Hi Andrew, can you tell me a bit about yourself before you joined Freemasonry?
I started my career wanting to study physics like my Dad and also like Mr Spock (of Star Trek!!) being excited by the prospect of discovering new things back in the mid-sixties when science was having a renaissance.
This led rapidly to working at CERN in Geneva on large particle accelerators and then to a long career with the UK Atomic Energy Authority again on accelerators but now for the big JET fusion experiment in Abingdon. Then I was appointed Visiting Professor of Physics at the University of Salford to aid with the research there.
I finally retired shortly after I was initiated into Freemasonry, but I am still working on accelerator projects for several customers (they won’t let me go!) and the number of lectures per year to students and colleagues has perversely risen despite being semi-retired and 72 years old so there is no rest for the wicked.
How did you come to join Freemasonry in the first place? and when?
A friend from primary school days (who will be my guest at my installation) joined Freemasonry shortly after the Millennium and he persuaded me that I should become a Mason. The chance to join came when I went to a Freemasonry road-show in Newbury in 2012.
There I met Gilbert Mills who happened to overhear the magic words “live in Hungerford” and the rest is history. I became a Master Mason in 2013. Despite being a late starter in Freemasonry, I was fascinated by the ritual and I have tried to put in the effort to learn it and the back story behind it.
What are your thoughts as you approach becoming the Master?
As I approach the completion of my Masonic journey by becoming Worshipful Master of the Hungerford Lodge and being both a Mason and a scientist, I feel like I am truly gaining comprehension of the hidden mysteries of nature and science.
Becoming Master of my Lodge is a major step in the development of my Freemasonry and enables me to do my very best for my Lodge and repay the investment the Lodge has made in me over the past few years, particularly at the start of the current five-year festival in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Like all previous masters, I would like my year to see an improvement in the well-being of the Lodge as a whole.
Which other orders are you in? Which is your favourite?
I have joined several side orders, beginning with Royal Arch and continuing with Knights Templar and Knights Templar Priests, all of which continue the Masonic story after the story at the centre of Craft Freemasonry.
Each of these comes with its own ritual, story and lessons. The order I like the most is the Knights Templar, simply because I can wave a sword about (or at least just a little bit!) being a bodyguard of the Provincial Prior of Dorset and Wiltshire at installations. Unfortunately, that will end next year when I go into the chair as Eminent Preceptor (equivalent of Master of the Lodge) a few days after I leave the chair in Craft. Eminent Preceptors are not allowed be bodyguards as well.
What keeps you busy outside of Freemasonry?
Turning to other activities, I am learning to be an amateur geologist via the University of the Third Age which is also fascinating (I was interested in Geophysics back in student days). Although I will never do it seriously, I have given a couple of lectures on this and related topics. I also play bridge and am building a model railway with some help from the Newbury Railway Club (second childhood perhaps).
I think the combination of Freemasonry together with, ideally, several hobbies that provide both a mental and physical stimulus is essential as one grows into old age. You are never too old to learn something new, particularly if that provides a challenge to yourself. So, like that rabbit in the TV commercials I plan to keep on going on for as long as I can. I think Freemasonry is an ideal way of doing this.