The December meeting of Hawkshead Lodge No 4354, which meets in the ancient Market Hall of the beautiful Lakeland village of the same name, is a popular occasion and always attracts a good number of members and guests. This year the main business before the lodge was to receive a talk from Dan Mitchell, the treasurer of the West Lancashire Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity.
Accompanying Dan was the chairman Keith Kemp and other members of the committee. The talk was very well received. The process of setting up the branch and the work which was required was outlined. Dan then went on to explain the process of organising events. Although originally aimed at mainly young people with physical or mental disabilities, its remit has been expanded to include ex-service personnel recommended by ‘Help the Heroes’.
The benefits of the charity were illustrated as Dan gave descriptions of some of the individuals (whose identities were not disclosed), who had enjoyed the events and the effects it had had on them. These case studies kept everybody hooked.
The branch is not just run by Masons, with some of the wives eagerly lending a hand as well. Dan’s wife Janetta acts as the schools liaison officer and does great work in reaching out to the right clients.
One very interested spectator was Hawkshead member David Kellet. David is a member of a lodge in Cumberland and Westmorland and has for several years been the chairman of their fishing charity. Cumberland and Westmorland tend to concentrate on trout fishing whilst West Lancashire target coarse fishing.
Following the lodge meeting, the hall had to be changed from a lodge room to a dining room. Whilst this work was being undertaken a pre-meal aperitif or two were enjoyed in the traditional English hostelries in the age-old village square. The Christmas decorations added to the great ambience of the evening.
The room having been readied, 70 Masons sat down to enjoy a three course Christmas meal. The toasts all completed, in what has become a convention of the December meeting, virtuso organist Paul Gregson then led the assembled throng in the singing of Christmas carols. It was a fitting end to what had been a splendid evening of Masonic friendship.
For those that stopped the night in one of the local hotels, the following day brought mists which obscured the horizon at early morn but gave a magical, if somewhat eerie, look to Coniston Water.