Over 80 members and guests, many resplendent in red outfits or adornments, assembled at Warrington Masonic Hall to celebrate St George’s day. The banquet hall was suitably decorated with St George’s flags and buntings, the red and white colours were replicated onto the tables with red roses, candles, napkins and white table cloths.
Peter Whalley introduced himself as director of ceremonies for the evening and organised a heads and tails bingo game as the first fund raising item of the evening. This had everyone standing up and placing their hands on their heads or their tails, which provided some gentle exercise before the meal was served and this improved everyone’s appetite.
Peter then introduced Warrington Group Chairman Andy Barton to officially open the evening. Andy welcomed all the members and visitors, especially the principal guests the Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington, Councillor Faisal Rashid with his wife Aleeza. Andy informed those present that the evening’s proceeds would go to support the Mayor’s charities. He concluded by saying that he hoped that everyone would have a most enjoyable evening.
Councillor Faisal Rashid thanked Andy for the warm welcome offered to him and his Lady Mayoress Aleeza, saying they were delighted to be present at the celebration and were looking forward to the evening.
Faisal then briefly explained his charities which include: ‘Brainwave’ which unlocks children’s potential and supports Warrington children with disabilities and additional needs to achieve their milestones.
‘St Rocco’s Hospice’ cares for people with life limiting illnesses in Warrington and their families. They are dedicated to helping each patient live their life to the full.
‘Foundation for peace’ ‘The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace’ a charity that works nationally and internationally for peace and non-violent resolution of conflict.
‘Warrington Disability Partnership’ which is a voluntary organisation run predominately by disabled people with the aim of improving the quality of life for disabled people and their families through a range of direct and indirect services.
‘Warrington YMCA’ is a local charity forming part of the national organisation, looking to help young people with various aspects of their life such as housing, education and advice.
‘Warrington foodbank’ is a project founded by local churches and community groups working together towards stopping hunger in our local area, but part of The Trussell Trust’s network of 428 foodbanks. The Trust is working to tackle food poverty and hunger in our local communities, as well as across the UK. ‘Refuge UK’ which supports 3,800 women and children on any given day through a range of services, including refuges, independent advocacy, community outreach and culturally specific services.
Faisal Rashid concluded by thanking Andy and the group for their invitation, everyone for their support on the evening and their kind donation towards his charities.
David Goddard delivered grace and the meal commenced, which consisted of minestrone soup, a three meat roast carvery, gateau, cheesecake or fresh fruit salad with cream. Tea or coffee completed the meal. David returned thanks and Andy proposed the loyal toast.
Norman Pritchard led the singing with ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’ which bought lots of nostalgia and patriotism to the forefront, demonstrated with much flag waving by all those present. After a short break, just long enough for a visit to the bar, the raffle was drawn with several lucky winners collecting a prize.
During the interval, Faisal with his wife Aleeza visited the museum and a lodge room. They were proudly guided by Andy and his wife Kath.
It was announced that Alan Greggs and his wife Val had organised this event for the past 12 years and this was their last before retiring from the role. Andy asked them if they would come forward to receive thanks for all their hard work over all the years and accept a gift of flowers and a bottle of amber nectar in recognition of the sincere appreciation of the group.
Andy announced that the proceeds from the evening with an additional contribution from the group meant that £500 would be donated to the Mayor’s chosen charities. The remainder of the evening was taken up by dancing to Peter Hill, a disc jockey and vocalist.
Andy Barton closed the evening by thanking everyone for their attendance and support, along with the organisers, caterers and entertainer for all their hard work. He concluded by thanking everyone for their generous support and wished them a safe journey home. The evening was brought to a close in a traditional manner by the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.