It was entirely logical to the members of Torrisholme Lodge No 5245 to hold their Old English Night on St Patrick’s Day! That way they could have double the fun but, as the lodge is fortunate in having a high number of candidates for initiation, the meeting preceding the festive fun required some serious work. Colin Smith was soundly and sincerely initiated into Freemasonry by the immediate past master Andrew Bryan and the charge to the initiate given in an outstanding fashion by a relatively new Mason Phil Tarbun. The quality of the ceremony proved a worthy precursor to the relaxed enjoyment that followed.
The festivities began in the dining room at Morecambe Masonic Hall with the usual donation required for cutlery and saw the fines master John Bates levying draconian charges for such misdemeanours as ‘failing to be silent within one nanosecond of the gavel falling’ and ‘blinking in an excessively disruptive manner’. The charity coffers began to fill rapidly, almost as rapidly as the diners did as they consumed black pudding with mashed carrot and swede followed by hot pot.
During the very enjoyable evening, the audience were treated to, or subjected to, depending on your opinion, humorous monologues by John Bates and George Fox. The former recounting an individualised and comic account of the signing of the Magna Carta and the latter an adaptation of another well-known piece performed originally by Stanley Holloway, but on this occasion re-named as ‘Sam, Sam, pick up thee wand’. Both performances received the approbation they deserved.
A version of the TV game show ‘Play Your Cards Right’ was hosted by local Mason Stewart Aimson with assistance from a rather incongruous ‘dolly dealer’ in the person of Jimmy Nisbet who had neither the necessary physique or photogenic qualities normally associated with the role! It was unclear whether the frequent calls from the audience of ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ related to the cards or the ‘dolly dealer’!
The evening certainly achieved its main aims, with over £250 being raised for the benefit of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the attendees returning to their loved ones at a respectable hour, a little heavier in the waistline and lighter in the wallet.