"TWO well-known and loved brethren" have celebrated their golden jubilee in Freemasonry.

More than 60 Masons gathered at Kendal's Union Lodge 129 to mark the achievement by lodge members Keith Newby and David Poole.

"Fifty-year celebrations are quite special, but for two to come at once is very rare," said Brian Ferrington, communications officer for the Freemasons' South Westmorland group.

Mr Newby and Mr Poole were thanked for their "dedicated service" by Norman Thompson, provincial grand master for Cumberland and Westmorland, and deputy lieutenant of Cumbria.

Kendal-born Keith Newby began his working life in 1950 at Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon as an apprentice engineering draughtsman, and became a time-served design engineer. He had been educated at St George’s Church of England School, now the home of Union Lodge, and later the Allen Technical College just around the corner.

After Gilkes, Mr Newby joined the Merchant Navy as an engineer officer serving in the Persian Gulf, South Africa and the Far East.

In 1959 he returned home, joined the family removals firm and wed his wife Thalia. Married for 58 years, they have two children and six grandchildren.

Mr Newby ran the family business until selling to Pickfords in 1982, and stayed on to manage the Kendal operation until retiring in 1989. In his younger days he played cricket for Kendal, and he has been a volunteer with the Kendal branch of Age Concern.

He became Master of Union Lodge in 1983, and in 2010 attained the rank of past provincial grand registrar.

Meanwhile, Wirral-born David Poole dedicated much of his working life to the health service, including posts as theatre superintendent at Kendal's Westmorland County Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. He was awarded the OBE for services to the NHS in 1991.

He and his wife of 57 years, Mary, have three children and two grandchildren. Ten years ago Mr Poole was seniors captain of Kendal's Carus Green Golf Club, and he is a past president of Kendal Rotary Club. From 1998 to 2017 he was vice-chairman of the Westmorland General Hospital League of Friends.

In 2014 Mr Poole was promoted to the high Masonic rank of past provincial senior grand warden.