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Isle of Man Freemason Celebrates 50 Years of Brotherhood

Henry Crane in a masonic lodge


On the 7th of November 2023, the Viking Lodge in the Province of the Isle of Man had a special celebration - Henry Craine’s 50th anniversary in Freemasonry.

The members in attendance witnessed a fascinating overview of Henry’s career spanning two continents and masonic constitutions, with H. Kelly, Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, addressing the brethren.

Geoff Clague, Provincial Senior Grand Warden,  made the presentation to Henry Craine, namely a 50-Year Anniversary Certificate from the Province of the Isle of Man and a Jubilee Certificate from The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Scotland.

In July 1970, proud Manxman Henry Craine was recruited by the Roan Selection Trust PLC to work as a financial accountant at their operations in Zambia, namely the Mufulira Copper Mine, one of the largest underground mines in the world, becoming their Divisional Accounts & Systems Controller. 

He met his Scottish wife, Davina, who had arrived in Mufulira in 1965 with her parents after the family emigrated to South Africa in October 1963. They were married in March 1971.

Henry’s career in Freemasonry started while working abroad. His father-in-law proposed him as a candidate, and in August 1973, he was Initiated into Lodge Border Eagle, under the Scottish Constitution in Mufulira, Zambia. 

Not content with learning the Craft ritual, Henry happily accepted the Substitute District Grand Master for Zambia’s introduction to several Scottish Constitution Companion Degrees. All the while, his career kept him moving, transferring to Lonrho Zambia in January 1974 and accepting a promotion to the head office in Lusaka two years later, in January 1976. 

A quick look at the map shows that it is difficult to attend Lodge meetings in Mulfulira when working in Lusaka, as both are 250 miles apart. Hence, Henry joined the Lodge of Unity in December 1976. 

In May 1978, the time had come to get closer again to Manx shores. Henry transferred to Lonrho PLC as Group Chief Accountant in their Steelmaking and Engineering Region, eventually becoming the Regional Finance Director in October 1984. 

In September 1992, Henry was one of a three-man team to carry out an MBO, effecting a trade sale of the company to British Steel PLC five years later in April 1997. He joined British Steel as a Functional Director and Group Finance Controller, continuing in the role following British Steel’s merger with Hoogovens Steel Group to become Corus Group PLC.

Finally, a well-earned retirement came in June 2006, and Henry returned to the Isle of Man in December 2006. He joined the Viking Lodge in the Province of the Isle of Man in February 2009. In 2020, after selling his property in Cyprus, he took progress office as Junior Warden, becoming the Lodge’s Worshipful Master in March 2022. 

Since then, Henry has handed over the Chair of King Solomon to his successor, R. C Montgomery, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies. 

However, Henry’s career did not end there - he is now the Lodge’s secretary. And if that was not enough, following a promotion to Past Provincial Grand Steward, he was very recently promoted to Provincial Grand Treasurer - given his distinguished career in accountancy, there is no doubt that the Province’s accounts are in safe hands. After a masonic career spanning 50 years, two continents, and two constitutions, Henry is now back home in the Isle of Man, starting the next 50 years of his truly international journey through Freemasonry.

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