There are times when one instinctively knows that when a young man joins Freemasonry that he is destined to prove himself worthy and rise through the ranks. It is not because he is affluent or privileged in any way or because he is precocious or that he has particular skills. It is because he is reliable, diligent, trustworthy, keen and eager to learn.
One such young man was Graham Kenyon and it was a delight witnessing him elevated to the master’s chair in Brotherhood Lodge No 3967. A chartered electrical engineer by profession who runs his own consultancy business, he approaches his Masonry with the same precision that he insists on in his work and, when considering that a large portion of his work has been in designing specialist systems for airports and railways, it is indicative of the attention to detail that he shows in Freemasonry.
Appropriately, the principal guest at Graham’s installation ceremony was Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton, a man who is only too familiar with the importance of precision. He has sole rights to the world-wide manufacture and distribution of ‘glass knives’ that are largely used in medical and research procedures. Much sharper and finer than steel blades, they can achieve far greater precision than their steel counterparts, down to only a few nanometres.
The brethren were highly delighted to welcome John as their principal guest and he in turn was very pleased to have the support of Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson, Blackpool group chairman Peter Bentham and fellow grand officers Rev Canon Geoffrey Moore and Roger Perry. Adding further lustre to the pantheon of distinguished guests was a bevy of acting Provincial officers in the form of Provincial grand steward Jim Finnegan, Provincial Grand Tyler Gordon Ivett, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies Brian Ogden and Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, Bill Hembrow.
Working hard to get to grips with the magnitude of the task that lay ahead of him, installing master Clive Tandy was zealously pursuing an early conclusion to the formalities of the evening. In an aberrant and singularly memorable ceremony, he placed Graham in the chair of King Solomon and was visibly relieved when it reached that point at which the Assistant Provincial Grand Master brought warm greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, wishing Graham a happy, healthy and successful year during his tenure as master of the lodge. He went on to say that he was delighted that such a broad spectrum of members of the lodge had been involved in the ceremony and was particularly exuberant in his praise of the guest organist Roy James.
His observations on the number of members of the lodge involved in the ceremony had not escaped the notice of those present. Young brethren worked alongside the more experienced members of the lodge and the spectrum of brethren was further widened by the lodge inviting Jim Finnegan and Tony Hind of Mereside Lodge No 6360 to occupy the roles of installing junior and senior wardens and Alistair Still of Symphony Lodge No 4924 to act as installing inner guard.
Honorary member and elder statesman of the lodge William Parsons presented the master elect while senior members Tony Ansell and David McBain gave the addresses to the newly installed master and wardens respectively. The tools of a master Mason were delivered by Robert Wareham; those of a fellow craft Mason by the lodge’s director of ceremonies Mark Smith and the working tools of an entered apprentice by Lee Beckett, one of the newest members of the lodge. Delivering his piece in fine style and with panache, Lee demonstrated that, although relatively new to Masonry, he was more than up to matching anyone else. He further demonstrated his versatility by performing the master’s song at the festive banquet that followed the ceremony.
From the moment that Graham occupied the master’s chair, he appeared comfortable and at ease, taking charge of the proceedings with clarity and authority; just as one might have expected. His professionalism and attention to detail was immediately evident and will be an enormous asset to the lodge.
Graham is primarily, however, a family man and it is his children who have dictated his interests outside of his work and Freemasonry. Thomas and Anna, his young children, play chess at a national level, both having represented Lancashire in their respective age groups. Graham is always there to support them and is an accomplished player in his own right, enjoying the distinction of having beaten a grand master of the game on one occasion (although by Graham’s own admission, the grand master was playing nine other contestants simultaneously). Nevertheless, it is a measure of his abilities and determination.
Congratulating Graham on attaining the chair of King Solomon, John was delighted and amazed to receive details of donations made to charities and good causes during the year amounting to more than £2,300 which included £1,000 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £300 to Riding for the Disabled, £500 to Friends of Fylde Community Link and £500 to Fleetwood Rugby Club’s Junior Section.
During his response to the first rising, Blackpool Group Chairman Peter Bentham remarked that ‘with Graham in the chair, the lodge is in very safe hands’. There is no doubt that in his training to be an electrical engineer, Graham was distinctly hotwired to become master of the lodge.