Father and son coffee shop owners Mike and Jamie Bristow have become brothers – initiated side by side as Freemasons and members of Lincolnshire’s Eccles Lodge.
Their double initiation as father and son is extremely rare, and resulted from a masonic journey started several years ago.
It began over not one cup of coffee, but hundreds, because it grew from conversations they had when they used to run a market stall in Louth near fellow stallholder Mark Brown, who is also secretary of the Spilsby-based lodge. Having taken their first tentative steps, both are excited about what lies ahead.
Says Mike, 54: “We’re on a journey. It’s a new road of discovery for us, and we don’t know where it’s going. That’s what makes it so exciting.”
Jamie agreed, explaining that they had turned down the opportunity to visit the Lodge room at an open day. “We wanted it to be as new as possible, so the less we knew, the better,” he said. “It was a fabulous experience, and brilliant later when we saw someone else going through their first degree, because we had been through it ourselves.”
Having watched someone else’s initiation later provided their first opportunity to share the festive board with other brethren in the body of the room. Said Jamie, 29: “It was our first meal sitting with everyone else. It was good to chat with people and get to know them.” Mike agreed: “There was nothing difficult about it. As soon as we sat down everyone was talking to us, making us feel really welcome. It was a bit of an eye-opener, really.”
Mike and Jamie work with their wives Angela and Rebecca at their family-owned Larders Coffee House in Louth’s Little Butcher Lane, in a building redolent with its history as a warehouse, probably for wool, and a fruit and vegetable shop.
Mike said of the masonic career: “We’re still not really sure what we’ve let ourselves in for, but we’ll discover that in time, they tell us – and we are looking forward to it!”