W Bro Mark Russell SLGR reports

Every year Metropolitan Grand Lodge receives over a thousand enquiries from men and women who are interested in becoming Freemasons.

Prospective candidates are invited, after a screening process, to attend an hourlong interview with members of the Membership and Recruitment Team. Bradley Gudger was one candidate and was interviewed in January 2019 and gave as his reason for wanting to become a Freemason as follows:

“Simply put, I want to be a Freemason to help people. I am fascinated by history and believe strongly about the importance of protecting the values of faith, fraternity and helping others in their time of need. Masonry offers a unique opportunity to join a supportive community of people, one that encourages brotherhood, achievement, and social and moral improvement. It’s a community I want to be a part of.”

It was apparent to the interviewers that Bradley had already displayed in his life many masonic virtues and they had no hesitation in recommending him as being suitable for introduction to a Lodge. One of the interviewers was W Bro Mark Russell who, as Secretary of The Adams Lodge No 3122, recognised that Bradley would fit well into his Lodge, so he asked the team who readily agreed.

Bro Mark made the introductions to other members of the Lodge and a “getting to know you” period commenced. It was during this period that they discovered that, at a young age, Bradley had experienced and achieved more than many people do in a lifetime. Growing up in a village in North Yorkshire, in 2013 he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. After initial chemotherapy, he recovered and started a lifetime treatment regime. He moved to London and studied Business Management. At university, he discovered a passion for volunteering, helping charities such as CLIC Sargent, Teenage Cancer Trust and the NHS Youth Forum.

In 2017 his body stopped responding to medication, allowing the Leukaemia to return. In January 2018, he received a bone marrow transplant. He spent two months in the hospital during which he realised how socially isolating it was for young people to be separated from their peer group whilst undergoing treatment.

His experiences led him to develop the concept of a charity called “Alike” aimed at combatting isolation amongst young people with cancer allowing them to connect using modern technology giving them access to vital user-generated content and information. Alike is “by young people, for young people”.

In 2019, Brad received a prestigious Diana Award for his services to young people and the cancer community, and in 2020 he became a Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Young Leader. He is a board member of Youth Cancer Europe and has been a Young Technical Advisor for a World Health Organisation & Public Health England. He has also spoken in Parliament about the patient experience.

The suspension of masonic activity has delayed Bradley’s Initiation, but it is clear that he displays the characteristics that will make him an asset to our fraternity and the Lodge looks forward to having him as a member.

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.