The festive season has been and gone but the messages and lessons of the season of goodwill have not been erased from our thoughts.
The magic that is the Christmas festive season is more in the giving than in the receiving; a time when our minds are firmly on dipping our hands into our pockets for worthy causes, sometimes lured by the possibility of small rewards. In so many groups and organisations, the season of goodwill is the primary period for tombola, raffles, tricky tray, pick-a-prize and other such games of chance and is a time when the least expected and most unlikely occurrences can bring amazing surprises. Freemasonry is no exception to this scenario and the annual draw held during president’s night at the Masonic hall in Blackpool illustrated the point in admiral fashion.
An extensive and diverse selection of prizes that had been donated by brethren of lodges and chapters that meet at Adelaide Street were on view, ranging from wines and spirits to a television; a George Forman grill; an electric kettle; chocolates galore; beauty products; and of course cuddly toys. The collection of items was extremely impressive to say the least and brethren waited with bated breath for the draw to begin.
When the moment arrived to start the draw, president of the Masonic hall club committee, Jack Monks invited Carol, wife of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, to pick out the first ticket and, would you believe it, she drew Harry’s ticket. As one may imagine the result came as a surprise to all but was, nevertheless welcomed in god spirit with somewhat muffled applause.
However, when Carol drew the second ticket and it turned out to belong to Colin Goodwin, chairman of the Blackpool Masonic club, rather less goodwill was forthcoming and, adding insult to injury, the next winning number belonged to Tom Inman, secretary of the Blackpool Masonic club. Horror of horrors! Not unexpectedly there were jocular cries of ‘fix’. One might think that such a response is not very sporting but the shock of Tom Inman winning a prize was more than most could comprehend. It was enough of a shock that he had actually bought a ticket!, never mind his winning a prize to boot.
Amazingly the draw continued in similar vein with more prizes falling to Colin and Tom. Harry Cox even had another of his tickets drawn and, just when things couldn’t get any more suspicious, Peter Bentham, chairman of the Blackpool group of lodges and chapters secured a number of prizes. Thankfully, calm returned to the brethren when prizes were distributed to a much wider range of individuals and lesser plebeians were well represented.
But the success and pleasure of the evening was not in the winning but clearly in the generosity of those who had taken part and helped raise an impressive £1,100 in aid of the Masonic club building fund. It doesn’t matter how sceptical the brethren may have pretended to be on the night, there was very real satisfaction in the outcome for the club.