Academy Lodge No 9382 hosted a candlelit dinner and what a joyous occasion this turned out to be, although tinged with a little sadness because of the absence of the WM, Kenneth Croft and his wife Sylvia. However, the gap was adequately filled by the master elect Norman Pritchard and his wife Pauline.
At 6:30pm prompt the director of ceremonies John Walkey summoned the guests into the Banqueting Hall following a formal reception, where Norman and Pauline were introduced to well over 100 members and guests with their ladies and with 11 tables spread about its surface it looked cosy and inviting with seating for 10 guests at each table. It was quite amazing how Colin Boardman had planned the table layout and yet still managing to leave adequate room for dancing.
Norman began the evening by welcoming everyone and thanking them for their support. He referred to the fact that over the past few years, the lodge had struggled to survive, but with some new members joining the lodge and one or two more in the pipeline, he expressed his opinion that henceforth the lodge would continue to grow. The support from other lodges, emphasised by the attendance on the evening, was very encouraging.
John called everyone to the attention of the lodge chaplain, Gerald Norden who said grace.
There then followed a banquet beginning with prawn cocktail, followed by lamb shank with seasonal vegetables chosen by the chef. Crème caramel followed and then a sumptuous cheese board with coffee and tea. Wines were abundant and soft drinks were available for those guests who were not partaking of alcohol. After the meal Gerald returned thanks and Norman proposed the loyal toast.
Entertainment was provided by a trio tribute band who performed under the name of ‘The Sensations’. Their music can best be described as Soul and Motown performed from their vast catalogue of songs.
Prior to their arrival on stage, Norman gave an impromptu solo before being joined by Pauline on the dance floor. They were quickly joined by guests, eager perhaps, to shed a few calories gained from the excellent banquet.
It was after this that the trio began their performance. During the interval, John called upon Eric Kehoe to make a presentation to Norman and Pauline. On behalf of the lodge, Eric explained the reasons why Norman and Pauline had hosted the evening and thanked them for standing in. Mike Southworth presented an arrangement of flowers to Pauline and Eric presented a gift of a bottle of whisky to Norman.
A raffle was also held and many prizes were drawn. The proceeds of the raffle raised the princely sum of £400. Norman, on behalf of the lodge expressed his appreciation to everyone who participated in making the evening such an unqualified success. He expressed his great delight to see so much support from other Warrington lodges and again thanked everyone for their kind support and good wishes.
Story by Eric Kehoe and pictures by Mike Southworth.