The Broken Column Cream Tea Event held at Southport Masonic Hall was organised by Tom Bradfield-Kay, the Southport Group Almoner, utilizing the network of Craft and Royal Arch almoners within the group as the initial contact for the widows.
The funds for this event were generously supplied by West Lancs Freemasons’ Charity (WLFC) as part of their Broken Column Initiative to unite the widows of Masons with the opportunity to meet together in a very relaxed social setting.
Many of the widows have very little contact with others in the same position and may find this form of contact can lead to more personalised social meetings. It is also an opportunity for them to meet up with old friends who they met with their late husbands.
It was thought that it would enhance the event to have keynote speakers representing Southport Masonic Hall, WLFC, MAGIC (Masonic Action Group In the Community) and the Ladies Luncheon Club (for widows, wives/partners of Masons). It was a happy and fun-filled afternoon which was enjoyed by all who attended, especially the widows who were rather touched by the generosity shown and soon asked if we were going to hold a similar event next year!
The proceedings started with a reception for the ladies offering an opportunity to mingle with all the almoners of the group, as a meeting of all almoners was taking place in an annex and also to meet old and new friends. After having a glass (or two) of Bucks Fizz, the ladies made their way through to the Scarborough Dining Room for a veritable feast of homemade sandwiches, cakes and scones, finishing off with a cup of tea or coffee.
Southport Group Chairman Phil Stock was introduced to the ladies and he then officially welcomed the widows to the hall giving them a brief explanation of the Broken Column Initiative and wished them an enjoyable afternoon.
Alan Riley (WLFC) and a member of Lodge of Unity No 613 was the first keynote speaker who proceeded to inform the ladies about the WLFC and the help and assistance which is available to them, the process of obtaining this help as well as the initial contacts for assessing suitability.
Next was Colin Jenkins, a member of Perfect Ashlar Lodge No 5246, who informed the ladies about the attributes of MAGIC (Masonic Action Group In the Community) as well as the process for making contact 24/7 for emergency advice and repairs to their property should the need arise
Last but not least, the Southport Ladies Luncheon Club Chairperson Mrs Janice Scott then discussed the benefits of the luncheon club, the meeting periods and the details for joining.
Finally, the event finished with a thank you from the group almoner Tom Bradfield-Kay who then asked the ladies to open the envelope in front of them. The envelope contained information about the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI), an M&S gift card and a raffle ticket. A raffle then took place on each table; the prizes were generously donated by the Southport Ladies Luncheon Club Committee. Each widow was then provided with a Broken Column Broach provided by WLFC.