Wyrebank Masonic Hall was the venue for members of Scorton Lodge No 5791 and their many guests, to honour Alan Jenkinson on his achievement of 60 years in Freemasonry. Leading the tribute was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, accompanied by the Chairman of Lancaster and District Group Jim Wilson and fellow grand officer Keith Jackson. In addition, an impressive array of acting Provincial grand officers were in attendance, skilfully led by Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barry Fitzgerald. The remainder of the ensemble included Richard Wilcock, Bernard Snape, Paul Fuery, Ian Thompson, Christopher Gray and Christopher Larder.
On his entry into the lodge, David Grainger received a fervent welcome from the master of the lodge Kenneth (Ken) Parker, before being offered the gavel of the lodge. David wryly thanked Ken for his welcome and on accepting the gavel added: “Normally, when given the gavel it is a blur of light as I return it so quickly, but on this occasion, I will retain it.”
David then asked Barry Fitzgerald to place the celebrant before him and once Alan had been comfortably seated, David embarked on a fascinating and comprehensive biography. He began by remarking that the year of Alan’s birth, 1928 was a very different world from today. George V was on the throne and Stanley Baldwin was the prime minister. Women were given equal voting rights with men when their voting age was reduced from 30 to 21; the Flying Scotsman steam train made its first non-stop run from King’s Cross station to Edinburgh; Harry Ramsden opened his first fish and chip shop in Yorkshire; Sir Alexandre Fleming discovered penicillin and John Logie Baird transmitted the first transatlantic television signal. In that same year, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Bernard Cribbins were also born.
Alan’s early school years were spent at St John’s Church of England School in Pilling. At the age of 14 Alan left school and started work on his father’s farm, where he worked throughout the war years and beyond. At the age of 30 Alan had a complete career change when he joined his father-in-law’s insurance and brokerage business; eventually taking over the firm and working there until his retirement.
Alan’s path to his new career started in 1948 when he married Jean Hodgson, his future boss’s daughter. They have been blessed with a son and daughter as well as four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. In the local community Alan has, for many years, been a sides-person at St John the Baptist Church in Pilling. His involvement in the church, like his Masonry, has been unstinting.
Moving on to his Masonic career, David Grainger asked the secretary of Scorton Lodge to read an extract from the minutes of the meeting detailing the initiation of Alan into Freemasonry in May 1957. On completion of this task, David gave further details tracing Alan’s installation into the chair of Scorton Lodge in the year 2000, noting that he been a founding member of Pilling Lodge No 7879 in 1962 and became master of that lodge in 1971. Alan was in fact Pilling Lodge’s first treasurer and later its secretary for 13 years. In 1996 Alan was the master of Plantagenet Lodge of Installed Masters No 9357 and served as its group representative for many years.
In Provincial Lodge, he received appointment to the acting rank of Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, with a further promotion to the very high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden some four years later. In the Royal Arch Alan is a member of Scorton Chapter No 5791, became its first principal in 1974 and is now an honorary member of the chapter. In 1982, he became a founding member of Great Eccleston Chapter No 8895 and in the same year received his first appointment in Provincial Grand Chapter. Alan now holds the very high rank of Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
Alan’s service to Freemasonry does not end there however, as his involvement in other Masonic Orders testifies. In his time, Alan has been an active member of quite a number of other Masonic Orders.
At this juncture, David related that in recognition of Alan having served 60 years in Freemasonry, the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison not only heartily congratulated him on achieving this outstanding milestone in his Masonic journey but had caused to be issued a commemorative certificate in recognition of this achievement. David then asked the group chairman Jim Wilson to read aloud the contents of the certificate. On completion of this pleasant duty David presented Alan with the certificate before offering his personal congratulations and best wishes for the future, adding that his service to Freemasonry has been an example to us all.
Alan was invited to accompany David on his retirement from the lodge and was then afforded the place of honour at the ensuing festive board in the Wyrebank Banqueting Suite. Following the meal, David once again added his own congratulations and best wishes to Alan, whilst also thanking both the group and acting Provincial grand officers for their support, together with a special mention to Barry Fitzgerald for all his efforts in making the evening run smoothly.
It then fell to George Riley to heap further praise onto Alan and to present him with an engraved pocket watch on behalf of Scorton Lodge members. In reply, Alan mused upon his initiation, adding little did he think he would be stood here 60 years later, before thanking everyone present for their company on what had been a wonderful night.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.