Over 400 brethren and their partners from all parts of the Province gathered to attend the Provincial Tercentenary Gala Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool.
The evening began with the entrance of the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison and his wife Maureen who entered the Royal Suite accompanying the principal guest, Assistant Grand Master Sir David Hugh Wootton accompanied by the chairman of the West Lancashire Tercentenary committee, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent and his wife Lynda.
The wonderful four course dinner started with a choice of a trio of melon or mushroom brioche wellington. The main course was either rustic chicken or poached salmon with a selection of seasonal vegetables. The choice of dessert was trio of chocolate cheesecake or fresh fruit salad. This was followed by a cheeseboard of traditional Lancashire cheeses.
To the surprise of all the diners, the entertainment started after the dessert course when a waiter dropped a large tray of cutlery onto the dance floor. This bought silence to the room as the waiters burst into song performing an exciting and interactive set of well-known operatic arias to everyone’s delight.
After dinner the Provincial Grand Master proposed the loyal toast, following which he proposed the toast to the Grand Master. He then invited all present to join him in the toast to the Premier Grand Lodge on its 300th anniversary. Tony next gave a short synopsis of Sir David Wootton’s career and Masonic work prior to proposing a toast to the Assistant Grand Master. Tony presented Sir David Wootton with a cheque for £5,000 from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity to the Lifelites Charity (of which Sir David Wootton is a patron), Tony also presented a Rail Atlas for Great Britain and Ireland and a special bottle of Martell fine Cognac which marked the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Martell Distillery.
Sir David Wootton thanked Tony for his kind words and very generous gifts and then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire, to which he offered a response which was both humorous and dignified.
Tony and Maureen then drew the winners for the raffle, which had been organised during dinner.
The first prize: A five-day coach holiday for two people to any destination in the UK from the 2018 brochure of David Ogden Travel, was won by Dave Godard from Lodge of Lights No 148.
The second prize: A flight in a light aircraft from Blackpool for two people, lunch to be included. The destination will be discussed with the winners. Or the winner may convert this prize into a two-hour flying lesson for him/herself, a relative or a friend, was won by Gwenneth, wife of Ian Greenwood from Preston Guild Lodge No 4408.
The third prize: A 43” LG 4K colour television, was won by Alan Yates from Lodge of Loyalty No 86.
The fourth prize: A two-night stay at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool, was won by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden and his wife Doreen.
The raffle raised £1,920 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation West Lancashire 2021 Festival.
The evening continued with entertainment from the Mike James Big Band and a Frank Sinatra tribute by Jonny O’Connor, compared by Tony Jo. At midnight the evening came to an end, but for many it continued in the hotel bars and night club!
A great night to remember the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge formed at the Goose and Gridiron on 24 June 1717 – as those Freemasons present acknowledged their heritage and history as they celebrated the occasion in true West Lancashire style!