It is difficult to put your finger on exactly what it was that encouraged people to be so generous. Perhaps it was the congenial atmosphere, the soothing warbling of a water feature or the liveliness of the begonias, pelargoniums and petunias. Perhaps it was the weather. On the day, the sun beamed down its warming rays, soft wispy clouds gently stroked the otherwise clear skies and a caressing breeze added to the allure of the summer air. It put everyone in a bright and cordial mood. Perhaps it was the food or the company and the desultory chit-chat that floated between the participants. Who knows? Whatever the reason, it was a marvellous outcome and so much at the heart of what Freemasonry is about; people coming together, enjoying each other’s company and benefitting the less fortunate.
It was as if all the elements had amalgamated to ensure a triumph on the day. But of course it wasn’t the first time that Gordon and June Thompson had organised such an event. It has been a well tried and tested formula that has continually brought success, year upon year; a formula that gets people to willingly dig deep into their pockets.
But hang on a moment, the fond reflections of the day seem to be running away and the fact that you may not have the foggiest idea of what the babbling is all about has by-passed the conscious mind. It so often pans out like that, doesn’t it? You have a thoroughly solid day and enthusiasm to relate the tale causes you to forget to fill in the important info. You just merrily whizz along and before you realizes, everyone is left crying out: “Just hold on a second! What is this all about?”
Well, rewinding and running through things more clearly. Having been invited to the Annual Garden Party that Gordon Thompson, charity steward of North Shore Lodge No 7916 and his lovely wife June have arranged at their home for a number of years, some 50 or more Masons and their families toddled off to Wesham during the summer to enjoy yet another relaxing day of affable company, a splendid buffet and refreshing tea and coffee (or something with a bit more punch if that was the choice), all in the delightful surroundings of their rich and restful garden.
There were the customary fundraising activities to entertain the troops; a raffle, guess the weight of the cake and that sort of thing but the components that ensured success on the day were the consummate generosity of the attendees and the assiduity of mine hosts. Assisting Gordon and June was long-time friend Frank Cameron, (sporting a racy Masonic pinny), who was on hand to decant the drinks and further add to the well-running of the day.
That the attendees arrived with generous hearts was clearly evident from the very beginning. On arriving, they presented raffle prizes to Gordon and June and soon began investing in tickets to see if they could win them back. That is so Masonic isn’t it? Donate a raffle prize, buy raffle tickets, win a raffle prize, and donate the raffle prize to another raffle. And so on and so on.
The modus operandi of the day was so well structured and executed that it would have induced even the most parsimonious of skinflints to empty his wallet. He would have gaily flipped it open and when the breeding colony of moths had dispersed, would have donated every last penny. Such was the persuasiveness of the day.
But those who attended the garden party didn’t need cajoling; they gave willingly. They attended with generous hearts that required no more coaxing than a bite to chew on, a cup of the refresher and the company of their fellow revellers.
And the result was stupendous. On the day, over £1,000 was raised, the sum to be shared equally between the Christie Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Society. That was the measure of their munificence. Summing up the day Gordon extolled the kindness of his guests with the simple words: “Their generosity is overwhelming”. His guests no doubt would express the view that Gordon and June had once again worked wonders.