George Stephenson Lodge No.3390, which meets at Wylam Masonic Hall, recently witnessed a remarkable event as Bro John Coffey received a coveted fiftieth certificate, for uninterrupted service to the Craft, having been a long-term member, without being able to attend many of the Lodge meetings.
The meeting saw VWBro Kevin Stannard, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, execute Johns history, leaving him visibly emotional..
A talk by WBro Hugh McLeod about “The Mary Celeste” concluded the meeting itself, with the festive board full of speeches and toasts and John promising to do his utmost to attend future Lodge meetings.
John first became interested in Freemasons in his early 20s and, as his uncle was a member of Vandeleur Lodge No.3586, which meets in Shiremoor Masonic Hall, he consulted him. Then, via another family member, he contacted the George Stevenson Lodge, which had a long waiting list of candidates, however, he eventually joined in May 1973, and offered his services to assist the pool of Stewards.
He studied commerce at college and in 1966 his application for student registration was accepted by The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants, and he started his first job as a Cost Clerk. In 1979 he started to work in the broadcasting and media industry and during this time, he worked very closely with the General Manager, John Tonge, a Past Master of the Lodge, and was one of the last people to see him alive when he died at work.
In 1986 he decided to finalise his professional qualifications and returned to college full-time and, together with home study, passed his professional exams. In April 1987, he was confirmed as FCMA, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and since then, he has added CGMA, Chartered Global Management Accountant, to his list of qualifications. In 2013 he finally began to run down his business interests and client base.
Initially, his work environment enabled him to attend the Lodge regularly, however, as he became involved with companies, with locations outside the North East, it became more challenging to maintain regular attendance. He did, however, continue to support the lodge and pay his annual subscriptions, although at times only after receiving a timely reminder from the Treasurer.
Since moving back into the area, he intended to reconnect with the lodge, becoming aware of a Social Event at the Lodge in September 2022, which he attended with his wife. He thoroughly enjoyed the night, met some old friends, and made some new ones, including the Secretary, George Tuck and the present Master, Ivor Gregory.
There was only one more thing to do for John: Buy a suit.
All the above was made possible with the constant support and encouragement from his wife, Glenda.
Congratulations to John, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons.
If you have a story, event, or news item that you would like to share, please email the Provincial Communications Team at email@example.com