Victoria Lodge No 4629 February 2022 meeting in Widnes Masonic Hall was a very special meeting for Kenneth (Ken) Myers as it marked his 50 years in Masonry.
The meeting was opened by the WM John Gibbon who swiftly and efficiently conducted the initial business of the lodge, which included the balloting for a new member which proved favourable. Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Gary Smith then entered the lodge room to announce that Assistant Provincial Grand master Andrew Whittle stood outside the lodge and demanded admission.
Andrew entered the lodge accompanied by grand officers Tony Tallon, David Redhead and Widnes Group Chairman Neil Pedder. Also in attendance were Provincial Senior Grand Deacon Steve Williams and Provincial deacons Andy Baldwin and Phil Abbot.
Having received a very warm welcome from John Gibbon and been offered the gavel of the lodge, Andrew accepted the gavel to enable him the lead the 50th celebrations for Ken. In his opening remarks Andrew said how he had enjoyed attending many celebrations over the last 16 years as a group executive but it was a special privilege to be invited to take part in a brother’s special anniversary. Andrew then asked the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies to seat on a chair Ken on the floor of the ledge in front of the master’s pedestal and ensure that he was comfortable.
Commencing with Ken’s personal life, Andrew mentioned some of the famous people born in 1938; Kenny Rogers, Bill Withers and Terry Wogan to name but a few, but maybe the most famous of all is Ken Myers who was born in April 1938.
The following is a brief summary of Andrew’s account of Ken’s life. Ken’s father was a process worker and his mother an office support worker a Berry’s Tools which was the family business of Sid Berry, a former Chairman of Widnes Group. Ken has a twin brother Dennis who is the lodge organist and will celebrate 40 years as a Freemason in May 2022.
Ken attended Chestnut Lodge School followed by Simms Cross Junior School. After turning 11, Ken attended Fairfield School until he was 15 and then took employment at West Bank Power Station. At 16, Ken accepted a five-year plumbing apprenticeship with Bill Isherwood Ltd which involved attending night school at Widnes Technical College.
During his teenage years, Ken went to many of the local dance halls and met Margaret and they eventually struck up a firm relationship.
At the age of 21 years, Ken joined the 1st Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and was posted to Fulwood Barracks for 12 weeks and then to Barnard Castle, Durham to complete his training. This formed part of his two-year National Service from November 1959 to November 1961.
Just before Ken was posted abroad on 2 July, he and Margaret married at Halton Church, Runcorn. They initially lived with Margaret’s mother as her father passed away in 1958.
His first posting was to the jungles of Cameroon for nine months as part of a peace keeping force. On 1 January 1960, Cameroon broke away and became an independent state which meant that Ken was able return home on 9 May 1961 and was posted back to Barnard Castle. In November 1961 he finished his army career and returned home to resume his job with Bill Isherwood Ltd. Ken left Isherwood’s to take employment at J T Stanistreet Plumbers, where he stayed for two years.
Having returned to civvy street, it was only a short time before Ken and Margaret purchased their first home in Carlton Avenue, Runcorn in 1963. They moved to Solway Grove, Runcorn and then in 1985 to their present home in Weaverside Village, Runcorn.
He later set up on his own as an independent master plumber for seven years before working for Halton Borough Council as a technical assistant in the Environmental Health Department. After two years, Ken worked as an Assistant Building Officer in the Clerk of Works Department attached to the Architect Department. In 2003 Ken left and continued working as a consultant for local contractors on contract to HBC. Ken officially retired aged 65.
Ken and Margaret were blessed with two children, Paul born in 1961 and Suzanne, born in 1963. Paul married Caroline in August 1991 and they have children, William and Suzanne. Ken’s daughter Suzanne married Alan in August 1983 and they have two children, Christopher and Mark. In 2001 Suzanne and Alan moved to Atlanta in the USA and over the years Atlanta has become Ken and Margaret’s favourite holiday destination.
Unfortunately, Ken’s wife Margaret took ill in 2016 and sadly passed away in 2017 after 57 years of marriage. Ken has two lovely great-grandchildren that are his pride and joy, Theo and Scarlett.
In terms of hobbies, Ken has enjoyed crown green bowling and is a keen Liverpool supporter and like taking his grandson Christopher to matches when he is over from Atlanta. When in Atlanta, Ken often goes with Christopher and the family to watch Atlanta United play ‘soccer’. Ken is also a supporter of Widnes Viking RLFC.
Turning to Ken’s Masonic career, he was initiated into Victoria Lodge on 17 February 1972, his proposer was Eddy Carter and his seconder was Maurice Antwiss. Andrew then askes the lodge secretary peter Kenny to read the minutes of that meeting. Ken was passed to the degree of a fellow craft on 21 September 1972 and raised to a master mason on 15 March 1973.
Having progressed through the offices he became WM on 18 October 1981 following which he took the office of assistant director of ceremonies for two years. He became director of ceremonies in 1985, a position he held for 10 years.
In chapter, Ken was exalted into Bridgewater Chapter No 758 in the Province of Cheshire on 1 October 1974 becoming first principal on 1 December 1987. In 2001 he took the office of director of ceremonies for seven years and again in 2014 for two years.
Recognition for Ken in the Province of West Lancashire came on 18 October 1990 with the appointment of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, promotion came on 23 October to his current rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.
The Province of Cheshire recognised Ken’s work in the Royal Arch with the appointment to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner with promotion on 7 May to Past Provincial Grans Scribe Nehemiah.
Ken has always been a well-respected and excellent supporter of Victoria Lodge who when asked will give advice and guidance on the various ceremonies. He has also served on the Board of Widnes Masonic Hall Ltd for seven years.
In closing, Andrew said: “I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone present that we are absolutely delighted to see you here this evening to celebrate your 50th anniversary as a Freemason and even more so that you have allowed us to celebrate your special evening with you.
Ken, such is the importance of your golden jubilee that our Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison has caused a certificate to be struck to mark this wonderful achievement which I shall now ask the group chairman Neil Pedder to read”. To read Andrew’s full script,
Andrew then presented the certificate to Ken, along with a copy of the script used during the celebration, to loud acclamation. The meeting was then closed by the WM and all retired to a very happy and convivial festive board. The toast to the health of the celebrant was given by Ken’s brother Dennis who gave everyone a more interesting and humorous insight to Ken’s life. All to soon the evening came to an end with the tyler’s toast.