Alex Skein, of the Lodge De Wydemere No 6282 in Wigmore, celebrated 60 years in Freemasonry on 14th September 2016 and, on 22nd September, he was presented with a certificate to mark the occasion. The long service certificate was presented by former Head of East Kent Freemasons, Past Provincial Grand Master John Bonomy O.B.E. Since Alex is now bed-bound, the presentation took place at his Care Home with several members of his lodge also present.
Alexander Henry Skein was born in 1927 and in his younger days he was a very keen motor cyclist - racing them on dirt tracks in the 1940’s. In 1950 when Brands Hatch was tarmacked, he decided to join BEMSEE (the British Motorcycle Racing Club) and try road racing. During those early years he was successful as a privateer and this led him to join a works team on a Douglas Plus 90, which took him to riding events all over the UK. Two seasons later he joined the Norton works team and one of his successes was to win the prestigious giant Mellano Trophy. Other names on the trophy include Mike Hailwood and Barry Sheene, and it is still competed for today.
Around 1950 Alex changed to racing with sidecars and continued to race all over the UK. His passenger was a man called Frank Westaway who was a brilliant engineer and, like Alex, very competitive. From 1955 they competed in the Isle of Man TT event four times, finishing each time. Alex is a life member of the TT Riders Association and he and Frank went on to be lifelong friends.
On the morning of 14th September 1956, Alex competed at Silverstone, qualifying to race there again the following day. He then rode his motorbike to Kent just in time for his initiation in Lodge De Wydemere, riding back to Silverstone the next morning for his race.
Alex became Master of Lodge De Wydemere in 1967 and went on to hold many offices in the lodge, including Secretary from 2001 to 2004. In 1968 he was one of the founding members of Renham Lodge No 8211 and he is a Past First Principal of Artifex Royal Arch Chapter No 4555.
In 1994, when John Bonomy was Provincial Grand Master, Alex was appointed a Grand Officer in the United Grand Lodge of England. He was therefore particularly pleased to receive his long service certificate from John who, knowing Alex’s penchant for a glass of malt whisky, gave him a bottle of his favourite tipple. His lodge also presented Alex with a large cake made in the form of his Grand Officer’s apron.