The November meeting of the Lodge of Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity No 1034 has traditionally culminated in our festive board being our charity fundraising Olde English Nite (OEN) where lots are brought in by the Brethren of the Lodge and auctioned, but of course current restrictions prevented that. However, despite not being able to physically meet, we held a virtual OEN, which was planned to include some of our old favourites, stand up-sit down bingo, a humorous monologue or two and music from our very own Ukulele wandering minstrel, 'Howling Jack' who promised a tune or two.
Our virtual OEN night was a great success with fourteen Brethren taking part. The invitation to the evening did suggest that we could dress in suitable attire. The Brethren did not disappoint, several sported flat caps looking like an audition queue for Peaky Blinders, one wore an oversized "Tam o' Shanter" hat and ginger wig, others were in their Masonic apparel. One brother was the master of disguise, he went from wearing a Unicorn mask to The Lone Ranger and Dick Turpin, mind you, we were discussing money at the time. Creative use of CGI, or whatever the phrase is, kept us guessing as to which character he would be and where in the world would he end up next; the Northern Lights being my favourite.
Stand up, sit down bingo was a strange affair, it was quite odd viewing the midriffs of the Brethren as they stood patiently waiting for the number to be called, fortunately, most were suitably dressed. I have to confess though that I did accede to wearing a pair of garish shorts whilst another Brother chose to sport a pair of his favourite footie team's designer underwear, discreetly hidden of course!
We were entertained with two hilarious monologues, the first being one we have heard several times "Once upon a time all the dogs in the world held a meeting". Yes, that one which explains why dogs sniff each other's rear. The second "God created the Dog" was equally as hilarious.
Of course, no OEN is complete without a Wandering Minstrel, and 'Howlin Jack' led us through the several verses of 'On Ilkla Moor Baht'at' and that Liverpool Kop Anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I must say the EFF choir gave it their all and more, still a bit shaky on the high notes, but I guess we will get there.
The purpose of OEN is to have fun and to raise funds for charity. We certainly had some fun, and I am incredibly delighted and proud to say the Brethren of the Lodge of Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity 1034 did not falter when it came to fundraising. The total money raised is a fantastic £1295, which includes £600 from my bike ride challenge. My challenge was to ride my fold-up bike for 1.5 hours per day for 7 days, cycling on a bike turbo trainer. I was accompanied in this short challenge by one of my neighbours, a triathlete, triathlete coach and winner, in her age group, of the UK Iron Man competition 2006, so I was in good company.
In recent times OEN has raised between £900 - £1000, so this year's event is all the more remarkable as monies raised came entirely from donations by the Brethren of the Lodge who also sponsored me.
A magnificent sum raised, a great fun evening, thanks to everyone involved which left this very proud Worshipful Master feeling emotional at the end.
Harry Stoyles. Worshipful Master Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity 1034