Proceeding with an initiative proposed by the Preston Group Vice Chairman Geoff Saul for the group to raise money in support of Preston Masonic Hall, a sponsored ride round the Preston Guild Wheel was organised. The Wheel is a 21 mile cycle path circling the city, created as a lasting legacy to Preston Guild 2012. Its location makes the most of the different landscapes and greenery that surrounds the city, creating a rich and varied environment for everyone to enjoy cycling.
With the support of Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and the South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward, the event was expanded to include participants from both groups. In this case, South Fylde directed their sponsorship actions to supporting the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Leading from the front David Winder and David Randerson, with the executive members of both groups, took an active part in the proceedings along with some 30 plus cyclists including a number of ladies.
Not to be outdone they were joined by a group of non-cycling sponsored walkers, who were fortunately tasked with covering a slightly shorter distance. The conditions on the day were ideal for cycling, not too hot and not too cold. The riders were flagged off from the marina car park at Lockside Road by Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton.
To ensure there were no cheating short cuts, the South Fylde publicity officer Glenn O’Brien was tasked with taking photographs of the cyclists as they travelled round the wheel. Some of the evidence is shown in the pictures that accompany this report.
The event was advertised as a non-competitive gentle ride round the wheel. However, the first riders arrived back at the car park around one hour and 40 minutes after setting off, achieving an average speed of almost 13mph. The first back was Bob Avery of Melita Lodge No 6783 closely followed by John Parkinson of the Lodge of Triumph No 1061 with David Winder taking the final podium position by arriving in third place. David is to be congratulated on keeping up with what are considered to be two very experienced racing cyclists.
The first lady back was Helen Barrett with her partner Creag Williams, master of Baines Lodge No 7844.The first tandem to return was ridden by South Fylde Group Charity Steward David McKee and Geoff Fogden of Lodge of Fidelity No 1256.
The walkers arrived back in good time led by David Randerson with the event being declared a tremendous success both from the cycling and walking point of view, as well as achieving the declared aims of the event. To mark the occasion, Steve Bolton presented the returning cyclists with a signed certificate of achievement
As a result, Preston Masonic Hall will benefit from a donation exceeding £2,000 and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity from a donation exceeding £1,000. Well done to all concerned, in particular to Geoff Saul for his organisation of the event, to those that took part in cycling or walking and also to all the Masons of the Preston and South Fylde Groups who sponsored the occasion.
Rumour has it that following this year’s success; it may become an annual event as next year’s adventure is already at the planning stage.