All Westhougton Masons know Ray Dainton as a brilliant pianist who plays for many lodges, who’ll tirelessly provide background music for endless ladies’ evenings and as a man who can’t say ‘no’ whenever his services are needed.
What many aren’t aware of is Ray’s devotion to his grandchildren, two of whom suffer from severe cerebral palsy and his endless and unflagging fund-raising for the special schools in which the two boys have resided.
Over the last few years Ray has raised over £100,000 for two schools, first Birtenshaw Hall and now Firwood School, where one grandson, Jacob, still lives. His efforts have enabled the schools to purchase many items that their normal funding simply couldn’t afford.
Ray plays for Anderton Lodge No 8470 in Westhoughton and the worshipful master of the lodge Roger Sherlock along with three other lodge members and their wives, decided to undertake a sponsored walk up Mount Snowdon as their way of thanking Ray for his services to the lodge.
They could not have chosen a worse day! The weather was awful and the rain almost non-stop but that didn’t deter them. So early on a Saturday morning they set off up the famous Pyg Track. Despite years of idleness and much over-eating at many festive boards they managed to make the summit and after a well-earned rest, completed the circle by descending on the Miner’s Track.
Despite being aching and getting a soaking they were happy in the knowledge that their efforts had raised a large sum of money from sponsorships from lodge members and friends plus a very nice large cheque from the William Hill Group, the bookmaking chain, for which one of the walkers Andrew Ashton is a senior executive.
So it was that at Anderton Lodge meeting, Roger had the pleasant task of presenting Ray with a cheque for over £1,200. Ray was thrilled and promised to take a small number of lodge members to Firwood School to join him in handing over the money.
Roger was joined on the walk by his wife Catherine, Andrew Ashton and his wife Alison, James Waring and Philip Naughton and his wife Judith. The group felt it might be sensible to take along a fit young man, just in case any of them needed carrying up the last few hundred metres, so Roger and Catherine’s son Hector filled that role.