Keith receives a golden surprise

Members of Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom No 8500 proudly hosted the celebration of the golden jubilee of Keith Lang’s Masonic career at Ashton Masonic Hall. Lodge members and visitors assembled to celebrate Keith’s achievement, with a surprise guest to add enjoyment to the evening. Keith is currently the worshipful master of his lodge for the second time, having been in the chair previously in 1974.

Tony Bent (left) presents the celebratory certificate to Keith Lang.

Tony Bent (left) presents the celebratory certificate to Keith Lang.

The members were delighted to welcome Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent, who was accompanied by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Wigan Group, Malcolm Taylor and Geoffrey Porter and several grand officers, including John Roberts, Alex Sharp, Fred Wright and surprise guest, Provincial Grand Secretary for the Province of the Isle of Man, Martin Blackburn. They were escorted by Provincial deacons and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell and Provincial Deputy Grand Sword Bearer Michael O’Brien.

Tony was then offered the gavel of the lodge, which he generously accepted before proceeding to occupy the chair to conduct the celebration of Keith’s remarkable achievements in his 50 years of Masonry. Tony commenced by relating a history of memorable events that had occurred over the years since Keith was born. He then commanded that Keith be placed before him and related details from Keith’s biography.

Keith was born in November 1935 in Newburgh, Ormskirk and was educated at Newburgh C of E School and Ormskirk Grammar School before continuing his education at King William’s College in the Isle of Man. He gained his engineering qualifications at Wigan and District Mining and Technical College and St Helens Technical College and then pursued a career in engineering. He spent his professional life in coalmining with the National Coal Board at Wigan and St. Helens and then in local government with Liverpool Corporation and Manchester City Council, before retiring in 1992

For many years Keith’s two main leisure activities are and have been, scouting and walking. He joined scouting as a Cub Scout in 1944 and became a Queen Scout in 1952. He was a warranted or commissioned leader from 1953 to 2001 and his involvement includes being an Assistant Scout Leader in the IOM and Orrell, Venture Scout Leader in Orrell, Group Scout Leader in Aspull and Haigh Scout Group, Wigan for 21 years until he retired under the age-limit, Leader Training Commissioner in SW Lancashire, Greater Manchester West and at Gilwell Park International Training Centre from 1960 to 1979. He was presented with an award for 60 years’ service as an adult member in 2014.

In his home life, Keith has been married to his wife Mary for 44 years and they have a daughter Katie, a professional French horn player and twin sons Bob, a sixth form teacher at King Edward VI School in Birmingham and Tim, a Consultant Medical Scientist at Durham NHS Trust.

Keith’s Masonic career began when he was initiated into the King William’s Lodge No 3883 in the Province of the Isle of Man in January 1965. This made him a Lewis, being the son of the late Fred Lang, formerly of Bryn Lodge No 6553, King William’s Lodge and Arrowhead Lodge. Keith became WM of King William’s Lodge in 1971 and again in 2001. He is currently the charity steward and travels each month to carry out his duties in that office. Keith was appointed to the Provincial rank of PPrGSwdB in the IOM in 1989 and promoted to PPrJGW in 2000. Throughout all his many years in Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom Keith has only missed one meeting and two practices, an achievement that most Freemasons would only aspire to emulate.

He is a founder and was the first senior warden of Arrowhead Lodge and first served as WM in 1974. He has served various offices in the lodge most notably as secretary and is currently in the chair again. Keith was appointed to the acting rank of PrGStwd in 1978, promoted to the rank of PPrSGD in 1982 and again in 1992 to PPrJGW. He joined Peace Lodge No 2269 in 1967 and remained a member until just after the consecration of the then Arrowhead Lodge No 8500 in 1973. Arrowhead Lodge amalgamated with Lodge of Freedom No 5918 in September 2005 to become Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom No 8500. On appointment as a PrGStwd in 1978 he joined Quingenti Lodge No 8516 and since 2007 has been the tyler of that lodge.

Pictured from left to right, are: Martin Blackburn, Keith Lang and Fred Wright.

Pictured from left to right, are: Martin Blackburn, Keith Lang and Fred Wright.

In Royal Arch Masonry, Keith began when he was exalted in Peace Chapter No 2269 in December 1967 and he became first principal in 1978. He was appointed the acting rank of PrGStwd in 1981, promoted to rank of PPrPGSoj in 1985 and to PPrGSN in 1992. Keith served as the treasurer for 10 years and just before the chapter amalgamated he was the janitor in 2007 and joined Peace and Pemberton Chapter No 4686 following amalgamation and continues to act as janitor for that chapter. Keith is a founder and was the first Scribe Ezra of Arrowhead Chapter No 8500 in 1981, served as first principal in 1983 and since 1984 has been Scribe Ezra. He joined the Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516 in 1981 on his appointment as PrGStwd and has served as an assistant sojourner and was the second principal in 1996.

In his summing up Tony said: “Keith has proved himself to be a man of great energy, integrity, dignity and commitment and his Masonic record is one that most Freemasons could only aspire to.” He then asked Malcolm Taylor to read the jubilee certificate issued by the Provincial Grand Master before presenting the certificate to Keith with his congratulations. The assembled brethren greeted this with generous applause. In response Keith expressed his gratitude to everyone in attendance and to Tony for his warm words.

However, Tony commented that the proceedings were not yet complete and that he had one more pleasant duty to perform on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master. He then invested Keith with the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

The proceedings inside the lodge being complete, Tony and Keith processed from the lodge accompanied by the grand and acting Provincial officers. A bountiful festive board then took place during which further tributes were paid to Keith who responded at length with thanks to all present.

Pictured from left to right, are: Malcolm Bell, Geoffrey Porter, Martin Blackburn, Alex Sharp, Tony Bent, Keith Lang, Malcolm Taylor, Fred Wright, John Roberts and Michael O’Brien.

Pictured from left to right, are: Malcolm Bell, Geoffrey Porter, Martin Blackburn, Alex Sharp, Tony Bent, Keith Lang, Malcolm Taylor, Fred Wright, John Roberts and Michael O’Brien.