A ladies evening is, for any lodge, a very special occasion in the Masonic calendar but when it includes the worshipful master’s wife celebrating her birthday and a lodge and family member and his wife celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary, all on the same day, this is undoubtedly a catalyst for a fabulous event.
This happened recently when WM Jim Carrie of Aughton Lodge No 7996 and his wife Dawn hosted their ladies evening at the Lancashire Manor Hotel, Upholland, with 80 guests in attendance. The evening commenced with everyone getting together in the lounge bar in what was a very relaxed atmosphere, before being called for formal photographs with the hosts.
Director of Ceremonies Ian Tupling then announced that Jim and Dawn would be pleased to welcome their guests into the Lathom Suite to officially start the evening. The banqueting suite was beautifully decorated with tables adorned with floral arrangements adding to the magnificent ambiance of the room. Once everyone had taken their places Jim and Dawn were heartily welcomed to the head table with tumultuous applause.
The guests then enjoyed a tasty three course meal of vegetable soup with crusty roll, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and seasonal vegetables, followed by sticky toffee pudding; tea or coffee; which was interspersed with the usual toasts announced by Ian Tupling. After the meal the formal toasts were undertaken; with that to The Queen, Duke of Lancaster by Jim Carrie and the toast to “The Ladies” presented in a most witty and thought provoking manner by acting senior warden Stewart Cranage.
Bryan Davidson then gave an ‘Acapella’ rendition of ‘The Ladies Song’ presenting red roses to Jan Doyle (wife of acting junior warden John Doyle), Wendy Cranage (Stewart’s wife) and to Dawn. Following this the senior brethren of the lodge presented roses to all the ladies present.
In her response, on behalf of the ladies, Dawn thanked those who had helped organise the evening and for their support throughout the year. She gave special thanks to family and friends who had made the journey from Glasgow and Edinburgh to be with them. Dawn went on to say that Freemasonry has always been a part of her life as long as she could remember, and on this, her ladies evening and birthday celebration, she was also delighted to have present her auntie and uncle, Dot and Gerry Knibbs, who were celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. Jim and Dawn then presented Dot and Gerry with gifts to mark their special day which was heralded by rapturous applause.
The party atmosphere commenced with the lodge’s favourite entertainer ‘Fast Eddie’ singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Dawn accompanied by all the guests. Later in the evening Eddie sang especially for Dot and Gerry who were on the dance floor, the romantic song ‘When your old wedding ring was new.’ The musical entertainment continued till midnight with guests dancing enthusiastically to classic songs from the 50’s and 60’s.
Following the last dance Chris Cullen, on behalf of the social committee, took the opportunity to thank everyone for attending and announced that the raffle earlier in the evening had raised £350 for charitable good causes; he then wished the guests a safe journey home.
A very special night for Jim and Dawn, a very popular couple, which will be remembered no doubt for many years to come.
Article and photographs by Barry Hewitt