The brethren of South Shore Lodge No 4672 came together to celebrate the long-awaited installation of Chris Keogh by his brother-in-law Tony Farrar the North Fylde Group Vice Chairman in what was to prove an emotional evening.
The lodge was opened by Ian Jackson, WM, who had great delight in welcoming Malcolm Bell, on his first visit to the North Fylde Group in his new role as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master. Malcolm brought with him a supporting line-up of grand and acting Provincial grand officers befitting of any Who’s Who publication.
Once Ian completed his duty and the formalities of welcoming Malcolm to the lodge, the gavel and the chair was handed to the installing master and Chris’s brother-in-law Tony Farrar, the North Fylde Group Vice Chairman.
I don’t think there could be a prouder man on that day as Tony, overseeing Chris complete his journey within the lodge and making that final step to the master’s chair, especially after the challenges Chris has had to go through over the past years.
For the purposes of installation, Tony requested the help from Jim Dale as installing senior warden, Howard Gebhard as installing junior warden and Roy Newstead as installing inner guard.
Once the installing officers had taken their places it was the cue for Pat Collier to rise and leave his seat to present the master elect. Once Chris had completed his obligation and those below an installed master had been asked to leave the lodge room, Tony installed his brother-in-law Chris into the chair in the sincere and moving ceremony anyone had witnessed in a long time.
On closing the board of installed masters, Tony took to the floor admitting each degree in turn. The presentation of the third degree tools was by Howard Emmett, the second degree tools were presented by Ken Hoskins and the first degree tools were presented by Peter English.
The address to the master was given by Daren Gardner who is also the new masters brother-in-law, the address to the wardens was given by Norman Pennington and of course the address to the brethren of the lodge was given by Malcolm Bell.
At the completion of the ceremony Malcolm took to his feet to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews to Chris and congratulate his installing master Tony and the brethren who had taken part in the ceremony especially those who had presented the working tools. Chris for his first duty had pleasure in presenting Malcolm with the donations given by the lodge, £500 to Cleveleys Masonic Hall, £250 to Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs, £250 to Together we can do and £100 to Brian House. Malcolm thanked Chris and the brethren of the lodge for their generous donations.
Chris completed his first meeting in charge by closing the lodge, the brethren then descended to the bar and dining room to enjoy the remaining part of the evening. One of the most moving parts of the evening was when the toast to the health of the master Chris was proposed by his installing master Tony.
Tony started by saying: “Christopher Robert Keogh is the new WM. Chris was initiated into the South Shore Lodge in 2012 and has dutifully progressed through every office. Chris should’ve been installed as WM in October 2020 but was prevented by the COVID pandemic.” Continuing Tony said: “Unfortunately, ill health prevented Chris taking his rightful place as master in 2021 and 2022 and it was fantastic to see Chris installed into the chair this year.”
Chris Keogh the family man. Chris and Tony Farrar have been friends for over 50 years and it is no wonder that through that friendship Chris found his soulmate Jenny the younger sister of Tony. Chris and Jenny are blessed with two grown-up children and four grandchildren. Chris runs a successful road marking company, Jk Roadmarkings Ltd with another friend Paul Jones.
Chris Keogh the life saver. Chris was on his way home from a late night of road marking and observed a lady lying on the pavement not far from his home, being concerned, Chris pulled over and went to check if she was okay. Chris realised she wasn’t breathing and was very cold, Chris immediately telephoned 999 and commenced CPR, the operator instructed Chris to continue CPR and counted the compressions with him and shortly after the lady started breathing. Despite the lady stopping breathing Chris carried on until the ambulance arrived and took over.
Chris had the great pleasure to appoint as his senior warden Eric Picton, South Shore Lodge’s only grand officer. Eric was appointed as senior warden to allow him to be in the chair in 2024 when the lodge celebrates its centenary.
During the evening the Master’s Song was rendered by John Darrell, a raffle raised £375 a magnificent start to Chris’s year in office. To close the evening the tyler’s toast was delivered by Gordon Ivett.