AKA Chris Wagstaff
Primus Master Designate
I became a Freemason 25 years ago in 1995, and being a third generation mason many people expected me to join the family lodge – but those that know me will also know I’m not so predictable. So instead, as a result of bumping into some friends who were Freemasons at an old school meet up in London, I subsequently became initiated into my old school lodge – The Old Bloxhamist Lodge 7725. You could could argue that 7725 is also a special interest lodge too! Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have served as Master of the Old Bloxhamists four times.
Many years later I joined a lodge more local to me in Henley on Thames – The Temple Island Lodge No. 8031. This lodge is particularly close to my heart – as it was consecrated (formed) on the very day I was born, so it and I are exactly the same age. I have served as Master of this lodge twice, and am currently the secretary.
It’s an immense honour for me to be the first ever master of the Sir William Morris Lodge, and I am really looking forward to the consecration and getting things underway. Lord Nuffield holds a great deal of interest for me, as the majority of my life my parents have lived on the farm opposite Sir William Morris’s house, and in fact for the latter part of Lord Nuffield’s life, and prior to my parents, he also owned the farm – and his signature is still on the deeds.
I guess I’ve always been a petrol head – but with a special love of Land Rovers and off roading. I passed my test in a LWB 12 seater Land Rover and within 2 days of passing had a trailer on the back with a Beetle on it that was going to be converted to our first race car. Many enjoyable years were spent getting all wet and dirty, and I still drive a 4×4 albeit a little more comfortable than some of the bone shakers of the past.
I now look back at the cars I’ve killed, and the value that similar cars are fetching on the classic market, and wish I had been blessed with some hindsight back in the day!
I now run a business that provides kids’ driving experiences with mini jeeps, go karts and mini Suzuki quad bikes. We not only do private parties, but also bring the cars to a plethora of mainly motoring events all over the UK, from Carfest to the Silverstone Classic to Motorfest and so on. At these events I am fortunate to get to see so many fabulous cars not on display but also in action – from family favourites like Mini Coopers to superstars that we can only dream of owning like the Alfa 8c.
Seeing the kids enjoy themselves brings me great satisfaction – as it’s such a positive thing to do. In much the same way I really enjoy my Freemasonry – as it has such a positive impact on so many aspects of so many people’s lives. The charitable works help an incredible amount of people (as a whole UK Freemasons donate nearly £50m a year), and the spirit of camaraderie and friendship from those I have met on my journey in Freemasonry, and the support given and received does wonders for a feeling of self worth that pretty much reflects on everything else I do in life.
If you aren’t already a Freemason, and get an opportunity to join – I thoroughly recommend it!