Byron Lodge, No 7426 recently held a successful Ladies Festival that resulted in a substantial four figure sum being raised for Anthony Nolan, the UK charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancer.
Ladies Festivals are an integral part of many Lodge calendars, offering the opportunity for the Brethren and their wives to meet socially with both Masonic and with non-Masonic guests.
Festivals also typically generate surpluses, which benefit the chosen charity of the Lodge’s Master, who is the President of the Festival during his year as Master of the Lodge.
Held in the Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire from 6-8 October, Byron’s event was organised in meticulous fashion by Festival Secretary Janet Lomer-Cross and attended by almost 100 Brethren and their guests.
Director of Ceremonies for the evening, W. Bro. Tony Lomer-Cross introduced the Toast to the Ladies (delivered by W. Bro. Ian Mitchell) which was responded to by the President’s wife, Kate Hall.
Kate explained that the President, W. Bro. Rod Hall, chose Anthony Nolan as his charity for the year in recognition of the vital help it afforded to her friend Jen Dalziel.
Jen was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2015 at a relatively young age and Kate explained the devastating impact it had on her life, taking her from a fit and active mother to requiring the assistance of a life support machine within a month from diagnosis.
With the help of the NHS and Anthony Nolan, Jen recovered and was able to attend Byron’s Ladies Festival to thank the Brethren personally for their fund raising efforts, which saw almost £1,000 raised through the raffle on the evening of the gala dinner alone.
Jen made a moving speech in which she praised Anthony Nolan and the NHS for helping her recovery and the Brethren for supporting their vital work.
In addition to a five course gala dinner, the Festival weekend offered the Brethren and their guests the opportunity to explore the beautiful Warwickshire countryside and delightful nearby market towns such as Royal Leamington Spa.
As ever, the highlight was the opportunity to enjoy the company of Brethren and provide the non-Masonic guests with a glimpse into the warmth and humour that characterise Masonic events.