Guest of honour at the Furness and South Lakeland Group Dinner was Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent Paul Renton who was joined by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Chris Butterfield and Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger. Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor and Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah David Barr were also in attendance.
Group chairman Peter Schofield, his deputy Gary Rogerson and secretary Alan Pattinson extended a welcome to Jim Wilson, Neil McGill and Scott Devine, their opposite numbers in the Lancaster Group.
The masters of lodges in the group and their counterparts in chapters were welcomed to an informal meeting in the lodge room prior to the dinner. The distinguished guests, led by Paul, mingled amongst them and gave everyone chance to raise any points they wished regarding Masonry. There was a happy buzz of conversation which indicated that the exercise had proved most worthwhile.
There then followed an opportunity to meet others who were attending the dinner. Paul circulated between the various groups in the bar who were enjoying a pre-meal aperitif and it was pleasing to see many junior brethren putting in an appearance.
At the meal, members of the newly formed Cavendish Club, a club for new and junior Masons, acted as stewards and served on at the tables. This reduced the cost of the meal as waiting staff did not have to be paid but, more importantly, it increased their profile. It also gave members, who are drawn from the different lodges of the group, a chance to dine together and build on newly formed friendships.
It was the Cavendish Club Secretary Carl Hallows who was called into action to propose the toast to the health of Paul. Being called upon to perform such a role when just approaching five years as a Mason would be unheard of not too long ago. The work of Carl was extremely well received and the applause which followed was due praise for the effort he had put in in order to be able to deliver such a fine oration.
The response from Paul held the interest of everyone. His principal theme was on the relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch and provided much food for thought. He also paid acknowledgement to the works of the three principal group officers Peter, Gary and Alan.
To mark the occasion, Peter presented Paul with a cheque for £1,000 in favour of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival.
The toast to the group was proposed by David Barr in fine style. In responding to the toast Gary thanked the various group officers for their work in ensuring that the Furness and South Lakeland Group continued to thrive.
With nearly 100 persons in attendance and enquiries being made about membership of the Cavendish Club and the Royal Arch, the evening can certainly be viewed as a great success.