As with most young men, my early view of life was moulded by my parents. My Father was very strongly against Freemasonry, so I suppose I grew up sharing his opinion.

My Father’s view was, in hindsight, quite surprising as he had spent five years as a prisoner of war in both Poland and Germany. He knew of the horrors perpetrated against the Jews, the Poles and the Gypsies. He never mentioned other groups who were treated similarly, which of course included Freemasons. I simply believe he was never aware.

This episode of war imprisonment meant he lost his faith. However, I am eternally grateful that he made me go to church, as he insisted that I needed to make up my own mind. This has always assuaged me that he was a fair minded man and if he knew what I know now, he would have taken a different view about Freemasonry.

The years moved on and I left my native city Birmingham in pursuit of my banking career. Freemasonry never touched me until I moved to Norfolk. The Bank encouraged me, as part of involvement in the community, to join clubs and societies to help in the local area and to develop business contacts. I joined Rotary.

After about a year I was approached to join Freemasonry, it was from a Rotarian who was also a customer. My Father’s cautious voice came into my head and I declined.

Graham, from Ashford

Graham, from Ashford

Another year went by and I was once again approached, by the same person. He said this could be my last chance, I declined. However, at a social meeting we got talking and he asked again. He told me his lodge met 8 times a year I said I could not spare the time, he answered he would find a lodge more suited to me. I thought that was the end of the matter.

Within a week I was approached by two other friends. I told them my concerns. Their counter was simple, rightly or wrongly who did I know who was already involved in Freemasonry. I knew them to all be good men and being they were mainly Rotarians, I knew that their and my values were as one!

I agreed to join, although it took over 12 months before anything happened. In the meantime I had also joined the Lions and to my surprise there were a number of Freemasons in that Club too. This cemented my commitment that I was joining something special.

I joined the greatest order and fraternity in the world in May 1999 in the Rotary Lodge of Norfolk 9367. My only regret being that I did not accept the initial approach at least 8 years earlier.

My job moved to Sussex in September 1999. I returned home to go through the various degrees in Freemasonry and my greatest pleasure was to become Master of my lodge in 2007.

The movement has been a great joy and influence as I have never missed a meeting in my mother lodge, despite living in Sussex and now Kent.