Boys’ night out in China

Balmy summer evenings on the Fylde coast are a rare treat during the best of years, so the joy of hitting lucky for a Masonic mid-season recess event was a pleasure indeed. It was on such a dreamy summer’s evening that over 20 brethren and guests, drawn from several lodges of all three Fylde groups, gathered in Poulton-le-Fylde for a ‘boys’ night out.’

 Pictured left: John Lee (centre) with his guests, Ronnie Quinn (left) and Eric Hughes. Pictured right from left to right, are: Paul Darlington, Glenn O' Brien and Paul Rigby.

Pictured left: John Lee (centre) with his guests, Ronnie Quinn (left) and Eric Hughes. Pictured right from left to right, are: Paul Darlington, Glenn O’ Brien and Paul Rigby.

The event, organised by John Lee a member of Baines Lodge No 7844 in the South Fylde Group and Tony Farrar a member of South Shore Lodge No 4672 in the North Fylde Group, commenced at the Bull public house opposite the ancient stocks and whipping post in Poulton’s Market Square. On hand to record a memorable social event was Glenn O’Brian a member of Peace and Unity Chapter No 3966 in the Blackpool Group. Participants began to gather before seven o’clock so that by eight, when they moved across to the China Red restaurant in Queen’s Square, a spirit of bonhomie was already well established.

A pleasant surprise awaited all when they were informed that Bill Singleton, a member of Peace and Unity Lodge No 3966 in the North Fylde Group, was buying the first round. “Cheers Bill”, was to be heard for at least 10 minutes as glasses were raised to this very generous stalwart of local Masonry.

All having chosen the ‘Banquet’ from the house menu meant that starters were soon being served by China Red’s friendly and efficient staff. These included spring rolls, chicken wings, seaweed, parcel wraps and ribs. More drinks were ordered to aid digestion and the light-eaters were aided by the nosh-dustbins to clear the plates. A constant hum of conversation interspersed with bouts of raucous laughter proved that everyone was entering into the spirit of the evening and a further round of drinks was just delivered to the tables before the main courses. Many new friendships were being forged and promises of lodge visits made.

The joy of a banquet is that a rich and varied array of dishes is provided for the diners’ delectation. As each dish was presented an air of expectant relish gripped the assemblage. There were platefuls of chicken, pork, beef and prawns, in rich sumptuous sauces and decorated by fresh vegetables; a veritable feast. The hum of conversation had grown in volume as these delights were steadily consumed.

After this gourmet clearance, room for a sweet could not be found. Room for a pint or two more, however, was found, as several hardy souls made their way to the Golden Ball Hotel in Ball Street to round off a fine evening. During this final sojourn the plans for next year’s night out were being hatched.

Pictured clockwise from top left, are: Ian Ward (left) with Paul Hardy. From left to right, are: Terry Murtagh, Geoff Diggles and Jamie Blundell. Paul Darlington, the last man eating! Guests at the foot of the table enjoying the atmosphere. John Lee at the head of the table.

Pictured clockwise from top left, are: Ian Ward (left) with Paul Hardy. From left to right, are: Terry Murtagh, Geoff Diggles and Jamie Blundell. Paul Darlington, the last man eating! Guests at the foot of the table enjoying the atmosphere. John Lee at the head of the table.