The recent regular Tuesday meeting of the Ormskirk Ladies Group was an extra special occasion as members, together with family and friends celebrated their 20th anniversary. Since its inauguration in January 1997 the ladies group (wives, widows, partners and friends of Masons within the Ormskirk group of lodges and chapters) has grown from strength to strength and receives remarkable support from its members.
The dining tables at O’Briens Tea Rooms within the Ormskirk Masonic Hall were delightfully decorated with white and blue tablecloths, with several tables being adorned with party balloons, whilst others sported large glass vases with candles to fit a celebratory occasion.
Once the 72 guests had taken their seats, Diane Hampson (chairperson) welcomed everyone and wished them a very enjoyable evening Diane then invited grand lodge officer Roy Worthington, a former Ormskirk Group Chairman, to say ‘grace’. Roy’s wife Dorothy is a member of the group and she was the President for many years.
A mouth-watering three course meal was then served; with a choice of Stilton stuffed breaded mushrooms with garlic mayo or trio of melon for starters; slow roast brisket of beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes with season vegetables or lemon and dill baked salmon with Hollandaise sauce and new potatoes for the main course; and for dessert home-made profiteroles with rich chocolate sauce, fresh fruit salad or cheese and biscuits; followed by freshly brewed coffee or tea.
The meal over, Roy returned thanks and added a few words. Roy recalled Diane and her husband Ray coming to see him; although 20 years ago he recalled it was like yesterday; with a germ of an idea that the ladies of the Freemasons’ of the Ormskirk group ought to have an association of their own; with the aim of bringing together wives, widows and friends to enjoy each other’s company. Roy, looking at the list of speakers for the current season said that he had no idea how successful it would be but recalling that he had been kept up to the early hours of one morning by his wife enthusiastically telling him about the wonderful speaker and what a fabulous meal she had enjoyed that evening; and as an aside Roy pointed out that he only had beans on toast!! Roy went on to congratulate Diane, Brenda Hewitt (secretary) and Beryl Patterson (treasurer) and the committee for making the venture such a fabulous success. Roy concluded by saying that he was rightly proud of the Ormskirk ladies group, who over the 20 years had fully fulfilled all the aspirations and aims so modestly proposed at its inception.
With guests suitably refreshed, relaxed and drinks plentiful, guests sat back to enjoy the evening’s musical entertainment provided by the Burscough Ukulele Band. This nine strong ensemble consisting of bass guitar, drums and the ever popular ukulele had the guests tapping their feet and singing along to some memorable golden oldies. The members of the group meet up every Thursday evening at the Burscough Wharf Arts Centre.
During the interval a bumper raffle was held organised by Barbara Westby and Erica Johnson which raised a remarkable £195 towards the group’s chosen charities for the year. At the commencement of the evening Emily and Alex two of the waiting-on staff had brought out and displayed the 20th anniversary cake, made and decorated by Angela O’Brien, which, during the interval, was cut up into individual slices and distributed to guests to enjoy or take home.
The ukulele band delighted everyone with a further 30 minutes of toe-tapping music before it was time to conclude a most memorable and enjoyable evening.
Diane once again thanked everyone for supporting what had been a brilliant evening, and gave thanks to Roy for his very kind words, and special thanks to Gary O’Brien, Angela and staff for a delicious meal and excellent service; the Burscough Ukulele Band and to the committee for their assistance.
The last words of the evening came from Barbara Rouse, Chairman of the Bootle Ladies Club, who thanked Diane and the membership, on behalf of herself and husband Ken and guests Marj and Brian Cunliffe, for the invitation to attend saying that she brought warmest greetings on behalf of the Bootle Ladies Club and she wished everyone a very happy 20th birthday and she hoped there would be many more.
Story and photographs by Barry Hewitt