The Southport Group Masters and First Principals Festival Dinner, which was held in Southport Masonic Hall, gave an opportunity for the brethren to come together in a relaxed atmosphere and cement the bonds of friendship of this close-knit group. The principal guest for the evening was the Deputy Grand Superintendent Paul Renton.
In all, the 23 Craft lodges and 10 chapters, as well as the chairmen or secretaries of the various clubs, discussion groups and societies active in the Southport Group, were well represented. Along with APrGM Robert Wright, AtoPrGPs Tony Hall, group chairman Colin Jenkins and the rest of the group committee, a total of 88 brethren attended to feast on an excellent meal of home-made pate, a main course of roast pork with the trimmings and finished off with lemon meringue pie with cream, all prepared by resident chef Wayne Warhurst and his staff.
As this was a Royal Arch evening, Bob Teesdale, who is DC of Bridson Chapter No 613, was asked to take the role of director of ceremonies for the evening, to ensure proceedings went smoothly.
Keith Wilson who is first principal of West Lancashire Chapter No1403, was honoured to propose the toast to the principal guest Paul Renton, who responded with an eloquent and informative speech describing the indissoluble link between the Craft and the Royal Arch. Paul was also honoured to present the MCF Grand Patron certificate to the Southport Group on behalf of the Province.
At the appropriate juncture, the relevant brethren were asked to present their cheques. As usual the response was exceptional with the total donations from the group detailed as follows; Southport Group £5,050, MAGIC £1,500, Regalia Agency £11,000, Friends of Tithebarn £1,500, Computer Society £50, RD Drysdale (computer initiative) £1,191, M&S bagging initiative £1,400, Children’s Christmas Party Committee £1,230, a grand total of £22,921.
This represents the hard work and dedication of a wide range of brethren within the Southport Group. All in all, 13 various charities will benefit from the monies raised. A commendable effort all round and one that every brother of the group contributes to in one way or another.