INTERVIEW: Lifting the lid on the Freemasons in Buxton

Ian Copestake
Ian Copestake

Ian Copestake may have travelled to Russia, Brazil and Argentina, but Buxton and Wales will always be his home.

Ian is a Freemason and has recently become the assistant provincial grand master of the province of Derbyshire.

Ian Copestake

Ian Copestake

The 64-year-old said: “It is a great honour and one I’m thrilled to be a part of. It may be a fancy title, but it just means I’m helping to run the lodges with the management team.”

Born in North Wales, Ian’s first language is Welsh and he says that even now he thinks in Welsh.

His ambition was to become a musician and was a trombone player with several bands. It was one of these bands which brought him to the High Peak, where he met his wife, Sue, from New Mills.

The pair married and lived in Glossop and Ian started working at Metallurgical selling alloys.

Ian is a father-of-two; his daughter lives in London and his son is a sound engineer at Media City in Salford.

In 1989 the family moved to Buxton and Ian, from Lightwood Road, set up his own business, Asmat Ltd.

He said: “I have spent 20 years travelling the world. I’ve been to the Ukraine, South America and South Africa.

“Brazil is beautiful, and I remember travelling to Patagonia and there is a colony there where they only speak Welsh.”

The Welsh people first arrived in Patagonia in 1865 to protect their language and culture, and Ian said it was very odd hearing Welsh so far from home.

Now he works part-time and splits his time between Buxton and the North Wales Coast, where he has a second home.

“I’m happy not to see planes as much now. I’m taking it easy,” he said.

However, the avid Manchester United fan will go anywhere to see his beloved Red Devils play and has followed them to Rome and Moscow.

Being a Freemason is more of a winter pastime, he says, as the groups tend to break up over the summer.

He added: “I know people think there is a lot of secrecy around being a mason, but the big secret is there is no secret.”

What’s it like to be a Freemason?

Ian is proud to be a Freemason and involved with the charity work the group is involved in.

He said: “There are 250,000 Freemasons in England and Wales and last year we gave 
£8 million to charity.

“That was not done through handouts, but through each lodge fundraising for causes they believe in.”
The secrecy surrounding the Freemasons dates back to the Second World War when Hitler was executing Freemasons, so they went underground and members wore a blue forget-me-not flower to identify with others.

Ian said: “Nationally every hospice and air ambulance gets funding from the Freemasons.

“There are 74 lodges in the province of Derbyshire and each of those also carries out charity work to help local groups.”

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies and is for men only.

It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values.