Anual Boxing Presentation Night & Masonic Annual Boxing Event Brief History
By Barry Hadley
Approximately 28 years ago The National Dairyman’s Association (Furness Branch) Committee started a Boxing Tournament Evening held in October at the ‘Cumbria Grand Hotel’ Grange-over-Sands to raise money for the Gamma Scanner appeal fund at Furness General Hospital, this was to be an annual event to raise money for various local charities.
The first and second year were both successes but due to business commitments the committee unable to devote the quality time required for a successful tournaments gave consideration to cancel all future events. Gary Neal, the then Chairman of The National Dairyman’s Association (Furness Branch) committee, approached Jim Whitten, then Chairman of the Northern Group of Freemasons and asked if they would be interested in taking over the annual boxing event. After lengthy discussions it was agreed to ‘give it ago’. A boxing committee was set up comprising of a Chairman- Wilf Hackett, Vice-Chairman- Ralph Walker, Treasurer- Harold Saunders (‘Rowly’), Secretary- Peter Turner, one member from each of the then Thirteen Masonic Lodges within the Northern Group of Freemasons, and as a co-opted member- Gary Neal , for experience and advice, along with Alan Willoughby, coach of the Kendal Boys Amateur Boxing Club.
The first Masonic Tournament was arranged to take place in January 1986, instead of the October, as the committee felt that it clashed with many other Masonic Events. It was as a very nervous occasion for all involved, however it proved to be a huge success making over £3,000 split between Masonic and Local charities. 25 years later it is still going strong and still making money for Masonic and Local charities, up to date it has made £146,402 from which 101 Local charities have benefited. We hope that this will continue for the next 25 years. Note:- Approximately 17 years ago Vice-Chairman Ralph Walker took the chairmanship, and carried on the successful events until 2007 when he then relinquished the Chairmanship to Gary Rogerson. Ralph remained on the committee as Vice-Chairman until 2012 when Tony Cassells took over allowing Ralph to ‘take it easy’ but is available for his valuable advice:- Gary Neal is still co-opted for his experience and valuable advice and we are delighted to inform you that in our January’s meeting a vote took place for David Grainger to be made an honorary member which he has accepted.
Left: Ralph Walker being presented with Engraved cut glass tumblers and flowers for his good lady Pauline (who was poorly on the night) by ‘Rowly’ Saunders, Chairman of the Furness and South Lakeland Group for his contributions over the last 25 years on the Boxing Committee
Right: Gary & Eileen Neal being presented with the latest DVD Player/Recorder and flowers by ‘Rowly’ Saunders, Chairman of the Furness and South Lakeland Group for not only instigating the boxing event but also his contributions over the last 25 years on the Boxing Committee
OfficialsDoctor:- Keith Mangal Doctor:- Richard Wilson Paramedic:-Andrew Dickinson Kendal Boxing:- Alan Willoughby VIP Host:- Jack Craig VIP:- Fred Hunter
The Shire Horse and Gypsy Caravan
( or as known to all associated with the Boxing, as the Horse and Cart )
The then Chairman W.B.Wilf.Hackett happened to mention this to his wife who said she had just the thing they needed. She was tired of dusting and moving a certain ornament in their house and he could take it as a prize . After much discussion the committee decided they would auction the ornament,
The first boxing event took place in January 1987 and the Horse and Cart was duly auctioned. On this first auction the Horse and Cart raised £100, but the buyer was adamant that he did not, or dare not, want to take the item home and would be glad for it to be auctioned next time for charity, and the legend of “the Horse and Cart was born. In recognition of the buyers generous act it was decided a plate with the donors name should be fixed to the plinth.
After this arrangement had run for five years the Chairman and committee thought it had run its course and they decided to offer the Horse and Cart to WB Gary Neal ,to use at the local Dairymans Charity Event that he was helping to organise. The event was held at the Newby Bridge Hotel and the auction saw the Horse and Cart make £60 for the Furness Gamma Scanner Appeal Fund. It was bought by a Dairyman from Liverpool with the proviso that he did not have to “cart it” back to Liverpool and that it should again be used for charitable funds.
Gary returned it to the Boxing Committee and it has been used very successfully every year since. Whoever wins it in auction, by custom, always donates it back for use the following year and they have their name placed on the plinth.
It is estimated that this arrangement has brought in £ 6,000 over the last 26 years and the Committee are very grateful to the generous benefactors who have bought the “horse and cart” in the past, and long may this tradition continue.