I arrived in Leicester in the autumn of 1997 at the age of 26 for my first job at Leicester University after graduating with a PhD from Hull. Only knowing one person in the entire city from my comprehensive school days in Somerset, I was keen to build social circles outside of my work colleagues. That was easier said than done. I however, remembered conversations with a friend, Jon, who was a Freemason, whist we were studying at University. Our many chats about Freemasonry eventually inspired me to find out more from him and felt that it was something I should pursue, not only for the social side but for the long term fraternal bonding and sense of belonging to a worthwhile organisation. I wholeheartedly trusted my good friend on his recommendation that Freemasonry was something I would “very much enjoy”.
Jon being a Freemason in Hampshire (and latterly in Cambridge) could not personally recommend a Lodge in Leicester but instead posted on an online Masonic forum seeking a possible Lodge. No sooner had it been posted there was a reply from a Mason, a member of the Wyggeston Lodge, No.3448, in Leicester saying that they would be interested to meet with me as a potential new member. Following several meetings with Lodge members, I was eventually Initiated into the Wyggeston Lodge in December 1998 and at the time a first for the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland having a member introduced via the internet. Jon, and another University friend, both made to the trip to Leicester to witness my introduction into Masonry and one, like every Mason, that I will always cherish.
Having been a Freemason for nearly 17 years and able to reflect on my membership, it has very much surpassed all my initial expectations. Not only is it a wonderful fraternity where I have gained so many genuine friends, I have learnt a great deal about myself and the personal journey I have taken so far and continue to do so. It has offered me transferrable skills, confidence and above all a great deal of enjoyment. I also have the personal gratification that I donate to a wide range of worthy local charities particularly those that I would not necessarily have previously considered donating money.
As I have progressed through Masonry from new member, to Master of the Lodge and beyond there have been many exciting challenges and I look forward with anticipation to those which I have yet to encounter ready to embrace them with as much enthusiasm as the day I became a Mason. Above all Freemasonry is thoroughly absorbing, extremely rewarding and a great deal of fun.