Keith is the golden boy

Members of Lodge of Equity and Appleton No 1384 along with his many friends assembled at the lodge meeting to celebrate the 50 years of commendable service Keith Lysons has put into Freemasonry. Attending the meeting as the principal guest and to lead the celebration was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton.

Keith Lysons.

Keith Lysons.

Acting WM Geoff Enright opened the meeting and then the secretary of the lodge Trevor Price read out the dispensation for the change of date for the meeting. The change of date became necessary as on the normal night for the lodge meeting Keith was celebrating 55 years of marital bliss with his wife Barbara. Geoff then worked through the initial business of the lodge, which included a mention of departed merit, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Alf Roughsedge and the admittance of Ian Lynch PPrSGD as a joining member of the lodge.

With the initial business complete Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell announced the entrance of APrGM Kevin Poynton into the lodge. Kevin was accompanied by Widnes Group Vice Chairman Neil Pedder, grand and acting Provincial grand officers. Kevin received a very warm welcome from Geoff and retained the gavel offered to him so that he could officiate over the celebration.

Kevin thanked the lodge members for his invitation to this special meeting and proceeded to give an introduction to the evening explaining what it really meant to have the dedication to achieve 50 years in Freemasonry. The Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies was then asked by Kevin to seat Keith on a chair on the floor of the lodge and ensure that he is extremely comfortable and proceeded to give a resume of Keith’s personal and Masonic life as follows.

Keith was born in Warrington on Tuesday 18 July 1933 becoming the second son of William, who was the manager of Bradley’s clothing store in Widnes and his wife Florence and the younger brother of Eric. Keith maintains that he was born ‘on the right side of the river’ because he considers himself a true Lancastrian. Not long after Keith was born the family moved to Widnes and he started school at Simms Cross Primary School and after passing his scholarship in 1945 attended the Wade Deacon Grammar School, leaving with the School Certificate. Following on from Wade Deacon, Keith went on to spend some time at Widnes Technical College and gained an Ordinary National Certificate in Chemistry

Keith (left) being presented his certificate by Kevin Poynton.

Keith (left) being presented his certificate by Kevin Poynton.

After leaving school in 1950 he started work at Evans Medical Supplies in Runcorn producing small batches of medicine for human and animal use. From 1953 to 1957 Keith was employed by McKechnie Bros in Widnes as a research chemist carrying out analytical work in the making of copper powder by electrolysis.

This period at McKechnie Bros was interrupted in 1954 when he was called up for National Service and joined the RAF and trained as a wireless mechanic. On completion of his training Keith was posted to RAF Wahn near Koln in West Germany as a member of a team maintaining ground communication systems having responsibility for being receiver and transmitter. Keith left the RAF with the rank of Senior Aircraftsman.

Upon leaving the RAF Keith resumed work at McKechnie Bros until 1957 when he joined ICI Pilkington Sullivan working in a laboratory undertaking various roles before he decided to take early retirement in 1990.

It was during his time at McKecknie Bros that Keith met his wife to be Barbara and they were married at St Paul’s Church in Widnes on 3 September 1960 and have now celebrated 55 years of marriage. They have been blessed with three children; Allison, Jill and Michael.

Keith responds to the toast to his health.

Keith responds to the toast to his health.

During his school days Keith was very keen on sports and chess having represented Widnes in the long jump at the county sports at Bell Vue and represented his school at the inter-school chess competitions. In his youth Keith attended St Paul’s Church and was a member of the Parish Church Council. He was a member of St Paul’s Boys’ Brigade and held the position of treasurer for two years. However of late Keith’s main interest is golf, being a member of Widnes Golf Club for 53 years were he has been successful in winning some major competitions such as The President’s Putter and other Christmas competitions have netted 4 turkeys. Keith also play bowls both indoor short mat and crown green at Cronton Bowling Club where he has again won competitions. His other interest is painting using oil and water colours.

The initial seed to becoming a Freemason was planted by Clarry Edmundson, (Keith’s boss at McKechnie Bros), who later proposed Keith, aged 31, into Lodge of Equity No 1384, his seconder being Jack Martindale. He was initiated on 2 September 1965, passed on 1 September 1966 and raised on 30 December 1966. In 1990 Keith became WM of the lodge and in the following year he installed his brother Eric into the WM’s chair.

Whilst serving the lodge Keith has held to offices of almoner/charity steward for 11 years, assistant director of ceremonies for a short time and group almoner/care officer for 5 years. He was also instrumental in the group fund raising efforts for the 1997 festival in aid of the Masonic School for Girls and Boys. In 1999 Keith was recognised by the Province for his work and was appointed to the rank of PPrDGSuptWks and then in 2007 he was promoted to the very high rank of PPrJGW.

50 year lapel pin and tumbler from the group.

50 year lapel pin and tumbler from the group.

In the Royal Arch Keith was exalted into St Paul’s Chapter No 5459 in March 1992 and was installed into the first principal’s chair of St Paul’s Chapter in 1996. In 2003 he was appointed to the rank of PPrPGSoj.  He is currently a member of Bold and St Paul’s Chapter No 5459. Keith is also a member of another Masonic order.

Concluding Kevin said: “Our Provincial Grand Master has caused a commemorative certificate to be produced in recognition of your efforts which I shall now ask the group vice chairman Neil Pedder to read the inscription on it.” Following this Kevin presented the certificate to Keith saying: “Keith, it is with great pleasure that I now present to you this certificate to mark your continuous 50 years in Freemasonry and with it come the congratulations and best wishes of our Provincial Grand Master, who heads the Province of West Lancashire, but more particularly the members of the Widnes group.”

With the celebration of Keith’s 50 years complete Kevin handed the gavel back to Geoff to transact the final business of the lodge and to close the lodge. All the brethren then retired to the festive board to enjoy a delightful three course meal in a warm and social atmosphere. Towards the end of the evening a presentation was made the Keith of a bunch of flowers for this wife and gift vouchers for himself from the lodge. The group also gave Keith a 50 year lapel pin and a group tumbler, all of which were in recognition of Keith’s 50 years in Freemasonry.

Pictured from left to right, are: Malcolm Bell, Neil Pedder, Geoff Enright, Keith Lysons, Kevin Poynton, Derek Williams (group chairman), John Gibbon (group secretary) and Mark Barton PrDGDC.

Pictured from left to right, are: Malcolm Bell, Neil Pedder, Geoff Enright, Keith Lysons, Kevin Poynton, Derek Williams (group chairman), John Gibbon (group secretary) and Mark Barton PrDGDC.