Widnes all fired up for a fun night

The fun night was the culmination of events which began when Keith Roberts of Cheshire Fire Brigade approached the Widnes Freemasons stand at Victoria Park last September, asking if they could offer any assistance in raising funds for 15 highly motivated fire cadets who are involved in the ‘Nepal School Project 2017’.

Ian Lynch welcoming the guests.

Ian Lynch welcoming the guests.

The Fire Cadets and nine volunteer leaders will head out in the autumn of 2017, but first they need to raise over £70,000. The Halton section aim is to raise £18,000, and to date have raised approximately £14,000. This will fund the building of a new school and enable the team to go to Nepal and finish off the build where they will also meet and work with the children and villagers who will be using the facilities for generations to come.

Nearly 18 months on from the first earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015, children are still living and studying under tarpaulins, so it’s important that this group raise the money to enable them to help these young people as much as possible.

Working with the charity, ‘Classrooms in the Clouds’, the Cheshire group are hoping to build a brand new six classroom school which is in a remote village in the Basa region of Nepal, in Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Zone, where better education is urgently needed as 71.6% of males and 44.5% of females do not have any form of education.

This region also suffered a huge amount of destruction to villages and communities from the earthquakes of 2016, so the need for this building is even greater. Our group charity steward Ian Lynch accepted their request and after discussions came up with a plan.

Ian crosses the finishing line.

Ian crosses the finishing line.

Ian had entered the Edinburgh Marathon and was asking for sponsorship with the intention of raising funds for the MCF 2021 Festival. He decided that he would divide the donations equally between the MCF and the Nepal School Project and would also arrange a fun night to be held in July 2017.

On completing the marathon in an excellent time 4hr:12min:16sec, he was asked how the training and run had gone and in his own words he said: “I began with a 20-week training plan back in January which I managed to stick to in the main, which worked really well for me.  It was my first (and maybe only) marathon and so on the day I was quite nervous before the start. Once we set off though I soon settled down. We started on Regent Road in the shadow of the National monument running past Holyrood down towards Leith. The route went right up the coast along the Firth of Forth through Musselburgh, Prestonspans and Cockenzie before turning back on ourselves to eventually finish alongside Musselburgh race course. It was strange just after mile 13 to see the eventual winner already on his way back with just about 4 miles to go whilst I was only just past half way!  However, he did finish in a time of about two hours 19 minutes.

My training must have been effective as I managed to keep up a decent pace (for me anyway) until just after mile 18 where I started to tire and slowed off a bit. No amount of energy gels was going to make me go any quicker now. As I approached the outskirts of Musselburgh the crowds began to build up again which always gives a boost and with just under one mile to go I spotted my family cheering me on from the side lines. A most welcome sight! I eventually crossed the finish line in a time of four hours and 12 minutes which was around the time I had targeted, so I was really pleased.

Keith Roberts (project leader) gives a summary of the Nepal Project accompanied by the fire cadets.

Keith Roberts (project leader) gives a summary of the Nepal Project accompanied by the fire cadets.

Obviously, I was in some pain but the elation of having finished and knowing I had the support of so many people who had sponsored me put all of that to the back of my mind. Besides which a few days of aches and pains is nothing compared to what some of the eventual recipients of our funds raised have to go through on a regular basis.”

July arrived and with over 80 members and guests meeting in the Alan Locke Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall and looking forward to a relaxed and fun evening. The proceedings commenced with Ian welcoming everyone especially the cadets from the Cheshire Fire Brigade. Ian then invited project leader Keith Roberts to give a summary of the project.

The night’s entertainment commenced with a game of stand-up bingo ensuring all the guest were seated ready for the entertainment which was provided by JPM Roadshows, who soon had guests up and dancing. Now that everyone had built up an appetite, Sugar and Spice catering staff prepared and served chicken and chips in a basket.

Some of the many prize winners.

Some of the many prize winners.

This was followed by the raffle with many prizes being kindly donated. The entertainment recommenced with guests dancing till late. Widnes Group Chairman Neil Pedder announced that the monies raised for the cadets’ project and the MCF 2021 Festival amounted to £1,200 from sponsorship to Ian’s marathon and £400 raised on the fun night making a grand total £1,600.  £800 will be presented to both causes. He thanked all those who had supported the events and wished everybody a save journey home.

At the end of the evening many people said that they had had a very enjoyable and fun evening.

Pictured left: Dancing the night away. Pictured right: Ladies enjoying a chat with a bottle of wine.

Pictured left: Dancing the night away. Pictured right: Ladies enjoying a chat with a bottle of wine.