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John Strikes Gold with Universities Visit


April 2018

On Wednesday 4th April a delegation from Universities Lodge visited John Lightley in order share with him his 50 year membership certificate after Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Paul Thompson had formally presented the certificate to Tony Gibson as WM of Universities in their March meeting.

John currently resides at a Rest-home in Ponteland, with his wife of over 50 years Margaret, where he is well looked after and regularly visited by his children, grandchildren and great grandchild! He was delighted to receive his certificate from Worshipful Master Tony Gibson, as well as Stuart Forster and Richard Scothon of Universities Lodge. John Thompson was regretfully unable to make the occasion but was delighted that his words of congratulation and recognition for John’s notable achievement were passed on by those present.

John Lightley then took the time to share his varied professional and Masonic experiences beginning with his National Service in both Korea and Berlin, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the TA Durham Light Infantry. John had already received a Degree in Agriculture and used his skills to teach others at Houghhall Agricultural College as well as serving for 20 years with the Agricultural Training Board where he rose to the position of Senior Advisor for the North of England.

John was also committed to improving the lives of others in his successful political life which he enjoyed enormously. He served for 20 years as a Shincliffe Parish Councillor and was also a Councillor on Durham City and County Councils for many years. This commitment was recognised in his election as Mayor of Durham in 2005.

John had been introduced to Freemasonry by Charles Percy, College Principal of Houghall Agricultural College, at Universities Lodge in 1968, rising through the ranks and becoming WM in 1983. John later advanced to the ranks of Provincial Grand Registrar and Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, as well as being active in the Royal Arch Chapter, attaining the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.

As the discussion progressed, it transpired that both Richard and John had ancestors that may well have known each other through their work in the local coal mining industry around the beginning of the 20th century, as they were both colliery managers working in close proximity to each other, one at New Brancepeth (in the case of John), and the other at Ushaw Moor (in the case of Richard).

Reflecting upon the afternoon Stuart said ‘we enjoyed John’s company over lunch as he gave us more accounts of his remarkable life, before ending our visit with the presentation of John’s 50th anniversary certificate, with Tony doing the honours meaningfully reciting the text from the certificate word for word with great care, dignity and sensitivity which was much appreciated by all who were present. It was a sensational afternoon’.

Congratulations John on your wonderful achievement!

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