Masons celebrate 200th year

The Worshipful Master of St John's Masonic Lodge No 162, Islandmagee, pictured at the 200th anniversary celebrations with Jack Leahy who received his 65 year bar and James N Brown who received his 60th bar. INLT 22-402-PR

The Worshipful Master of St John's Masonic Lodge No 162, Islandmagee, pictured at the 200th anniversary celebrations with Jack Leahy who received his 65 year bar and James N Brown who received his 60th bar. INLT 22-402-PR

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St John’s Masonic Lodge No.162 turned 200-years-old this week, as members and their friends and relatives enjoyed a special fundraising event.

About 170 people turned out at the Knockagh Lodge on Saturday evening to celebrate the milestone anniversary, raising the fantastic sum of £880 in the process.

The Islandmagee-based lodge also held a commemorative event at their meeting place on Brown’s Bay Road earlier that day, where a stained glass window was dedicated to mark the occasion in the presence of Assistant Grandmaster Rodney McCurley, Provincial Grandmaster of Antrim John Dickson and about 80 other distinguished members.

Two long-serving members were also honoured at the event, with Jack Leahy receiving his 65-year bar and certificate and Norman Brown being presented with his 60-year bar and certificate.

And on Sunday, a special service sponsored by the lodge was held at First Islandmagee Presbyterian Church, with all offerings being donated to charity.

Worshipful Brother Russell Lindsay, who has been a member of the lodge for 15 years, told the Times: “Charity work is at the heart of Freemasonry, and over the past 10 years, this lodge alone has raised about £25,000 for good causes in the local area. The £880 raised at the Knockagh Lodge on Saturday will be donated to the NI Hospice, and the lodge will contribute an extra £120 to bring the total up to £1,000.

“St John’s Masonic Lodge was formed on May 28, 1813, and has a strong sea-faring tradition. Our new stained glass window shows a vessel entering home waters and was designed by long-standing member and well-known Islandmagee artist, Paddy MacDonell.”

The lodge had 20 founding members and originally met at Mill Bay before moving to its current location in 1873. It was formerly known as the Mariner Lodge, but changed its name to St John’s in 1895. There are currently 57 members.

“Anyone who is interested in becoming a member should speak to a member, and they will be guided in the right direction,” Mr Lindsay concluded.