The meeting of Dormer St Margaret’s Lodge number 5588 on the 17th of March 2023 was an extra special celebration.
The event was to mark the 50th anniversary of Allan Cooke, initially planned for last year, Allan unfortunately became ill the week of the meeting and passed away.
After consideration and the support of Alan’s family, the Area and Lodge would plan a posthumous celebration. This meant the family and friends could come and celebrate the fantastic achievement of 50 years in Freemasonry.
Ian MacNeil took the chair for the evening and opened the lodge in due form. Following a report, Harold Cooper, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered the lodge and announced that Peter Hegarty, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the City West Area, was outside the lodge and that he demanded admission.
Once the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by a City West Area Delegation, was seated, Ian MacNeil offered him the gavel, which he was delighted to accept on this occasion.
The Assistant Provincial Grand Master introduced the members of the Area delegation, which included Chris Armstrong, Area Chairman for the City West Area, Andrew Foster, Area Mentor; Peter Tonge, Area Treasurer, Ben Davies, Area Communications Officer, Ian MacNeill, Area Charity Steward, John Roberts, Royal Arch Area Officer, Mick Dugdill, Deputy Area Mentor and Eric Baker Area Deputy Charity Steward, many of whom were members of the lodge.
The Assistant Provincial Grand Master called the lodge off and asked the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to invite the family and guests into the Lodge. Once the Family and guests were seated they were welcomed by the lodge.
The Assistant Provincial Grand Master asked the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to place Marjorie and her daughter in the centre of the lodge. Once they were seated comfortably he gave a personal tribute about Allan.
The celebration planning was at an advanced stage when Covid struck and stopped Allan’s Masonic activity. Unfortunately, Allan’s health deteriorated, but even while in the hospital, he was concerned about how he could attend this celebration.
Allan was born in Longsight in 1938. He was the second son of Lawrence and Gertrud. The family were living in Timperley when he attended Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. He joined the scouts with his older brother Lawrence and loved playing cricket and football. His football passion has always been Manchester City where he supported them through thick and thin mainly thin.
At 18, he was called up to national service in Germany, where he entered the Medical Corps having been promoted to Corporal, he went on to arrange air transfers to bring injured soldiers home to the UK it was here that he met Marjorie who was also stationed in Germany completing her nursing training.
After leaving Germany, Allan and Marjorie returned to the UK and moved to Altrincham he took a job with Heinz in Stratford in 1964 Allan and Marjorie married and settled into life in Lymm over the next seven years they were blessed with four daughters Melanie, Amanda, Cheryl and Heidi.
Alan was certain after three girls; he would get the son he wanted to take to the football. This was not to be, and he happily accepted that he was to be taking his girls to Maine Rd, the cheer on the Blues.
Time went by, and he started work for shell in Carrington he was an enthusiastic five-aside player unfortunately, he broke his ankle, and that put an end to that.
Allan was a man of integrity. He was intelligent, honest, hard working, selfless, caring and loyal. It was these attributes which led him to explore freemasonry. His father Laurence and good friend Harry introduced him to Dormer St Margaret’s lodge, where he was initiated on the 18th of February 1972
Masonry was a large part of Allan’s life here Marjorie enjoyed the social activities and made many lifelong friends in the early 80s Allan was promoted and travelled to different oil terminals around the UK.
Eventually, he was offered a permanent promotion at the BP terminal in Falmouth. After two years of commuting, the family was relocated 340 miles taking the youngest two daughters with them.
Allan continued to travel once a month to visit his lodge in Salford and became the Worshipful Master in December 1988.
At 55 years old, Allan retired as the Falmouth of operation was closed, and he devoted his time to local charities, including his local health centre.
He was on the committee which set up the Special Olympics for Cornwall and was also an active member Of the friends of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health authority Alans support and friendship were highly valued by all who knew him.
Allan had kept in contact with the Area while in hospital discussing how he and Marjorie would attend their celebration with their family we are sure he would have been delighted to see you all here in this place where he spent so many happy hours.
Allan’s wife Marjorie and daughters Melanie, Amanda, Cheryl and Heidi, along with their husbands and Alan’s nephew Harry also a freemason, are all here this evening to celebrate on behalf of Allan. It is an evening mixed with pleasure, huge pride and tinged with sadness.
Peter Tonge then read the letter from the Provincial Grand Master to the family before the Assistant Provincial Grand Master presented Marjorie with the certificate celebrating 50 years in Freemasonry.
The Social board that followed was expertly coordinated by the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Harold Cooper.
More personal tributes were paid to Allan and thanks given to the family for coming from so far away to help celebrate this special occasion with the Lodge.