12:36PM, Wednesday 16 February 2022
Peter Sands (sitting right) with and Berries Lodge. Photo by Mike Swift.
One of the trustees of The Louis Baylis Trust was presented with an award and certificate after completing 50 years as a Berkshire Freemason.
Peter Sands belongs to Berries Lodge, named for Berries Road in Cookham.
He has risen to the office of Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the second-highest position in Berkshire.
Peter joined the Freemasons in November 1971 as a young man, following in his father’s footsteps.
“He died when I was a teenager,” said Peter. “I knew he enjoyed [being a Freemason] and I was intrigued as to what it was about.
“In those days, there was a four-year waiting list. I put my name down, did an interview, and here we are. I joined my father’s lodge and met a lot of people I already knew.
“It’s very enjoyable, it’s a life experience. It’s quite different from lots of other organisations.
“We don’t talk about religion or politics because that’s what causes conflict in the world. There are few places where you can find people from all religions sitting in a room together and good friends.
“You can be talking to a building labourer or a lord of a manor.”
The role of Deputy Provincial Grand Master involves overseeing the 101 lodges in Berkshire and organising a five-year funding appeal, with an aim to raise £1.9million from members.
This will go to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which gives away tens of millions of pounds each year to all sorts of causes.
One beneficiary has been Elizabeth House, the day centre for older people, Cookham.
“We raise quite a bit of money for charity but that’s because of the nature of the people,” said Peter.
“We do community engagement but it’s more about how you are as a person and trying to build life experience.
“[It’s about] building you as a better person – to serve for community and fellow human beings better.”