Baines has a ball

Set in an idyllic countryside location, Singleton Lodge is a popular family-run country house hotel near to Poulton-le-Fylde. Due to the high quality of its catering services, it is frequently booked by local lodges for social events.

Stuart Pallister (left) with his dad David showing off their smart shirts.

Stuart Pallister (left) with his dad David showing off their smart shirts.

This is certainly the opinion of Graham Bannister, master of Baines Lodge No 7844. He was pleased to welcome all the guests decked out in their finery to the lodge Summer Ball. Glamorous dresses were worn by the ladies, along with some glamorous shirts worn by a few of the men too! Dave and Stuart Pallister led the way with two very jazzy items of sartorial elegance.

Graham has enjoyed a very good year so far with a ladies evening and a few socials – and the annual pilgrimage to the China Red Restaurant in Poulton-le-Fylde still in the offing. This year the ladies are going out on the same night at a venue to be confirmed, with everyone merging at a local hostelry to end the evening together.

With over 70 guests seated around the dance floor and Lionel Vinyl dressed up to look like Norry Ascroft in charge of the entertainment, the evening was blessed with a sumptuous four course meal of the highest quality. Plenty of wine was available along with other drinks, including soft drinks for the family chauffeurs. The Singleton Lodge staff was exemplary in its care for every need and the hub of conversations told its own story of everyone having a good time.

One of the ladies was enjoying a particularly special evening and that was Paula Thomas who’s birthday it had been the previous day. Of course, one isn’t allowed to discuss the ages of ladies (just not British, is it) but suffice it to say that Paula won’t see 21 again! Neither, for that matter will hubby Dave Thomas (no wonder getting him to smile is such hard work). Relaxation was the order of the evening and John Lee was letting his hair down after his busy time as Provincial Senior Grand Warden last year. As ever though, he wasn’t to be left out and had a few announcements to make and grace to say before and after the meal (and they were all short!).

Pictured left from left to right, are: Jim Woods, Pauline Woods and Ken Oxley. Pictured right: Master of the lodge Graham Bannister dancing the night away.

Pictured left from left to right, are: Jim Woods, Pauline Woods and Ken Oxley. Pictured right: Master of the lodge Graham Bannister dancing the night away.

The South Fylde Group Charity Steward Dave McKee was pleased to see two raffles raising £224, which will be going towards Masonic and non-Masonic charities. The exact donations will be decided prior to the lodge installation night in December. As ever, there were several bottles of wine and spirits as raffle prizes and there were, as usual, lucky tables and lucky people claiming more than one prize. Shouts of ‘fix’ and ‘fiddle’ and ‘shake ‘em up’ resounded throughout the draw.

The brethren and their guests then danced or chatted their way towards midnight. Auld Lang Syne was sung and danced to and the slow smooch number at the end of the evening was Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, at the earlier request of the correspondent’s wife, so that she got at least one dance (well, one has to put the camera down sometimes!). Much of the music played by Norry during the evening was requested by the audience until the witching hour arrived.

Auld Lang Syne time.

Auld Lang Syne time.

At the end Graham Bannister was pleased to thank everyone for their support and for making it a memorable evening. He also voiced his appreciation of the Singleton Lodge staff for their hard work and professionalism and to Norry Ascroft for providing such excellent entertainment.