The brethren of North Meols Lodge No 5828, under the WM Steve Baldam, held a highly successful Lancashire Evening, at which 56 members and guests, including men who are non-Masons, enjoyed a lively and happy Lancashire flat cap evening with great quality Lancastrian entertainment.
The lodge was honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, who is a member of the Lodge, and by the Chairman of the Southport Group Phil Stock. Geoff Jackson acted as director of ceremonies.
By order of the Steve, all present must wear a flat cap, or be fined by the taxman, Dave Murphy. Even Steve fell afoul of his own rule and was promptly fined for wearing a top hat.
A traditional Lancashire dinner was served, courtesy of the chef Phil Rayment, consisting of a black pudding stack, steak and ale pie followed by hot apple pie and custard. Throughout the proceedings, fines were imposed and accepted in good humour for any misdemeanour, such as drinking with the right hand when Steve had ordered use of the left, or wearing their caps facing forward when the WM had ordered them to face backwards.
The straw-hatted stewards, Larry Blundell, Carl McNulty and John Tomlinson, were kept busy collecting fines. Many brethren bought an indemnity against further fines and were presented with a policeman’s helmet or a Fez to distinguish them.
Toasts after dinner were limited to the King, the Grand Master and the Provincial Grand Master. Mark Matthews briefly responded and remarked that being surrounded by so many police helmets brought back memories of the police canteen! He warmly praised and thanked Steve Baldam and all who had assisted him on the success of this splendid evening. Speaking particularly to the guests who are not Masons, he hoped they would consider joining and stressed that Masonry is very much about enjoying each other’s company and having fun.
After dinner, the evening’s entertainment was provided by three Wigan Freemasons, the McGuigan twins, who played a medley of Lancastrian themed songs, followed by comedian Jimmy O’. To applause, Steve thanked them for their support and for the enjoyment their entertainment had provided.
A raffle was then held, which Dave Murphy conducted as a ‘Chorley Swindle’, allocating draw numbers to all who raised their hands. The raffle raised a total of £300, with ‘fines’ and other donations enabling a grand total of £600 to be shared equally between the event’s charities: Frontotemporal Dementia Support and the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust (Southport Lifeboat). Following the tyler’s toast, the evening ended with the singing of ‘Let us have harmony’.