The annual charity steward’s dinner took place at the Masonic Hall, Saul Street, Preston, and was attended by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and other distinguished guests.
The 140 guests were warmly welcomed by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward Philip Preston and Regional Charity Steward John Wrennall. They thanked the charity stewards for the sterling work they have done over the past year.
After an excellent dinner, David Winder rose to further recognise the outstanding work of all the Masonic charity stewards.
He emphasised that, of the £20,000,000 raised by the MCF during the last year throughout the country, £15,000,000 went to Masonic charities and £5,000,000 to community charities, thus making Freemasonry one of the country’s major contributors to charity. David went on to thank the brethren for supporting the Festival with donations and for using the relief chest white envelope scheme, commenting that from small acorns mighty oaks grow.
A game of ‘heads and tails’ organised by Philip and John started the evening’s entertainment, delivering great fun and amusement to all, especially since it was won by Susan Winder, much to the embarrassment of husband Dave. Once everyone had settled the 4-piece band, ‘Chuckletruck’ was brought into play. They entertained, everyone with a mixture of 60’s and 70’s music, humour and hilarious interaction with the guests. Revellers danced through until midnight and a superb time was had by all.
During the interval, the raffle was drawn by Tony Harrison and his wife Maureen.
This was followed by an auction for 3 footballs signed by the manager and players of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United, the latter had also been signed by Sir Alex Ferguson. Fierce bidding took place for these items, which was expertly facilitated by Richard Wilcock. The Everton football raised £65, the Liverpool ball raised £240 and the Manchester United football raised a grand total of £600.
To add to the occasion, a separate auction had already taken place online for a ‘Formula 1’ shirt, that added to the total raised.
A cheque was presented to Tony for £2,021, for the MCF 2021 Festival, following which he thanked everyone in attendance for their generosity and ensured that the money would be put to good use.
After the evening’s figures were added together a total of £2,700 was raised on the night, a marvellous sum.
The truly excellent evening continued with dancing to ‘Chuckletruck’ before everyone went home having been well fed and marvellously entertained.
Following its success, planning is already in hand for the 2019 Charity Stewards dinner to be held on Saturday 2 November.
Article and photographs by Peter Bennett.