On this day in 1924 John Edward Thompson "Jackie" Milburn was born. Wor Jackie was not only an International Footballer and local hero but also a Freemason!

On 18 October 1947, Milburn wore the number nine shirt for the first time and scored a hat-trick. Milburn's subsequent achievements, particularly his two goals which won the 1951 FA Cup Final and his 45-second opener in the 1955 FA Cup Final which was the fastest ever Wembley FA Cup Final goal until it was beaten by Robert Di Matteo in 1997, brought him national recognition and afforded him iconic status on Tyneside. In total, Milburn played in three FA Cup winning finals for United; 1951, 1952 and 1955. Despite his achievements, Milburn was reportedly a very shy and self-deprecating individual, whose modesty further endeared him to Newcastle United supporters.

The pulling on of the number nine shirt and Jackie's amazing achievements are known by many, but what many do not know is Milburn was a Freemason here in the Province of Northumberland. He was the very first initiate into Shiremoor Lodge No.6921 in 1950 at the age of 25, on the same night as the Installation of the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge. He never progressed in the lodge and stayed as Chief Steward to serve the brethren. He said that he enjoyed serving the brethren their food as they had supported him in his footballing career and this was a small way of returning their support.

In Shiremoor Masonic Hall, a well known poem amongst Northumberland Freemasons is on display in the bar.

Wor Jackie” was a Mason. A bit like you and me. He was known to kick a ball about just a time or two. “Toon Army” wasn’t heard of then, which was really a bit of a shame, Cos wor Jackie was the General who brought United fame. Now he couldn’t get so often, when there was footballin’ to do, but wor Jackie was a gentleman and a mason through and through.

By the time Milburn left Newcastle in 1957, he had become the highest goalscorer in Newcastle United's history. He remained so until he was surpassed by Alan Shearer February 2006. Milburn remains Newcastle's second highest goalscorer, having scored 200 competitive goals.

You will be amazed by the number of sports personalities who were and are Freemasons to this day. Did you know we have our very own Lodge of Sportsmen 9823 which meet in Newcastle? If you're into sport and curious about Freemasonry, then why not drop us a line.