FROM ARENAS TO ARENA! Bro Tim Hillier-Brook

I did not know it, but Freemasonry had always been following me around. When I decided I wanted to learn about Freemasonry, the series of coincidences that followed were frankly unbelievable.

I grew up in Brighton. I had always been interested in music and played guitar and drums. I joined a band in sixth form college, a band I would be in for nearly eight years, and we ended up touring across the world – Australia, Canada, America, and all over Europe. That band, Architects, are still going now, and even played Wembley last year; but we played heavy, aggressive music, and my favourite band is Coldplay! So eventually I felt that playing in a metal band was not for me. I went on to do session work with other bands in many different styles and do more international touring. I’m quite sure I’m the only person to have shared a stage with both Metallica and Ellie Goulding!

My fiancée and I run a travel and lifestyle blog, for which we always visit different buildings during London’s Open House weekend. I had always been taken with Freemasons Hall from the outside, so two years ago, we visited the building for Open House. I was fascinated with all the symbology, and I was impressed by the focus on charity and the rich history. My curiosity went into overdrive; I took home with me a copy of Arena to read more about Freemasonry, and that’s where it all really began.

It was soon after that I discovered some of my musician friends were on the square. I then found out that my Dad had been a Freemason, something I had only vague memories of a kid but had mostly forgotten about. The coincidences kept piling up. I rarely had done things just with my brother, as our dad was normally with us, but the first time we ever went to the pub just the two of us, I mentioned to him that I was thinking of joining. He looked at me like he was about to burst into tears, pulled a blue book out of his bag and said, “I’m going in the chair next month”. We both could not believe the coincidence.

I mentioned my interest in Freemasonry to the singer of my current band, Slowlines; he told me that a former bandmate of his was a Mason, and arranged for us to meet at a pub. His friend, W Bro Neil Allen, told me more about Freemasonry, and all about Lodge of Simplicity No 7865. I met with the Brethren of the Lodge informally a few times and having thought about it for a year and a half, I took the plunge.

I was initiated in February. I felt nervous on the evening, as if I were about to play a gig – in fact, I’ve felt less nervous playing in arenas! My father, who had been unattached, had things arranged that he was able to join in time for my initiation, and my brother was the Junior Deacon for the ceremony – I knew he’d be there, but had no idea he’d play such a big role! At the festive board, when my father gave a toast and his lip began to tremble talking about how this was the first thing he had seen his two sons do together, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The coincidences did not end there; I had learned that my fiancée’s brother was to be initiated into a Lodge just two weeks after my own, so I got to attend and see an initiation from the outside. I cannot wait to discover what else Freemasonry holds in store for me – and what other coincidences I will find along the way!

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 42 October 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 42.