When the master of Runic Lodge No 6019 asked the members how they could raise money for good causes and have some fun the reply was simple: “Put the kettle on!”
Taking their sage advice a stage further, he arranged an afternoon tea party at Lancaster Golf Club, Ashton Hall. Fellow Mason Michael Cole of City of Lancaster Lodge No 281 who happens to be the Executive Chef of the venue helped in ensuring the success of the event in no small measure.
The weather did not prove to be as cooperative with a raw wind blowing and heavy sleet showers obscuring the normally pleasant rural views on offer from the Ashton Suite windows. However, a good number of Masons together with their families and friends attended to show their support for the chosen charity, which was the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Everyone gathered in the main bar lounge for a chat before moving through to the baronial splendour of the reception hall for a photo opportunity. On entering the Ashton Suite, a choice of tea or coffee was served promptly accompanied by a substantial array of sandwiches with delicious fillings.
No sooner had the guests completed their first encounter with the tasty offerings than the servers swept into the room to deposit an array of homemade cakes that would have broken the resolve of even the most dedicated dieter. Tea and coffee cups were deftly replenished as Dav Morrow rose to welcome everyone and explain the reason for the choice of charity to benefit from the event. He movingly explained that the grandson of the lodge treasurer Peter Charlton suffered from this life-limiting and very debilitating illness and that he thought it appropriate that Runic Lodge should show its thanks for the work that Peter does for the lodge by raising funds for this very deserving cause. Just as the well-fed group were contemplating whether or not to ‘squeeze in’ a last portion of cake, the Ashton Hall ‘Dessert Rats’ Corps in the form of the waiters and waitresses assaulted their victims with a final salvo of chocolate mousse, fresh fruit tart and strawberry macaroons!
The inevitable result of this devastating culinary blow was that the hapless diners were ‘putty in the hands’ of that master of the ‘Chorley raffle’ Terry Nealons who extracted the magnificent sum of £170 from his calorie laden and sated victims.
In keeping with normal Masonic generosity, Runic Lodge was not happy with honouring just one charity if the opportunity to honour two was possible. This proved to be the case as Raymond Hirst from the RNLI had kindly accepted an invitation to attend the event and receive a cheque from Dav for £364. This money had been raised during the visits to the lodge by Dr Robert Lomas when he gave lectures outlining his interpretation of the symbolism in Masonic ritual. He had requested that the proceeds from collections held at these visits be gifted to the RNLI, a request that Runic Lodge was most happy to accede to. In gratefully accepting the donation, Raymond explained that the RNLI has 236 lifeboat stations spread around the country and an active fleet of over 340 lifeboats. It relies very heavily on the generosity of the general public to fund its essential work and as an example of the costs incurred he noted that an in shore lifeboat station such as the one we have at Morecambe costs £95,000 per annum to operate. He ended his remarks by expressing sincere gratitude to Runic Lodge and the local Freemasons for their generosity.
On making their way out of the excellent venue, considerably fuller and, dare we venture, a few ounces heavier than on entry, perhaps thoughts turned to a possible ‘sponsored slim’ – or perhaps not!