Q: What do three laughing policemen and a football have in common?
A: The annual Charity Stewards Dinner and Cabaret event was held at Preston Masonic Hall where 140 brethren and guests gathered for pre-dinner drinks before taking their places in the banqueting hall, where they were welcomed by Provincial Grand Charity Steward Phil Preston with an especially warm welcome for Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and his wife Maureen.
A particularly fine banquet was enjoyed before the fabulous Jason Stewart took to the floor with an eclectic mix of song, humour, reminiscences and audience participation which had everyone applauding and laughing in equal measure for the best part of 90 minutes.
When Jason decided to perform ‘The Laughing Policeman’, it was almost inevitable that he should seek ‘assistance’ from three volunteers – and that those volunteers should consist of PC Tony Harrison, PC David Winder and PC Derek Parkinson!
At the completion of Jason’s first ‘set’, David Winder, the Vice President of the West Lancashire 2021 Festival in aid of MCF, bade everyone a very good evening and said what a great privilege it was to have the PrGM (alias PC Harrison!) and his wife Maureen present.
In typically self-effacing style, David said that in some of the great amount of spare time he enjoys as an Assistant (as if) he directed his thoughts to the Christian name ‘Maureen’, and indeed, to Maureen herself, breaking down the letters of her name to: Most – Approachable – Understanding – Reasonable – Exceptional – Ever Supportive – Nice Person which brought spontaneous and resounding applause from everyone.
David thanked everyone for their support in general and particularly for the Festival. In particular he thanked Phil Preston and every member of the charity team for their tireless work. It is never easy, he said, obtaining pledges and money for charitable causes but is extremely satisfying in the knowledge that every single penny will benefit someone in real need.
Particular gratitude was expressed by David to John Wrennall for all his hard work in organising and overseeing the evening, and to Terry McGill, the Chairman of Preston Masonic Hall and all his colleagues for allowing the use of the wonderful facility. David was delighted to call Terry forward to receive a cheque in the sum of £500 for Preston Masonic Hall.
Although we are ‘in Festival’ and that must, of course, take priority, David reminded everyone that we must not lose sight of our own West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and was very pleased to present Mark Matthews with a £500 cheque for the charity.
Raising money for the Festival is made even more enjoyable if we can have fun in doing so and it was therefore particularly satisfying for David to announce a further donation of £1,030 to the Festival making a grand total from the evening’s event of £2,030.
David said that he was constantly amazed by the generosity of Freemasons and it was almost unbelievable that to date we have received in monies and pledges for the Festival a total of £1,346,000. He then invited the PrGM to receive a cheque for the Festival in the sum of £1,030.
Patronage certificates were presented by David to Andrew Whittle the Chairman of Woolton Group who have achieved Grand Patron status; to Steve Bolton, Chairman of Preston Group, who has become a Festival Patron; and to Dennis Tierney, Regional Charity Steward, who received a Vice Patron certificate on behalf of Warrington Group Chairman Andrew Barton.
David also paid tribute to all those Masonic groups who have already achieved patronage of the Festival.
Maureen Harrison was invited to draw the evening’s raffle following which Tony thanked everyone for coming and supporting the event and particularly the charity team for their work on his behalf and in aid of the Festival and hoped that everyone would continue to enjoy the rest of the evening. John Wrennall was delighted to present Maureen with a magnificent bouquet of flowers.
Oh – the football? A special ‘Liverpool’ Football Club football signed by all the players had been donated which was splendidly auctioned by Richard Wilcock and quickly achieved a ‘hammer’ price of £200.
Jason Stewart then resumed the floor with live entertainment through to the early hours.