Hope Lodge No 4003 has been low in numbers for quite a few years, and with just 20 members they thought it would be difficult to organise a festive season meeting that would do justice to this old and historic lodge. Years ago, Borough Lodge No 3996 had faced similar, if not worse, problems. However, with the support of joining members from other lodges that meet at Bryn Masonic Hall, a rescue plan was invoked and things are on the up, with 30 members now subscribing.
Together, it was thought, both lodges could, with visitors, muster a good number to join together to enjoy not only a yuletide feast, but see the numbers in the lodge room swell. So it was agreed and arranged. Borough Lodge, by dispensation, changed its normal date to coincide with Hope Lodge’s regular December meeting, and both lodges met on the same night. Hope lodge, under the direction of WM Bob Roberts, opened with all officers in situ, with members of Borough Lodge attending as visitors.
Business concluded, the lodge was closed, offices vacated and WM Patrick Walsh and his team from Borough Lodge took over and did the same, with the brethren of Hope Lodge remaining as visitors. It was then down to the festive board together, presided over by both masters. With some gentlemen to dine, meant that over 70 sat down to enjoy a fine festive board, with turkey and all the trimmings and a meal fitting for any Christmas celebration.
There is little that natures the festive season feelings better, and generates that special feel good factor associated with this time of year, than the sound of a brass band playing all those nostalgic and favourite tunes. 27 musicians of the Greenall’s Brass Band, led by Phil Boardman, filled the dining room and entertained the gentlemen and brethren, first with background music while they dined, followed by a concert in their second spot after the formal toast and raffle.
The Greenall’s Band have supported Masonic causes for years, having voluntarily given of their time to support the Eccleshome Summer and Christmas Fairs, and even travelled to Caernarvon to play at the Wigan Group tercentenary celebrations. Their prize-winning repertoire ranges from classic seasonal numbers, tunes from the musicals, popular music and singalongs.
It was a great night, and the raffle which featured an array of prizes, raised just short of £400 for charity. In addition, both lodges contributed to a donation for the band. A great idea turned out to be a really successful event.