On a warm summer July Saturday morning, Andy McClements, Vice Chairman of West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Society sets up the clay traps over Curwen Hill in preparation for the annual Summer Charity Shoot.
The summer shoot has always been popular, with opportunities for guns to have a go at a simulated flush and perhaps get their eye in on a few pre-season driven clays. The 2022 shoot would be no different, drawing many Masons and non-Masons from all over the county.
As the temperature started to rise, guns began to register at the desk of June and Mike Casey; with teams slowly forming for the flush. An outstanding raffle was on offer, with two large summer hampers made by Samantha Dickerson (Sam) and kindly presented to the society as top prizes by the recent new member of Lodge of Triumph No 1061, Dave Dickerson and Sam. Along with other prizes such as champagne, whisky and a large range of wine and sweets, guests eagerly purchased tickets ready for the draw.
With the practice stands manned by WLMCPSS shooting coaches, novices tried their eye in on a ‘going away’ and an ‘incoming clay’. The practice stands were really busy with lots of guests wanting to give shooting a go. Ben Nicholas, who joined Lodge of Triumph through the Membership Pathway, thoroughly enjoyed his coaching, stating: “It was great to get out with other likeminded people and have a go. I’ve shot a little before but I’d like to become more involved with the society and its shoots.”
It was also great for the organisers to see many non-Masons attending, with a few familiar faces who have supported a number of the society’s other shooting events. Non-Mason Dale Millard, who has supported many of the West Lancashire novice days said: “We always come to support the society when we can, helping raise some good money towards charity. The guys are all so welcoming and the shooting coaches really help us to enjoy our day.”
The flush always raises a little bit of ‘healthy’ competition, especially between some of the local shoots. With 5 teams entering, each shooting two flushes, there were plenty of drives for spectators to watch. With a break in between, this gave a chance for teams to try some of the outstanding refreshments on offer whilst watching other squads shoot their flushes.
Food for the day, kindly donated by a Lancashire chef, consisted of locally shot game pies, black pudding wellington and a range of delicious cakes and pastries. Not only can he cook, but he was a great shot too! Scores were very tight but Team 3 made up of Richard Dennison, Jason Coxhead, Ben Nicholas and Phillip Alston were the winners.
On the raffle draw, top prize of the ‘Summer Picnic Hamper’ was won by Arkholme Gun, Andy Finch and second prize of ‘Flemish Summer Hamper’ was won by society treasurer, Bob Smith. After a great day shooting, with splendid food and company, the society has managed to raise an amazing £1,100 which will go towards Masonic charities.
Co-organiser and committee member David Jenkinson, added: “We are all really proud of what Andy, the society and everyone involved have managed to raise today; it’s an outstanding amount. It’s also great to see Masons and non-Masons coming together for the love of the sport and raising money together. Events like these are useful opportunities for people to see the community-focused work Masons are involved with and potentially attract those new lodge members.”
Article written by David Jenkinson.