The charity steward’s address states that nothing can be made perfect without the proper cement and that charity provides the perfect bond which holds our organisation together. Giving what we can for the benefit of our local communities does not stop at donating the change from our pockets, it also comes from donating our time to be involved locally and showcase the brightest parts of our organisation.
Traditionally both the Rosemere Cancer Foundation and St Catherine’s Hospice have used external companies to marshal their events until Jeff Lucas stepped in a few years ago to offer the services of the Leyland Freemason, saving both organisations roughly £2,000 on their night walks.
This year, a new route in brighter hours was trialled by St Catherine’s Hospice for its annual Night Walk. This year it was left to Garry Hacking, the new Chorley and Leyland Group Charity Steward, to arrange the marshalling services. An email was sent out asking for volunteers, to which brethren from the Chorley and Leyland Group, the West Lancashire Freemasons RFC, East Lancashire and the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association all answered the call.
After a short briefing by Garry to the marshals, the walk started at eight o’clock in the evening. Garry and Katie Hacking, covering point one, were the first to encounter the St Catherine’s horde marching towards them at the bottom of Todd Lane South. They were totally in awe of the volume of people passing them. Garry and Katie also acted as mobile marshals for the rest of the evening, ensuring any gaps were filled and also ensuring the other marshals were okay.
Point two at the war memorial at the bottom of Lostock Hall Lane was attended to by Phil Marrow, head coach of the Provincial Rugby Team, and Clive Hardisty of the Widows Sons North West Chapter. They guided the walkers around pass the memorial and up Lostock Hall Lane, ensuring they stayed on the very narrow path. Phil and Clive then peeled off to assist motorcyclists at later points.
Point three saw the walkers encounter legendary Mason Jeff Lucas who guided them up the ginnel next to the library and towards point four where they would be met by Alan Welburn and Bert Bracegirdle. The three of these brethren saw the first big challenge of the evening, that of crossing the walkers over the pedestrian crossing whilst ensuring their safety and minimizing traffic disruption.
The walkers progressed towards point five in which they met Chorley and Leyland Group Vice Chairman Dave Bishop and his friend Mark Cunningham who sent them past the Wishing Well pub, (with no walkers dropping off for a cheeky pint), on the longest stretch towards point six.
Provincial Membership Officer Neil Ward and utility back for the Provincial Rugby Team Michael Kipping at the very challenging point six, led the walkers over the Cawsey roundabout with skill and efficiency, directing them towards point seven.
Point seven was manned by Kevin Byrne and Bill Rickets who noted some inefficient route planning and acted swiftly to correct it to ensure the safety of the walkers and directing them west along New Lane. The walkers would meet these two again on their way back, which wouldn’t be long after the rear markers would pass due to the speed of the pace makers.
The walkers then encountered Mike Singleton of Longton Lodge No 6237 and Katie and Garry again crossing the walkers over the road at St Leonard’s Penwortham Church and continuing west along Pope Lane where a few of the cheekier walkers nipped into a pub for some refreshments.
On the corner where Cop Lane and Hill Lane meet, Phil Kavanagh of Carnarvon Lodge No 2376, assisted by mobile biker Phil Marrow, manned point 10 and guided the walkers north east through a quiet residential area towards the aptly named Marshals Brow.
Marshal’s Brow was point 10 where Dave Gill and his wife Ann, helped the walkers cross the very large road and assisted in keeping traffic flowing. At this point some very tired walkers were safely escorted over a very wide road.
Point 11, the furthest point on the walker’s map, was the entrance to Middleforth Green and staffed by Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge No 2324 member Paul Santus and his wife Millie. At this point they directed the walkers down toward point seven again and back toward the hospice.
After being directed all the way back to the Wishing Well pub and turning left to go along Brownedge Road again, the walkers encountered new assistant group mentor Chris Upton, friend Simon Newcome and son Simon Upton, who manned point 13 at the Shell garage on the corner of Todd Lane South and ensured the walkers stayed on the right side of the road before heading toward the final point on the edge of St Catherine’s Way, where WM of Leyland St Andrew’s Lodge No 7391 Paul Wharton-Hardman and husband Chris sent the walkers back into the grounds of St Catherine’s.
The walk finished at 22:35, with over 700 walkers completing the 10-kilometre journey. Nobody sustained any injuries and after a bacon butty and a debrief, the marshals left happy in the knowledge that the participants were safe; St Catherine’s could utilise all the money raised by the walkers for the hospice, and that Freemasonry in the Chorley and Leyland Group was well represented within the community.