John – Turkish Delight – How I Joined Freemasonry

View of Hagia Sophia at sunset
View of Hagia Sophia at sunset
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There are many and various reasons how and why people come to join the Freemasons. Mostly it’s for good reasons, occasionally for the wrong reasons and sometimes for odd reasons. I think mine falls into the last category. But one thing is indisputable, whatever the circumstance that brings a new Mason into the craft he always finds out very soon that the comradeship, the satisfaction to be found in helping others (Not just Masonic members) and the sense of total trust and confidence in anyone you meet who is a member of the craft, Brings a great sense of quality, security and enjoyment into their lives. It certainly did mine.

The story that brought me into Masonry was I think rather unusual, unique even. It started in a Hotel in Istanbul Turkey.

At the time I was working for a large corporate company as a salesman and had done rather well during the year. So, along with other winners from the Company’s various sales and sales support teams, I had won the traditional flamboyant Silver cup that would collect dust in an inconspicuous glass case. But the best part was that we also won a trip with our partners to an exotic place for a week’s relaxation ending in a Gala dinner when the said cups would be presented by our managers and directors. On this occasion the exotic destination was ISTANBUL

Not knowing anybody else on the trip, my wife and I got talking to a guy called Geoff who, as he was not married had to come without a partner and he seemed somewhat left out of things. He also knew nobody there other than our respective managers and directors and who wants to spend time with their managers or directors when they’re trying to enjoy themselves.

So we got very friendly with Geoff over the week and inevitably found ourselves chatting about all kinds of things, not least of all how we spent our leisure time. That’s When Geoff happened to mention he had recently become a Freemason which fascinated me because I had often heard my mother talk about these strange secret people who were called freemason and that only rich and important people could join and only then if they went through strange initiation ceremonies. (All the worst of the urban myths that people could build around something they didn’t quite understand) At the same time, I mentioned that I had a weekly slot broadcasting on the Tunbridge Wells Kent and Sussex Hospital Radio which equally fascinated Geoff.

The end result was that during our final night Gala dinner to celebrate our success and receive our awards; after a splendid meal and a few glasses of wine we made a pact that if I got Geoff a slot on Hospital radio, he would propose me as a member of his Lodge.

Perhaps not the best reason for becoming a Freemason (or indeed a presenter on Hospital radio for that matter). But, we were both as good as our words. I got Geoff a presenters slot on The Hospital Radio and Geoff did propose me and got me initiated into his lodge. That was back in 1977. 44 years ago and I have never regretted that decision, because not only have I gained a close friend in Geoff but I have gained many Masonic friends and hours of enjoyment in their company. And proved to myself beyond doubt that Masonry is an incredibly satisfying and enjoyable organisation. (Sorry mum but you were way off the ball)!

As for Geoff’s Hospital radio broadcasting ambitions? Well; you’ll have to ask him about that.