Under the floodlights at Southport RFC, the West Lancashire Freemasons RFC (WLFRFC) took on the Southport RFC ‘Shipwrecks’ team for a charity rugby match in aid of Luke Mortimer. The game was arranged by David Topping who is a member of both Southport RFC and the WLFRFC. Profits from the game were donated to seven-year-old Luke Mortimer a member of Skipton RUFC Juniors, after David heard about Luke’s tragic situation.
Sadly, Luke became unwell with meningococcal meningitis and the disease took its toll over the course of four weeks and eventually led to Luke having to have both his hands and both legs below the knee amputated. In true Masonic and rugby community spirit it was agreed it would be remiss not to help Luke and his family.
WLFRFC fielded a team of Masons, candidates and non-Masons with an interest in the Craft to take on the challenge of the Southport RFC ‘Shipwrecks’ who are a veteran’s team and were primarily comprised of seasoned ex-players and current players.
It was only the third game the West Lancashire team have played together and the best performance so far. The Southport team proved too strong and WLFRFC were left ‘shipwrecked’, losing the game by a margin of nine tries to 4. Despite the loss, the team and their coaches were delighted with the progress made and the togetherness of the team.
After the match players and supporters enjoyed a lively and entertaining evening with the Southport players, friends and family. The WLFRFC ’man of the man’ was Garry Hacking who was presented with the team tankard filled with Guinness by coach Phil Marrow. In typical fashion, after naming their man of the match, each team also identified members of their team that had fallen foul of some calamity or humorous moment during the game!
All those players that had been picked out, including the man of the match from each side, then took part in a ‘boat race’ where they had to drink a pint (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) as quickly as possible. The brethren excelled themselves by winning! Throughout the evening, there are a number of initiatives to raise money including a ‘fines’ bucket, coin toss game and raffle. A highlight of the evening was being treated to the wonderful singing of David Massam who has an amazing singing voice and created a terrific atmosphere that made everyone dig deep into their pockets.
A total of £674 was raised through donations and after the final count was done the senior management of Southport RFC announced they would add in the extra £326 to the bucket to make it a nice round £1,000. Along with having a very enjoyable evening and raising money for charity, everyone had the opportunity to demonstrate the fact that Freemasonry is alive and well in West Lancashire and that brethren in the WLFRFC team come from a range of backgrounds, ages and abilities. One of the great parts about the evening is hearing that it had sparked an interest in joining Freemasonry from some of the Southport players.
No matter the rugby match score, it was an amazing opportunity to show the wider community the value, charity and beautiful spirit of Freemasonry.