On the 14th of December 2017, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro David Burton, visited St Wilfred Lodge No. 4453 and presented WBro John with a 70th Anniversary Certificate.
The year of 1947 was a year of contrasts:
- It had the worst winter on record with snow drifts of 20-feet high followed by severe floods, particularly in Norfolk and the low lying areas of the Fens.
- HM The Queen married HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
- Rationing was still in force,
- The coal Industry was nationalised,
- Charlton Athletic won the FA Cup 1-0.
- The school leaving age was raised to 15.
It was also a very special year for a young John Gilbert as he was initiated into St Wilfred Lodge No. 4453 at Oundle on the 17th December.
During his Masonic career, WBro John has made a significant contribution to Freemasonry not only in this Province, but also in London, Surrey and Derbyshire.
He was Worshipful Master of St Wilfred in 1959 and Assistant Secretary from 1991 to 1999. Since 2010 he has served as Organist.
In total, WBro John has been a member of five Craft Lodges, three HRA Chapters, two Mark Lodges and two Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. He's also been an active member of Knights Templar, Knights Templar Priests, Rose Croix, Royal & Select Masters, Order of the Secret Monitor, Allied Masonic Degrees, Red Cross of Constantine and The Operatives, plus a number of other diverse orders as YE Corporation of Squaremen and Pilgrim Preceptors the St Andrews Conclave.
WBro John is also an international Mason being a member of two KTP tabernacles in Brazil, where he is also an Honorary Past Grand Officer in Knights Templar.
To attend St Wilfrid lodge meetings, WBro John travels from his home in Coulsden, Surrey - a round-trip of 240 miles.
WBro John acts as guest organist in many other Lodges and side degrees. He also holds honorary membership in a number of Chapters, Mark and RAM lodges as a result of taking part in their consecration.
WBro John has held office in Province as PPJGW, achieved London Grand Rank, Senior London Grand Rank and was appointed a visiting officer in London.
He was awarded the rank of Past Grand Standard bearer in the Holy Royal Arch in 1995 and the same rank in Craft in 1996. He also holds Grand Rank in eight side-degrees. During the presentation, the APGM held WBro John’s Masonic curriculum vitae aloft; the Brethren could see that it totalled many pages!
At the festive board, WBro John was further honoured by gifts relating to his Masonic career as well as another certificate issued by RW Bro Steven Varley, the Provincial Grand Master of Derbyshire. The certificate was presented by WBro Nigel White, WM of Fons Vitae Lodge in Derbyshire, the lodge where WBro John was Master in 1998.
Following the presentation, WBro John regaled those in attendance with stories from his years in Freemasonry, which will hopefully live in memory for many a festive board to come.