On 10 November 1967, John Desmond Ryan PPrJGW, was initiated into Sefton Lodge No 680 after he was proposed by his father, the late Desmond Ryan. It took place in the Exchange Hotel, home of many lodges until its closure in the 70’s.
John has now completed 50 years in Masonry and a special celebration was held in his honour at The Artist’s Club in Eberle Street, Liverpool. Sefton Lodge, some years ago, amalgamated with Imperial Lodge No 2711 to become Imperial Sefton Lodge No 680 and numbered amongst its members; Ernie Waites, a past warden of the Province, Derek Elston (local pastoral officer), Patrick Kent (group charity steward) and Gladstone Group Chairman Bill Culshaw.
Prior to the meeting taking place, members and guests gathered in the anteroom to enjoy a glass of bubbly and an appetising variety of canopies.
The lodge was opened by the WM Steve Kayne, assisted by two guests who occupied the warden’s chairs, Ian Walton Gladstone Group Treasurer and Ian Elsby of Harmonic Lodge No 216. Stewart Potter acted as inner guard. Following confirmation of minutes, a ballot took place for a joining member, Brian Jackson, a past assistant to the grand superintend and still an active Royal Arch and Craft Mason. The ballot was unanimous and Brian was admitted and thanked the brethren before taking his seat to enjoy the proceedings. Guests were admitted, mainly close acquaintances of the celebrant John.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barry Fitzgerald was admitted and announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson was without and demanded admission. Derek was admitted accompanied by two acting Provincial grand officers, Patrick Kent PrDGReg and Daniel Sennick PrAGSwdB. Steve welcomed Derek with a wish that he had an enjoyable evening. Derek took his seat and was saluted by the brethren. Derek thanked the brethren and greeted them well.
Following salutations to the Provincial officers, Steve offered Derek the gavel which was accepted. John, the celebrant, was placed in a comfortable chair in front of the pedestal where Derek proceeded to delight the assembled members and guest by speaking about John’s lifetime achievements, Masonic, educational, career and outside interests.
For almost 20 minutes Derek covered in detail his early years prior to his initiation into Freemasonry at the age of 27. Educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and then Cambridge University where he gained a degree. John chose a career in computing as a programmer and analyst, computers in those early days were a far cry from today’s smart phone age. John had spent the last 20 years of his working life as a University Lecturer.
As well as becoming WM of Sefton Lodge for the first time in 1975, John again became WM of the newly amalgamated lodge Imperial Sefton in 2008. John is also a past first principal of Sefton Chapter No 680 and an active member of several other Masonic Orders. He is very much involved in his local church, a member of various committees and has held positions of vice chairman and chairman on some of those committees.
After Derek concluded his presentation, he called upon Bill Culshaw to read the jubilee certificate which had been signed by both Peter Taylor PrGSec and Tony Harrison PrGM. Bill presented the certificate to John which was then followed by a riotous round of applause. Derek then passed the gavel back to Steve who thanked Derek on behalf of himself and all those present, for his excellent presentation. The brethren applauded enthusiastically.
The festive board following the meeting was as spectacular as the workings in the lodge room. The toast to Derek Parkinson was proposed by Bill Culshaw, who spoke of Derek’s dedication in overseeing his three groups and how he particularly enjoyed 50th’s, 60th’s and occasionally, even 70th’s.
To cover celebrant’s lifetime achievements and to condense the highlights with a 20-minute talk, was quite a special gift. Derek responded in an eloquent manner and took the opportunity to promote the MCF 2021 Festival, the success of PSA testing which took place at the meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter and which will be repeated at the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge next May, and cash grants made to local hospices. The clatter of firing glasses on tiles following each response was deafening.
The toast to the celebrant John Ryan, was proposed by Peter Connolly who concentrated on his talents outside of Freemasonry. Many of those attending did not know of John’s acting skills, singing talent and ability to strum a guitar. John’s response was a delight to hear. He recounted on the various meeting places that Sefton Lodge had occupied over the last 50 years. His response was both, jovial and witty, and at the conclusion it was again greeted by the clattering of firing glasses.
It was all too soon time for the tyler’s toast, proposed by John Hibbert. Members and guests happy in the knowledge that John had enjoyed his celebration meeting, the memory of which will remain in the minds of all those present for many years to come.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall.