When John Wooton first joined Freemasonry 24 years ago, the lodge brethren decided to hold a Children’s Christmas Party and he was asked if he could assist at first with the running and administration of the event.
After a couple of years both he and others decided that if they could get support from other lodges, they could develop the party so that it would give the children a thoroughly good time and a memorable experience.
It was decided that as well as meeting Santa, a gift could be provided which in most cases has exceeded the cost of a ticket, a boxed happy meal and other treats given which are supplied by Gary O’Brien as well as free drinks, crisps and a selection box which Ken Hives has always provided.
A children’s entertainer would be hired to conduct the party games and balloons and trinkets given out for them to play with. In later years face painting was also available which Lauren Wooton often assisted with. The gifts have always been purchased with skill and persuasion by John trawling around major shops in search of suitable gifts to suit age and gender.
A good friend, Debbie Cooke then expertly wraps the gifts whilst John also supplied meal boxes, wrapping paper and gift tags. A raffle has always been drawn at the end of the event with the prizes also provided by both Ken and John whilst John Carton, it was agreed, was once again a superb Santa.
This Party has now become a successful yearly tradition to the benefit of the children of the Ormskirk and Bootle Group and feedback from lodges year on year has always been excellent. Lodge members being particularly pleased not only by the event itself but by the fact that in most cases, lodge social events were for adults whereas this was specifically for their children.
Once all costs had been met any balance is donated to worthy causes. Last year the sum of £250 was given to Zoe’s Place Hospice. The Christmas party has now been running for the past 24 years and has created fun, happiness and good memories for the children of the Ormskirk and Bootle group.