The WM of Ashmole Lodge No 5128 Eric Miller, on his own behalf and on behalf of the principal guest Joanne, welcomed everyone to the lodge’s ladies evening. He expressed their delight in being able to welcome so many members and friends, old and new, to such an auspicious occasion, wishing everyone an enjoyable evening. The evening was a formal social function during Eric’s year in office as WM and being a major event in the annual calendar of the lodge, it was held at Warrington Masonic Hall.
The event was very well supported by 65 members and guests. The evening was superbly well organised and planned, with attention to detail obviously being important and in abundance. The formal proceedings were under the control of Michael Moore, the director of ceremonies.
Grace was offered by the acting chaplain Matthew Forsyth and was followed by a superb four course banquet consisting of goat’s cheese and caramelised onion tart, slow braised shoulder of lamb with onions, thyme and balsamic vinegar, broad beans, glazed carrots and roast potatoes, with a strawberry shortcake stack with cream and a premier selection of English and continental cheeses with biscuits to follow. Tea or coffee completed the meal. Many complimentary remarks about the quality of food and the service of the hall’s staff were offered. Matthew returned thanks and Eric proposed the loyal toast.
Michael Williams proposed the toast to the ladies, commenting that he felt very honoured to do so. He thanked all the ladies present for their help and support over the last 12 months. He continued by providing a short account of Joanne’s career of 20 years as an English teacher. He briefly mentioned that Eric and Joanne met because of their interest in amateur dramatics and stage productions and was focused on stage characters. It was a very amusing and entertaining speech.
The ladies’ song was sung by Norman Pritchard accompanied by Brian Wilson. Norman continued by singing two extra songs including ‘Make you feel my love’ and ‘The Rose – Some say love.’ during which he distributed long stem roses to various ladies.
Joanne responded to the toast on behalf of all the ladies. She thanked all for their attendance, also John and Pat McIntyre for their help and assistance in the organisation both before and during the evening. She continued by thanking Dave Harding and all the catering staff for the meal and their service.
Thanks also went to Michael Moore, the lodge DC and the two stand-ins for both wardens for their help. Joanne concluded by thanking the lodge for her lovely present of a set of matching jewellery. A free raffle was then conducted and table prizes were drawn.
Michael announced that George Brooks, a caricaturist, had set up a mini studio in the bar area and would be delighted to produce a caricature of anyone wishing to have one done. He then handed control over to ‘The Abbarettes’, an Abba tribute band and dancing continued until late. This also provided any non-dancers with ample opportunity to sing along to many Abba favourites.
Many people said it was ‘most enjoyable’ and ‘a great evening’.
Eric brought the evening to a close by thanking everyone for their support throughout the year in general and the evening in particular. He commented on such a magnificent number attending and concluded by wishing everyone a safe journey home. The final song of the evening was ‘New York, New York’.
Article and pictures by John Starkey.