Three very stimulating courses were served up at the Masonic hall, Wyrebank, Garstang, when Great Eccleston Lodge No 8895 held its outstanding ‘Old English Night’. The first course consisted of a very enlightening lecture entitled ‘Masonic meeting places in Preston’, which was researched and presented by lodge stalwart David Rhodes. The lecture gave a fairly detailed résumé of the history of Masonic meeting places in Preston from the 17th Century, to the present day. One very helpful facet of the lecture was the inclusion of numerous pictures illustrating the buildings in question. The second course consisted of a surprise visit by the regional charity steward Geoff Bury, who some whispered had just flown in, but in fact had just arrived straight from the London train. His timely entrance was in order to present to the master of the lodge John Nelson, on behalf of Great Eccleston Lodge, a certificate recording its Grand Patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, a thoroughly remarkable achievement.
As well as the certificate, Geoff brought greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who thanked all the brethren for their wonderful donation and wished the lodge well for the future. The final course, being the ‘Old English’ festivities, was held in the banqueting suite at Wyrebank where a duo of ‘Fines Masters’, in the persons of Scott Devine and Les Newlands levied draconian charges for such misdemeanours as ‘using the left hand to raise their drinking glass after being told to use their right’. Given the arbitrary nature of such misdemeanours the charity coffers soon began to fill nicely. Including the raffle proceeds the evening raised a magnificent sum of £538.
Once the brethren had been ‘fleeced’, I mean divested of their money, Nigel Parrish entertained the brethren for the rest of the evening with some popular songs, including a very amusing rendition of ‘Marvellous Toy’, in which Nigel persuaded a number of the brethren to join him at the front of the room in order to accompany him with some very curious musical instruments including a horn, a triangle and a maraca, to much amusement from the assembled brethren.
To close the evening everyone stood to sing a rousing rendition of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. It can safely be said that everyone had a great evening.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.