St Annes Palace opened its doors for ‘Not, the Grand Ball’ and 140 people enjoyed a bumper night out to remember. This event, which coincided with the London-based ‘Grand Ball’ to celebrate 300 years since the creation of the first Grand Lodge in Freemasonry.
The event was the brainchild of John Nicholls of Ansdell Lodge No 3607. John has been the driving force behind so many other great nights out at the Palace that expectations were high as guests arrived into the Blue Room for a champagne reception. Further liquid refreshment was provided by the well stocked bar.
The principal guests on the evening were Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison with his wife Maureen, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and his wife Sue and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Randerson and his wife Anne.
Tables were set up in both the Blue Room and the main hall for diners to sit comfortably while tucking into a diverse array of appetizing dishes served up by Lee Munro and his Square and Compass catering team. On offer were rolls with pulled pork, roast turkey, and brisket. Other temptations included green Thai curry with chicken, lamb curry with couscous and vegetarian options. ‘Afters’ included various cakes, cheesecakes and cheese and biscuits.
Musical entertainment included a string quartet playing in the main lodge room and the dance band named ‘Sixteen men swinging,’ which included two ladies playing saxophone. Recorded background music played at other times. Once everyone had eaten their fill, the dancing got going in earnest with master of Quadrant Lodge No 8044 John Bainbridge and his partner Eileen taking to the floor first. They were soon followed by all of the principal guests and many other couples.
A grand prize draw for two tickets to the New Year’s Masquerade Ball, plus a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne and a hamper of goodies raised the princely sum of £407. Much hilarity, heckling and cries of “fiddle” ensued when it was announced that David Winder had won the prize. Certainly, nobody really begrudged the prize to our popular and hardworking Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
Tradition requires that breakfast barms with sausage and bacon fillings are served before ‘carriages’ and this was no exception. The grand finale was an on-screen recording of a brilliant firework display with a musical accompaniment which included Zarathustra (Sunrise) by Richard Straus, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 and William Blake’s Jerusalem. As ever, there was much flag waving throughout with the inevitable encore. This spectacular piece of entertainment was created and presented by Chris McNab.