I am Matthew Wainwright, a Master Mason from the St Werburga Lodge No. 4147 and Royal Arch Companion from the Chapter of Justice No.253, both in the Province of Derbyshire.
I had always been intrigued by the history and origins of Freemasonry, as well as its links with the medieval stonemasons. Being a tradesman myself and having a spiritual nature, I knew I wanted to become a Freemason.
I was initiated into Freemasonry on 22 February 2019 – coincidentally my 36th birthday. Although I had been interested in Freemasonry for a considerable length of time, I thought I did not know any Freemasons who I could talk to about joining. Little did I know that I had been associated with many for most of my life. During my time as an Entered Apprentice, I visited various Lodges in Derbyshire and Staffordshire. One Derbyshire Lodge that particularly attracted my attention was the Cornucopia Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards of Derbyshire No. 9925. It was their striking red aprons that first caught my eye – although I soon realised it was so much more than just a different coloured apron.
This process of discovering the various aspects of the Craft, from the different regalia to the different Lodges and the whole backstory, is why I wanted to continue my membership and strive to learn more. I wholeheartedly enjoy the history and my personal development journey within Freemasonry. I find the different regalia and the ritual fascinating; a rabbit hole of learning that just keeps on giving.
I like meeting new people who I may not have had the opportunity of getting to know if I was not a member. Indeed, many of my best friends are Freemasons. Why? Because, like me, they are men of integrity, strict morals and sound judgement. I try to surround myself with positive vibes and have a desire to help others. For those few hours a month, you can shut out the problems of modern, fast- paced life and relax with friends on an equal standing.
When I was made an Entered Apprentice, my white apron showed I was newly admitted. However, I was treated like I had been in the Craft for years. I was so touched that I wanted to document my journey. I wrote an article that was really for my own recollection. A few Freemasons that read it said that I should send this in to the Provincial Communications Team. I took their advice and submitted my article. I was then contacted by Provincial Communications Officer Stuart Riley and my work was published on the Provincial website.
A few months later, I was invited to attend a UGLE Communications presentation at Derby Freemasons’ Hall. This was led by Shaun Butler and Dean Simmons. A very informative presentation was delivered to a packed room of Derbyshire Freemasons, teaching us about the importance of good, positive communications and social media. At the end, Stuart asked for volunteers to set up and run a new Derbyshire Freemasons Instagram account. Without even thinking, my hand went up. It was the only hand that was raised. To my surprise, Stuart kindly allowed me to take on this challenge under his guidance. Being an Entered Apprentice, I knew his would be a big challenge and I had to advance my Masonic knowledge quickly to better fulfil this task. It is down to the faith Stuart put into my abilities that allowed me the freedom to experiment and develop the platform in my own style.