Abercromby Burns Night celebration

Abercromby Lodge No 3699 held its inaugural Burns Night on behalf of the Gladstone Group to celebrate the life and times of Robert Burns and the tercentenary of Freemasonry. From what started off as a small idea of hosting an event, with the support of other brethren, it soon escalated into a hugely supported evening for the members, wives and guests with over 100 attending. The Sefton Suite at the famous Adelphi Hotel was the chosen venue. Amongst the guests supporting the event was Assistant Provincial Grand Master responsible for the Gladstone group, Derek Parkinson and his wife Joan, together with Gladstone Group Vice Chairman, John James and his wife June.

Piper David Weaver.

Piper David Weaver.

The evening began at 7.00pm when 100 guests mingled and enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in the Crosby Suite adjoining the main function room. At 8.00pm prompt, guests were called to make their way into the Sefton Suite where they were given a welcome address and a brief explanation on how the evening would progress from Matty Riley, the principal organiser and Master of Ceremonies. Once all guests had taken their places, they waited with anticipation for the arrival of the haggis, which was piped in with all due ceremony. The haggis was then addressed with pomp and vigour by Derek Blackburn. The Quaiche, the cup of friendship, was passed around to the piper, the WM and the victims of the address.

Following the ‘Selkirk Grace’ given by Brian Kendrick, guests were served the traditional soup, and the main meal commenced. Haggis, neeps and tatties with whisky gravy, as between courses Matty gave a brief description of the two charities who were to benefit from monies raised that evening. Firstly, the ‘TLC Appeal’. This was chosen as Matty had experienced first-hand the results of the ‘TLC Appeal’ in operation at Arrowe Park Hospital after his grandson was admitted into Accident and Emergency. Matty saw an inconsolable young girl who was given a TLC bear by the ward staff, calming her down thus allowing the staff to provide the medical care needed. The TLC Appeal originated after an allergic reaction suddenly caused the swelling and blocking of the windpipe of the wife of a Freemason. Her life was saved by the rapid action of the medical staff at an A and E unit, who were able to resuscitate and stabilize her. They were both eternally grateful for the swift and caring attention that she received, but found the experience the most frightening of their lives and speculated on the distress that children must face when visiting A and E units.

The idea of doing something useful for medical staff at A and E units was discussed with other local Freemasons, and from that point the compulsive idea of “Teddies for Loving Care” was born.

Darren Doyle then stood to talk about the reasons for supporting the second good cause to benefit from the evenings fund raising. The second charity was to be 90 Air Training Corp (Speke) Squadron of the Air Training Corps. This is a local organisation; open to both male and females aged between 12 and 20 years, of varying abilities and backgrounds. The Squadron is self-funding and as such are constantly organising fund raising events to support activities the cadets so enjoy. Last year the cadets, using borrowed instruments, entered the ATC County Music competition and were awarded first place. Overwhelmed with their success they entered the Regional competition and yet again were awarded first place. They then went on to enter the national competition and although they didn’t win, 90 (Speke) Squadron were in the top five in the country. The cadets would like to participate in future competitions and ceremonial occasions using their own instruments. Matty later visited their meeting place to present a cheque for £410. With this generous donation this will soon be possible.

Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Bears.

Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Bears.

After the main course, which was a succulent roast beef dinner, guests were briefly entertained by the piper David Weaver. Once dessert and the loyal toast had been delivered the evening progressed

Into the main part of the Burns celebration, Matty again took to the floor to deliver the immortal memory with the help of an audio visual show. Accompanied by a few chosen words about the life and times of Robert Burns. The guests were then treated to have Burns’ most famous poem Tam O’ Shanter delivered in a stirring rendition by Dougie Eaglesham, a guest and friend of The Royal Signals Association. Liverpool.

The traditional ‘address to the lassies’ was given by Barry Sewell and was responded to by his wife, Joanne.

Prior to welcoming the cabaret act, ‘Anthony’, who soon had the dance floor full, the raffle took place. Sixteen prizes in all had raised the magnificent amount of £800. Together with monies raised by Miss Catherine Trees by selling pin badges and TLC Bears in support of the charity, plus various donations, the final amount at the end of the evening was a staggering £1000. It was in the wee small hours that the last of the guests headed home at the end of a superb evening. Without doubt, if the event is repeated in 2018, they will have to book a larger room as it is bound to be a sell-out.

Pictured from left to right, are: Two cadets from the ATC with Les Keane, Matty Riley (MC) and Bill Twemlow.

Pictured from left to right, are: Two cadets from the ATC with Les Keane, Matty Riley (MC) and Bill Twemlow.