Saturday 6th May saw the Salford District lodges celebrate the Tercentenary of Freemasonry by hosting a Ball at Hemsley House, Salford for the brethren, non-masons and their ladies. The evening started with the reception at 6pm, with all the guests moving through to the dining room at 6:30pm. The guests were greeted by the Chairman of the Salford District, WBro Peter Hegarty PProvGSwdB saying it was a great to see so many people attending to celebrate the three hundredth birthday of Freemasonry and he hoped everybody would have a great night. There followed a sumptuous 6 course banquet. After the return of thanks proposed by the District Secretary, WBro Peter Tonge, PProvGSwdB. EComp David Basger PGStB Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principles proposed the toast to the Queen.
WBro Chad Northcott PSGD, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Master, proposed the toast to the Grand Master saying that in 1717 four London Lodges came together to form the Grand Lodge of England. Freemasonry gradually spread all over the world with many millions of men and their families having enjoyed Freemasonry. Teaching men practical knowledge of morality, duty and service, Freemasonry works for the betterment of Society. The Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent has been the Grand Master for 50 of the 300 years that we are celebrating this evening and we continue those traditions under his leadership.
District Chairman WBro Peter Hegarty PProvGSwdB concluded the toasts with the toast to Freemasonry, “Ladies Gentlemen and Brethren, you will have seen the “Potted History” of 300 years of Freemasonry on the back of your menu cards, it is a factual record of history which is a great achievement in itself. For any organisation to survive and thrive as Freemasonry has done for such a long period, which is of course only the documented period, we know the story is much longer, is a wonderful achievement in itself. What history cannot tell us is the great pride we as Freemasons have in the history of our hobby and the beneficial effect it has had in our ever changing world. This pride is brought about by the selfless acts of kindness and generosity of spirit which we see on a daily basis within our organisation. This kindness and generosity is shared by our wives, partners, families and friends, demonstrated by you all being here with us tonight, is something which only adds to our spirit of camaraderie, fellowship and belonging. I ask you all to join with me now in a toast to the future of Freemasonry and the District of Salford in particular.”
The chairman was pleased to add another celebration to the evening, by announcing that well known and loved past Chairman Mike Walker was also celebrating his birthday! Everybody joined in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday which added to the party spirit. Mike Walker who had his whole family with him, responded with much mirth and happiness thanking all present.
Having completed the toasts a raffle was held which raised £600 for the refurbishment of Hemsley House. The evening was concluded with entertainment from an excellent band called Pyramid, such was the quality of music that the dancing was non- stop until midnight.