60 years a Mason

W.Bro Peter Keeley, Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Friendship and Care, was presented with his 60 certificate by W.Bro. Iain Marnock, APGM at the White Table meeting held at the Sindlesham Masonic Centre.

The Lodge of Friendship and Care (8802) held its December Meeting as a White Table event, inviting partners and Friends along see a small slice of Masonic procedure in action. Before the Lodge was formally opened, the guests were able to witness the presentation of the certificate, as well as a demonstration of the Charge after Initiation, with commentary. The non-masonic guests then left for pre-dinner drinks, while the lodge was formally opened for other Masonic business. As well as W.Bro Iain Marnock, the lodge was also honoured by the presence of VW Bro. Adrian Marsh, Grand Secretary UGLE. After the lodge closed, the Masons present joined their guests for dinner.

Peter’s Masonic history

Back in 1961 Peter Keely was travelling on a train with some business companions, two of whom suddenly asked him to step into the corridor as they wished to talk to him.  These two gentlemen were apparently members of Bromley Priory Lodge and they apparently asked Peter if he would like to become a Mason?

Peter was very flattered and said “yes”, following which he was Initiated into the Lodge in November 1962.  He went through the usual lodge progression, finally becoming Master in 1977.

The lodge originally met at the Abercorn rooms at Liverpool Station but subsequently moved to Ilford.  Although Peter worked in London he lived in Redhill in Surrey, and with no M25 in those days it became very difficult for him to attend the lodge on a regular basis.  He therefore went on the country list.

Since the 1950s he had been friendly with a gentleman named Keith Blanchard who then owned a Surrey business.  Unbeknown to Peter, Keith was also a Mason; Keith somehow discovered that Peter was on the square and invited him to his Surrey Lodge, Agincourt.  At that meeting he became aware that some of the Masons (including Keith Blanchard) were talking about starting a new Lodge to be associated with the Association of Friends of Lord Harris Court, (now of course the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Court).  Peter’s ear pricked up on hearing this.  He was planning to move home to Buckinghamshire and a Lodge near Wokingham made a lot of sense.

In short Peter became one of the Founding Members of the Lodge of Friendship & Care.  It was consecrated in 1978 and Peter became its Master in 1985.

Since then, Peter’s Masonic career has been quite diverse.  He was Master again in 2002, 2013 and of course this year 2022.  He has received a number of Masonic promotions in the Craft and now holds the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

In 1990 he not surprisingly joined the Holy Royal Arch through the Lodge’s associated Chapter, becoming their Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 1998 and again in 2007 – and in 2014 he was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.

In 2012 he was presented with his 50-year Certificate by Bromley Priory Lodge, and a number of Masons from this Lodge were privileged to attend and witness the celebration.

Peter says he has thoroughly enjoyed his Masonic life and has no regrets.

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