The WM of Goodwill Lodge No 3896 James Ross and his wife Jacquie hosted their 2023 Ladies Night at Widnes Masonic Hall, and the night was packed with friendship, entertainment and fun.
For those who haven’t attended one previously, a Ladies Night is usually an annual event which allows the lodge brethren the opportunity to show the lady in their lives just how important they truly are and how relevant their support is in shaping them as Freemasons.
Nearly 70 brethren and their guests turned out in their finery in support of James and Jacquie, which is testimony to the fine work that they have put into their year in the chair.
Bringing everybody to order the director of ceremonies for the evening, Lewis Redhead, announced that the festive board awaited and the guests made their way into the Alan Locke Suite where they were officially welcomed by the WM.
Grace was given by the lodge chaplain Paul Smith before everybody sat down to enjoy a dinner specially selected by the principal lady of; tomato and basil soup, followed by chicken goujons, roast pork with roast and boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli. The sweet was fruit pavlova which was followed with cheese and biscuits.
To complement the meal there was a choice of either a full-bodied Argentinian Malbec red wine or a crisp and fruity Italian Pinot Grigio with the lodge stewards ensuring that everybody’s glasses were constantly topped up. Following the meal and the returning of thanks by the chaplain, the brethren again rose whilst the WM proposed for the first time at a Goodwill Ladies Night, a healthy toast to His Majesty the King.
It was now time for those two eagerly awaited and anticipated toasts; firstly, that to be given by the lodge’s junior warden Robert Smith; who in proposing his toast to the ladies, certainly got the ladies in the audience on his side as he told them that as a modern man, he didn’t expect his white shirt for Masonic meetings to be washed and ironed as he expected to do his own!
Three lady prime ministers since the vote was granted to women less than 100 years ago and many women in prominent and demanding roles in industry and commerce prove that when God created man he had a look at the results, weighed up all the mistakes, then created a woman which he thought a much-improved result.
Women do many things better than men, take dancing for an example, many men can do a waltz with difficulty yet a woman can do it backwards, and in high heels! Robert highlighted the fact that married men and men with partners live longer, and no gentlemen, it doesn’t just seem longer!
He mentioned that his partner tells him every day just how lucky he is, and that he is definitely the boss in their house as he makes all of the decisions to do with government foreign policy and matters concerning the economy, whilst his partner just decides where they live, where they go on holiday and what car they drive. To a rousing applause, mainly from the ladies, Robert asked the men present to stand and drink a hearty toast to ‘the ladies’.
Secondly; it was now the turn of the principal lady Jacquie who responded by thanking the junior warden for his toast and for identifying that behind each great man is an even greater woman, well she said that’s what she heard! Jacquie explained that the uniqueness of the top table, which was made up with the exception of the WM James, by solely ladies, consisting of her sister, sister-in-law and childhood friends, who if asked would all testify to who the better half was in her relationship!
Taking the opportunity, she thanked numerous lodge brethren for their on-going support along with highlighting just how much money had been raised during James’ year in office which will benefit a number of local charities.
As the WM is remaining in the chair for a second successive year, Jacquie concluded by saying just how much she was looking forward to inviting everybody back for a second Ladies Night and addressing them all once again, but for now she said: “Let’s see you all on the dance floor.”
Norman Pritchard responded to the principal lady’s speech by singing a rousing and fun filled rendition of the Ladies Song which is a toast to the health and happiness of all of the lady’s present. Following this, he entertained everybody with a number of songs before singing a song made famous by Bette Midler in her film of the same name ‘The Rose’ as he distributed roses as gifts from the WM and his good lady to each and every lady present before handing the microphone over to Alexander Divine who went on to entertain everybody with her two sessions of music.
During the interval the principal lady announced that she had a gift for each lady present and requested that the senior and junior wardens distribute the gifts of a delicate bone china cup and saucer set which should provide many fond memories when used in the future.
Each table decoration, which was a stunning replica of a bouquet of flowers but made from soap, was raffled and one lady at each table took home a unique and fragrant showpiece for their bathroom.
The customary raffle was concluded with the proceeds totalling £340 which will be added to the other charitable donations that the lodge has raised during the year and will be distributed to local charities in the coming weeks, whilst Norman Pritchard was presented with £100 for his charity, Zoë’s Place, in return for his support of singing the Ladies Song.
The table menu card had the following detailed inscription printed on the bottom which summed up the rest of the night perfectly: “The food, the wine, the toasts are done. Come ladies let’s dance and have some fun” and that’s certainly what happened next and for the rest of the evening.