What type of person wears a Freemasons' Apron

Rainham Lodge No. 3079 showcases and celebrates the diversity in their membership

What type of person wears a Freemason’s Apron?

All the qualities needed for a person to make a valuable contribution to society can be found in those who proudly wear their Freemason’s Apron.

Freemasons are volunteers who have a strength that comes from taking part in long-established rituals which teach them integrity, friendship, respect and charity. This gives them an inner-confidence and an irresistible fervour to help others.

Each and every one has gone through an initiation ceremony which makes them aware of what it feels like to have nothing, so they all understand the need for charity and are proud that Freemasonry is at the forefront of charitable giving.

They try to do their best regardless of whether it is showing respect for others or volunteering in their local communities or preparing for their next Lodge meeting or welcoming new members and visitors.

It is not feasible to publish the different individual reasons why each one of the world’s estimated six million Freemasons joined to become members of a Masonic Lodge. Instead, we take a closer look at some of the members who joined one of the 289 Lodges which meet in the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) Province of Essex which has around 7,500 members.

Formed by members of military and volunteer regiments in 1904 wanting to enjoy Lodge meetings after a day on the rifle ranges, Rainham Lodge No. 3079 soon attracted company directors, grocers, schoolmasters, policemen, clerks, musicians, singers, architects, builders, seamen, contractors, merchants, doctors and those from all kinds of trades and professions.

With current membership of around 40, fifteen members have shared their own individual reasons as to why they joined the Lodge and why they have stayed. We begin with the Worshipful Master and his Immediate Past Master:

David Bunting, Worshipful Master of Rainham Lodge:

“I love the teamwork of football and having always enjoyed team sports, Masonry seemed like a large team all pulling in one direction and helping each other. 

I have stayed because there is a sense of ‘belonging’ and the charitable work makes such a difference. Rainham being such a sociable Lodge too. Holding very many functions and get-togethers outside of the Lodge is like being part of an extended family.”

Immediate Past Master, Jack Meleady and his partner are seen here hiking through the Forest of Dean, on a holiday packed with adventures:

“I originally joined Freemasonry because my father, brother, uncle and grandfather were all Masons, and I had enjoyed all the charity events, such as Ladies Nights and Lodge BBQs.

I love everything about Freemasonry and don't regret a thing.   Never have I found a hobby, and group of people, whose morals and outlook align so much with my own than those in Freemasonry.

I have gained great skills which I would have otherwise never have gained, such as public speaking, and through Freemasonry I have discovered my love for ritual and the history and lectures that can be found through the Craft, Royal Arch and Mark Masonry”

Karl Griffin used to work at the Ford Motor works in Dagenham and now enjoys reliving his youth by riding to raise money for the charity ‘Supergoodbikers for Autism’. Explaining why he joined and has stayed in Freemasonry, Karl said:

“When I was in my twenties and on obtaining promotion at work, I was physically sick at the thought of having to give presentations.

It was either the local theatre company or the Masons as suggested by my proposer saying “He’d have me up, confident and singing in front of a crowd.

I stayed because I found I quite like singing, now I know how to.”  

Long serving Malcolm Tidbury is a Freemason who always enjoys a game of bowls: "My father-in-law was a Rainham Lodge member so I attended various social functions. I then joined in 1981 being impressed at their charity work and the friendliness of the Lodge members and their families. I have stayed because I enjoy the camaraderie, visiting other Lodges and extending the hand of friendship even further".

Len Oakley spends much of his spare time building model boats and trains and parts for Rolls Royce historical vehicles:

“I Joined later in life after visiting Bletchley Park and seeing Churchill’s regalia. I’ve stayed with Rainham Lodge as it is closer than London and I like the companionship as well as the excellent charity enthusiasm of the Lodge.”

Freemasonry is par for the course for Trevor Taylor, a keen golfer who plays whenever possible: “I joined to help others, knowing Rainham Lodge was very charitable. The companionship and support from the team is second to none. It is a very sociable Lodge with an annual BBQ, quiz, dances, ladies’ weekends, Xmas and summer suppers, a breakfast club and just so much more. . . and so friendly.”

Grayham Curtis-Thomas has a passion to cook and create: “I joined because I knew Rainham Lodge Freemasons did much charitable work in the local community as well as for the larger charities.

I have stayed because in my darkest times, the brethren of Rainham Lodge have been there with support and assistance.  Now that’s what I call fraternity and friendship. And that’s Freemasonry!”

Clive Mercer enjoys camping and the outdoor life and is seen here kayaking on the river Ouse: “I joined Rainham Lodge for the social activities and have stayed because it met all my expectations and I’ve made such great friends.”

Dr Omar Hussain really enjoys his profession being a dental surgeon and helping people in the health care sector:

“My father introduced me into his Lodge in Kent and when I moved to Essex, I joined Rainham Lodge to help me settle in the local area. I was welcomed with open arms and felt straight away part of a large extended family. The members do so much charity work for great causes and organise multiple social events where our families can meet up and support each other.

We are all here to help and support one another in difficult and good times and I thoroughly enjoy meeting likeminded, upstanding and genuine people that membership to the Lodge brings. I really enjoy travelling abroad and through Freemasonry it is easy and possible to attend other Lodges and meet fellow Freemasons all over the world!”

Matthew Meleady loves to travel.  In the picture he had just hiked through a national park in Canada to the east coast: “I joined Freemasonry as my father and his father before him because I wanted to know what all the fuss and secrecy was about.

I stayed because of the fantastic people I've met, who through mutual support and practicing ritual have been instrumental in helping me overcome my low self-esteem.” 

Anil Shastri likes flying high: “I joined the Freemasons for all the charity work they do and to improve my confidence.

I have stayed for the comradery and great social life and to be with people who believe in you.”

Brian Holland is ‘All aboard’: “I joined the Freemasons because I have enjoyed the social side of life for over 30 years and decided it was about time I gave something in return.

Why do I stay?  Well, they are a great bunch of guys and again I enjoy the social side.”

Stuart Marsh is seenJust Chilling’: I joined Rainham Lodge, after attending their social functions over many years and with my children having grown up, I felt it was time to join Rainham to give myself something to keep my brain active.”

I have now been a member of Rainham for 24 years and still remain an active member as I feel I can help newer members of the Lodge with their learning at Lodge of Instruction. Plus, at Rainham we still maintain a strong social ethic.”

Terry Hurley on his birthday in Crete: “After moving into the area and meeting such a nice member of Rainham lodge and attending a couple of their meetings, I was so impressed with the work in the Lodge and the enjoyable festive board. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming that it was like when I first joined Freemasonry in 1978. 

I was a member of a London Lodge but found the travelling too much also the members came from everywhere so it was not close-knit as Rainham Lodge where everyone supports each other. Furthermore, the variety of social events where Sandra was invited to throughout the year made a brilliant change.” 

Long serving member Agha Hassan says it all:

“Friends said it would be fun.

Why do I stay?

They were right it was fun, I enjoyed it.”

So, to answer the question ‘What type of person wears a Freemason’s Apron?’, these fifteen members from one Lodge, which meets four times a year on Saturdays at Orsett Masonic Hall in Essex, are all the type of person who proudly wears a Freemason’s Apron.