of a total of twenty-five. Since John founded Oriental Lodge whose motto is the Bridge of Friendship, he had visited Lodges in our neighbouring Provinces, London, Surrey, Lincolnshire, Berkshire, 4 Provinces in Scotland, a District overseas which is of course, Hong Kong and the Far East and the South-West Pacific Group of Lodges namely Fiji.
Finally, John is also a member of Mark Master Mason, Rose Croix, Knight Templar and Knight Templar Priests, and has been through the Chair in all and has received good Grand or Provincial honours.
John was born in China and lived in Hong Kong for 5 years before emigrating to England with his mother to re-join his father who was already living here in Newcastle. He was 13 when he came to the UK and attended Walbottle East and then Walbottle Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne. He received a B.Sc. degree in Teesside Polytechnic and an M.Sc. at Newcastle University.
John is a retired Senior Lecturer from the University of Northumbria. When he retired and in order to occupy his spare time during the day, he took up 2 voluntary jobs which were a member of the Trustees Board of Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau for 7 years and a member of the Board of Governors at Redesdale Primary School in Wallsend for 8 years.
John is married and has a son, a daughter and 3 grandchildren.