WyBro Ken Laidlaw who is a member of a few Conclaves in our order as well as being one of the Provincial Visiting Deacons recently celebrated 50 years in Freemasonry. A milestone that was recognised in the North East of England, at a ceremony in the Lodge in which he was initiated in 50 years ago. Ken, a native of Jarrow, a famous shipbuilding and steel making town on the banks of the river Tyne was initiated into Gyrwy Lodge No 6462 in the Province of Durham.

Ken and Margaret in the lodge

Ken and Margaret in the lodge

Ken had joined the same Lodge as his father; Matty .He was passed on 9th March 1966 and made a Master Mason on 10th September 1967. Ken’s attainment of his 3rd degree marked a fantastic double, as he had gained a degree in Electrical Engineering in the previous year. He moved to the Bury a few years ago and splits his time between the Province of East Lancashire and Durham.

The ceremony was indeed very special: The Province of Durham,as part of an initiative to mark the importance of the family in supporting a Brother it was decided that Ken’s wife, Margaret would join the brethren in the lodge room following the close of the meeting. The Provincial Director of Ceremonies left the lodge and returned with Margaret and placed her next to Ken. The brethren watched on as John Watts, Assistant Provincial Grand Master presented Ken with his certificate to recognise the achievement of 50 years in the Craft. At the end of a moving presentation Ken and Margaret paraded out with The Master of the lodge, Derek Luke accompanied by his officers and the provincial delegation. All agreed this was a great initiative to involve families with Freemasonry.

Left to right, Tom Corbally, Ken and Allan Shields

Left to right, Tom Corbally, Ken and Allan Shields

The night did not end there! The brethren enjoyed some local Jarrow cuisine at the festive board. Ken was presented with a gift from the Lodge and Margaret received a lovely bunch of flowers.

The OSM province was represented at the meeting by the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, Tom Corbally along with another Provincial Visitor, Allan Shields, who like Ken is in exile in the North West. Allan was born in County Durham and lived in Jarrow for 25 years; Tom has relations in Newcastle so both made the journey north to celebrate with Ken.

John Watts (left) presents Ken with his certificate

John Watts (left) presents Ken with his certificate