50 years of service celebrated at the Earl of Warwick Chapter No. 2504

Ken Elmes, a Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and the Second Provincial Grand Principal in 2003 celebrates 50 years service

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Paul Tarrant, presented a 50 -year Certificate to Ken Elmes, a Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and the Second Provincial Grand Principal in 2003, on reaching his landmark 50 years in the Earl of Warwick Chapter No. 2504. This recognised a remarkable journey spanning five decades in the Royal Arch.

From humble beginnings to making significant contributions in construction and Freemasonry, the story of Kenneth Joseph Elmes is one of perseverance, camaraderie and continuous growth. Born in Canning Town in 1937, the youngest of three siblings, the family moved up the road to where his childhood was rooted, the tight-knit community of Plaistow, attending Tollgate Primary and Faraday Comprehensive Schools.

On leaving school Ken followed his father in the construction industry, becoming an apprentice bricklayer and dedicating five years to mastering the craft, often working alongside his dad and honing his skills on various construction sites. Called up for two years National Service in August 1958, Ken served in the Royal Green Jackets and became his battalion's goalkeeper, which involved a lot of travelling across Germany to play in football matches against both English and German regiments, which not only showcased his athletic prowess but also enhanced the British Army’s reputation on the playing fields of Germany.

In 1960, on returning to his bricklaying root, Ken climbed the ladder of success. His hard work paid off and he became first a Site Agent and then Contracts Manager for the London Borough of Newham, where he made significant contributions to the local urban landscape until his retirement in 1997.

Ken’s family has always been, and very much remains, a source of immense pride and joy. Daughter Michaela, grandson Ryan and granddaughter Zoe all hold special places in his heart, offering both love and ‘tech’ assistance when needed. His bond with his older brother John, fondly known as Jack, was forged during their evacuation to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire during World War II. This experience created a lasting connection and provided a backdrop for many cherished memories.

Ken’s introduction to Freemasonry was Influenced by his cousin's initiation into the Earl of Warwick Lodge. His own initiation in June 1971 marked the beginning of a profound journey within the fraternity. Twice serving as Worshipful Master, in 1980 and 1998, Ken has continually contributed to the Lodge's vibrant atmosphere. The Earl of Warwick Chapter welcomed Ken on May 18, 1973 and he became First Principal in 1983. Being Scribe E, from 1984 to 1998 and again from 2008 to 2010, proved to be both fulfilling and enjoyable, fostering many new contacts and deepening his appreciation for the Royal Arch.

Membership in both the Lodge and the Chapter gained Ken many friendships. His visits to the Lodge of Prince Frederick No. 307 in Hebden Bridge, where he was being heartily welcomed by fellow brethren and enjoyed responding on behalf of the visitors, exemplified the universal bond shared by Freemasons.

Reflecting on his remarkable masonic journey, Ken expressed gratitude for the satisfaction, friendships, and personal growth that Freemasonry has brought into his life, he said “My membership of both Lodge and Chapter has given me great satisfaction throughout my 50 years membership and I am delighted to have taken that path and met so many nice and pleasant people.”

As Ken celebrates five decades in the Earl of Warwick Chapter, he remains a beacon of camaraderie, resilience, and unwavering commitment and it speaks volumes about him as the Essex Royal Arch Mason who wrote the history of his Chapter, concluding with the words:

“Companions, let us strive to keep this great Earl of Warwick Chapter

as beautiful as the Temple of Solomon, and as peaceful as the Ark,

so that it can be said that the foundation was well and truly laid in 1921.

May that enthusiasm continue through this Chapter from generation unto generation.”