Diamonds are forever

In 1989 Jon Selcoe became the master of the St John’s Lodge No 2825 for the first time and in 2018 he became master for the second time. Jon is an active Mason and has managed to juggle his home life with his Masonic life and running a successful jewellery business before his early retirement.

Keith Jackson (left) congratulating Jon Selcoe.

Keith Jackson (left) congratulating Jon Selcoe.

The lodge itself is over 100 years old having formed in 1900 and it has become tradition in the lodge that the minutes from 100 years ago are read out to enlighten the brethren.

Prior to the commencement of the main event, Jon was asked by the current master John Earnshaw to read the bygone minutes of the installation of a certain George Whitaker. At George’s installation it is noted that there were 55 members of the lodge and 63 visitors in attendance, these numbers reflect a different age and time for Freemasonry.

Anthony Rigby the director of ceremonies, retired from the lodge to escort the visiting dignitaries into the lodge. The brethren were pleased to receive Keith Jackson, who on the evening was representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, accompanied by fellow grand officers John Turpin Blackpool Group Chairman, Terry Hudson, Stuart Thornber and Peter Bentham, together with Anthony Rigby, acting Provincial Grand Steward. The WM carried on with the ceremony of installation by inviting Robert Bennett to act as installing senior warden,to act as installing junior warden, Jack Monksand Peter Vinnard to act as installing inner guard. The master then asked John Forster to act as installing master.

John Earnshaw, the outgoing master, then presented Jon to the installing master so that he might receive the benefit of installation into the chair of King Solomon from his very good friend. The ceremony was flawless and was conducted in the manner that the occasion warranted. 100 years ago, 118 attended the ceremony, this time around 54 watched on, which for today is an excellent number of brethren.

The jewels in the crown who delivered the working tools, from left to right, are: Martin Bleeker, Malcolm Davis and Nick Osbourne.

The jewels in the crown who delivered the working tools, from left to right, are: Martin Bleeker, Malcolm Davis and Nick Osbourne.

The working tools were delivered by Nick Osborne, Malcolm Davies and Martin Bleeker, it must be said that of all the events happening on this great occasion this was the real jewel in the crown. Jon received the master’s address for Robert Bennett in an exemplary manner, the address to the wardens was delivered by Neil Winkley and finally the address to the brethren of the lodge was delivered in his usual relaxed style by Keith Jackson.

Once all the officers for the ensuing year and been appointed and invested, Keith Jackson rose to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to Jon and the brethren of the lodge. He said that the Provincial Grand Master would have been delighted with the occasion and would have wished to congratulate the immediate past master John Earnshaw and installing master John Forster, and the rest of the brethren who took part, in particular the three junior brethren for their exemplary delivery of the working tools.

John Earnshaw, the immediate past master, presented Keith with a series of cheques for distribution to the named charities. Keith was taken aback when he saw the generosity of the brethren and he read out to the gathered brethren where the monies were to be distributed to.The Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival received £4,514, £1,000 went to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £500 to Alzheimer’s Society, £500 to Marie Curie and £200 to support the Masonic Hall Building Fund, a grand total of £6,714.

Members of the lodge and their guests enjoying the festive board.

Members of the lodge and their guests enjoying the festive board.

The lodge business was swiftly concluded and the gathered brethren retired to the bar to partake in some well-earned refreshment, this was of course done for medical reasons as the brethren did not want to succumb to dehydration later in the evening. Part way through the festive board Keith responded to the toast to the grand officers by congratulating all who took part, in particular he singled out the junior brethren who delivered the tools for special praise, he also thanked the lodge for its very generous support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival.

After John Earnshaw had delivered a speech to the new master there followed a rendition of the master’s song, which would have rivalled Shirley Bassey’s delivery of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, by David Harrison, accompanied by the ever-youthful George Holden on the organ. The new master, Jon, then gave a wonderful response to John’s toast and thanked all the brethren who took part.

During his speech Jon commented that this was the first time that the lodge had put a master into the chair for a second time and this must be a record within the group if not within the Province. Not wanting to spread fake news, your erstwhile reporter has in fact checked the list of past masters and it is correct the new master Jon Selcoe is the first in the lodge to be installed twice in the chair,it’s true, diamonds are forever.

Pictured from left to right, are: Peter Bentham, Terry Hudson, Keith Jackson, Jonathan Selcoe(WM), John Thornber and John Turpin.

Pictured from left to right, are: Peter Bentham, Terry Hudson, Keith Jackson, Jonathan Selcoe(WM), John Thornber and John Turpin.