The muse of dance according to Greek mythology is Terpsichore. Those who attended the spectacular banquet and ball to celebrate the tercentenary at the Cumbria Grand Hotel, Grange-over-Sands had certainly fallen under her spell.
The event was a joint celebration between the two northern most groups in the Province as Masons from both Lancaster and Furness and South Lakeland came together to mark the 300 years that have passed since that fateful meeting at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern.
There is a strong bond between the two groups with regular trips around Morecambe Bay to visit lodges and support events in each other’s area. When some years ago the executive group officers were considering what to do to observe the tercentenary, various options were considered.
In the end it was decided to hold a joint function which would involve taking over the Cumbria Grand Hotel for the night and put in its simplest terms, having a party. The hotel is well use to the presence of Masons, as it has for many years been the home of the annual dinner with boxing evening organised by the Furness and South Lakeland Group.
Richard Wilcock from Furness and Peter Pemberton from Lancaster were pressed into action as facilitators and more than achieved their brief in producing a tremendous evening of food, conviviality and dancing.
The hotel was completely taken over for the night with over 200 people in attendance, the vast majority of which took up the package which included overnight accommodation. There were waiting lists in both groups in the event of any cancellations arising. Some arrived early in the day to enjoy this lovely part of the country whilst others left just enough time to register and change into their finery.
A welcoming glass of prosecco together with canapés greeted the revellers as they arrived in the Jacobean Lounge for the reception. Following this chance to mingle and meet friends old and new, it was time to go through to the restaurant for the splendid fare on offer. Smoked salmon and prawn parcels were followed by supreme of chicken forestiere, with a delicious berry meringue forming the pudding course. To complete the banquet there were generously portioned individual cheese platters accompanied by tea and coffee. The menu was very well received.
After the food, the restaurant was vacated while the tables were freshened up to make ready for the music and dancing. It was then onto the hotel patio, or a seat near a window, for the next treat which was a spectacular fireworks display. This professional pyrotechnic pageant was very kindly sponsored by the Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman’s company, Schofield Construction Ltd, and proved a huge success.
The tables smartened up, it was back to the dining room to enjoy the music of Dean Fawcett and Full Benefit. Their popular music was just what was needed to work off the excesses of dining as the dance floor quickly filled and remained so throughout the evening. Indeed, the dance floor could not cater for all those who wished to strut their stuff and the carpeted areas around the tables also bore witness to couples tripping the light fantastic.
As well as the influence of Terpsichore, it was also obvious that there were many who had fallen under the sway of another mythological Greek figure, Dionysus, the god of wine and festivities, as a thoroughly pleasant time was enjoyed by all.
Shortly before midnight the dancing and entertainment came to an all-too-soon end. Supper consisting of haggis bon bons and deep fried battered Camembert was then served up.
Many continued to enjoy the camaraderie well into the early hours whilst others made their way to their rooms after a terrific evening of fun and friendship. The function room became the breakfast room on the following morning with a full-English being well appreciated as the view over Morecambe Bay on a bright and sunny morning was savoured.
Fond adieus as the guests departed were accompanied by comments of what a success the event had been. Those who hold responsibility for making it all possible can certainly reflect on a job very well done and they can bask in the grateful thanks of all those who reaped the rewards of their unstinting efforts.