Always a highlight of the Masonic calendar in Furness, this winter’s Boxing Charity Event in January had to be put on hold for a further 12 months. In 2020, the 34th consecutive year event was held at The Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange as per usual and was supported by over 30 local businesses.
The event was ‘sold out’ and with support of Masons and non-Masons, the evening was an amazing success. A record number of raffle tickets were sold, along with an auction held in a frenzy of 20 minutes ‘mad’ bidding helped push the total to a very healthy level.
Chairman of the event, Barrie Bray, could not have been more pleased with the smooth running of the event and the funds that it raised. Barrie said: ”To think this has been going for 34 years is remarkable. Who would have thought that after all these years the demand for tickets would still be there! The representatives of the boxing clubs involved, deserve a huge amount of credit for providing the boxers who show such skill and dedication to a very appreciative audience.”
Over the last 34 years, the auction of the ‘Horse and Cart’ has become part of folk-lore on the evening. On its appearance as an item in the very first auction, the winner who paid £100, was clearly adamant that he was not taking it home, as it may not have been well received! It was therefore decided that the ‘owner’ each year would have their name etched and displayed on the plinth. It is estimated that this arrangement has helped raise £9,000. “I am very grateful to the generous bidders who have bought the ‘Horse and Cart’ in the past and long may it continue”, said Barrie.
The whole evening raised in excess of £10,000 and over the life time of the event the total now stands close to £225,000. The committee luckily met before the first lockdown in early March of last year and were informed that £10,500 would be split between Masonic and non-Masonic causes, as in all the previous years.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, the usual evening to distribute the funds to non-Masonic causes had to be cancelled. The committee quickly agreed to still distribute the sum of £5,250 between each beneficiary as soon as possible to help alleviate the financial strain felt by them all.
All the recipients were grateful for the funds they received and were keen to attend another evening when allowed, to express their thanks to the Freemasons of Furness and South Lakeland. In total there were 15 local good causes who received a donation, ranging from; the three boxing clubs without whom this event would not take place; Kendal Boxing Club, Barrow Amateur Boxing Club and the Furness Catholic Boxing Club; to the Duddon Canoe Club, Women Community Matters Organisation, Sandside School, Mill Lane Parents and Carers Association, Barrow Amateur Swimming Club, Barrow Island RL Club, Dalton RL Club, Seymour Court Garden Fund, Furness First Aiders, Barrow Sea Cadets, the Owl Sanctuary and Cycling Projects.
The disappointment of the 2021 being cancelled has been offset by the new date of the 35th event which is to be held on 21 January 2022, when hopefully the Masonic Boxing Committee can go ahead and continue to support the local community once again by organising this successful charity event.