The second of the King Alfred lodge members to celebrate their 50th year certificate recently is W Bro John Cole PGJD who was initiated into the Bushey Hall Lodge, Watford on 16th January 1971. He moved around the country, arriving eventually in Surrey, where John became a guest in Merantune Lodge in Surbiton and after a year or so as guest, a friend being “fed up with paying for him”, persuaded him to join the lodge, where in 2001 he became it’s Master. Returning to Somerset in 2002, having lived in Locking in the 60’s, he joined his current lodge, King Alfred in Weston-super-Mare.
John became a Somerset Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in March 2010 and held that active office until 2014 when he was appointed Past Asst. Grand Director of Ceremonies. In 2018 John was promoted to the rank of Past Junior Grand Deacon..
Anyone who knows John is aware of his love of cars, and it is interesting to discover some of the tremendous events he arranged as organiser of the Masonic Classic Vehicle club.
One was a Classic Car Run in March 2008 to help celebrate the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Whilst their anniversary was in late 2007, most classic vehicles are off the road in the winter months. The sixty vehicles taking part travelled from Horse Guards Parade to The Tower of London and were lined up on The Wharf, opposite Traitors’ Gate. HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh were represented by HRH The Duke of Kent (The Grand Master of England) who inspected all the vehicles and chatted to those taking part. Freemasons taking part raised £10,000 for Leukaemia Research and The Stroke Association.
Another event at Buckingham Palace was in 2016 to help celebrate the 90th birthday of HM The Queen, who was represented by Prince Michael of Kent. This time John found 90 British vehicles, including a London double-decker bus. In a 1943 military Humber Staff Car were ‘Winston Churchill’ and ‘Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery’.
To help celebrate 300 years of Freemasonry, he arranged events throughout England to celebrate this national occasion, where Local Freemasons in each area ran the events. These were held in: The Isle of Man; the Lakeland Motor Museum in Cumbria; Thruxton Race Circuit near Andover; MFest 300 at Weston Park, Staffs; Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol; Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb near Worcester; The British Motor Museum at Gaydon; Ashlar House Masonic Centre at Bury St. Edmunds; Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent; Snetterton Race Circuit nr. Norwich; a run from Saltash to Lands End in Cornwall; Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset, The year’s programme finished at Brooklands Race Circuit near Weybridge in Surrey. The event at Brooklands included all entrants taking part on both the famous hill climb, and the banked circuit. The hill climb – built in 1909 – starts over its 352 feet length with a 1 in 8 slope rising to a 1 in 4 gradient at the top! The British Airways Concorde is part of the permanent display. The programme was seen by Grand Lodge as the most important ‘open to the public’ event of the year – and certainly the most media-conscious.
There were many other events over the years, but the most remarkable aspect of John’s time with the Masonic Classic Vehicle Club, which he formed, and ran for 15 years, was that it together with other events raised £503,000 for Charity.