Hi, I’m Marc Cox and I am Hungerford Lodge’s most recent initiate or joiner. I am 22 and currently working with my father, Peter, in his undertaking business based in Newbury. I was initiated into the Hungerford Lodge no 4748 on 20th October 2015. Here you can see me shaking hands with my father, joined by the Worshipful Master Phillip Hackney after my Initiation.
How long have you been interested in Freemasonry?
My father has been a Mason for 12 years so I have regularly seen him go out “suited and booted” to meetings and I have always wondered what it was all about. However, my interest was really sparked when I helped the Lodge move home.
Can you tell us more?
A year ago, the Lodge was informed that they could no longer use the facilities within the Town and Manor of Hungerford and so they had to move out. My father, as Lodge Secretary, was a big part of that moving process and, having worked in a removal business, he knew it would need a lot of people to move the furniture. Both myself and my younger brother were duly volunteered to help.
During the move, I got to know a number of the members, I saw how they all worked together, playing to each other’s strengths with nobody standing back. I also got to see the Lodge furniture and to hear about some of the history. You would be amazed at some of the things that we found during the move.
Can you give us an example?
We found black mourning rosettes which most of the members had not seen before. One of the more senior members explained to us that these had been used by Masons around the country during the mourning period for the Queen’s father, George VI, who was himself a Freemason.
What can you tell us about your Initiation?
Not much really and not because of the fabled Masonic secrecy! The ceremony is a very intense one where you are made to feel very special but you are trying to absorb so much, that trying to remember the detail is very challenging. What I do remember is that my father played a very significant part in the ceremony and it was very comforting to be led by him through this new experience.
A number of other Lodge members took it in turns with parts of the ceremony. Whilst some had some fairly sizable chunks of ritual to deliver from memory, others were more involved in guiding me around the Lodge room. I am slightly nervous about trying to learn the words but I have been reassured that the Lodge will work with me to do that.
I found out later that the current Worshipful Master or Lodge chairman had stepped aside to allow my father this honour, for which we are both very grateful. I am also very grateful to all of the Lodge members, both for allowing me to join and for the work that they put in to make my Initiation such a special night.
We finished the evening with a formal meal with toasts and short speeches which I am told is called the Festive Board. Here again, I was the centre of attention and the warmth of the welcome that I received made me feel very honoured and that I had made a wise choice in joining Freemasonry. All in all, it was a very emotional evening for both myself and my father and we were still buzzing with the excitement long after we got home.
What happens next?
My father has explained to me that the best way to understand what happened during my Initiation ceremony is to see one done for somebody else. We are currently keeping an eye on the Provincial website to see if a convenient opportunity comes up. I will also be learning my first small piece of the ritual ready for my next ceremony.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in Freemasonry?
I suggest that they look around this website to discover more and contact a local Lodge with any questions they might have. Typically, people join Lodges close to their home, work or where friends or family are already members but nowadays people can also ask to join via a direct approach to a Lodge.
If having addressed all of their questions they are still interested, then I thoroughly recommend that they join. Even though I have only been a member for less than a month, I know I have made the right decision and that I will have many happy years with the Hungerford Lodge.