The Lodge of Endeavour No 7036 held its annual festival of remembrance at Preston Masonic Hall. This was the 14th time the lodge has held this festival which, over the years has raised over £12,000 for various military charities – Help the Heroes, the Army Benevolent Fund, the War Graves Commission and Royal British Legion to name but a few. This year the lodge members agreed to direct their support to the RAF Benevolent Fund, an organisation founded in 1919 as an independent charity with the aim of providing assistance to the RAF family when needed.
To add support to the event, a deputation of brethren from the Scottish Constitution, Lodge St Bryde No 579 based in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire and Lodge St Patrick No 1309 based in Old Hilpatrick attended and were formally welcomed into the meeting by the master, Charlie Sweeney. The master of Lodge St Bryde, Tom Lynch, responded on behalf of the visitors for the warm welcome they had received. There then followed the normal business of the lodge before it was ‘called off’ and the doors opened to allow the non-Masonic visitors and members’ ladies to enter the lodge where they were also formally welcomed to take their places by Charlie.
There followed a fitting remembrance celebration within the lodge with a wreath placed on the lodge floor that was later laid at the Preston cenotaph at the conclusion of the Civic Remembrance Service.
The festival commenced with piper, Bill Barlow, leading the colour party carrying the flags of the armed services into the lodge, after which, Tony Ormiston gave a short talk on the history of the concept of the unknown soldier.
The Act of Remembrance, led by the Vicar of Christ Church Fulwood, Rev Brian McConkey, followed and included the ‘Ode of Remembrance’ taken from Lawrence Binyon’s poem, ‘For the Fallen.’ The ‘Last Post’ was played to mark the start of the minute’s silence that was completed by the sounding of ‘Reveille.’ Rev Brian McConkey continued with further dedication prayers before those present joined in with the hymn, ‘Abide with Me’. There then followed, the Pipers Lament, ‘Flowers of the Forest’ and the proceedings were closed with the singing of two verses of the National Anthem.
The non-Masonic visitors and ladies were then invited to retire whilst the lodge was reopened to complete the business of the day; which included the WM having the pleasure of presenting Daniel Howe with his Grand Lodge Certificate. The presentation was enhanced by the presence of APrGM David Winder.
Later in the evening, around 150 ladies, gentlemen and brethren sat down to an excellent Preston Masonic Hall meal during which a contingent from the Lancashire Army Cadet Force Corps of Drums entertained the diners with music that concluded with a standing ovation from the appreciative audience.
During the evening, two raffles were held that raised £933 towards the evening’s cause. Bill Barlow brought the proceedings to a close with a medley of tunes that was greatly enjoyed by all present. By way of a thank-you for their continued support of the festival, Charlie had the pleasure of presenting a cheque for £250 to the Corps of Drums.