Freemasons from Burnley and Padiham and their partners were among 550 Masons who celebrated raising more than £2.5m for charity with a banquet at the Macron Stadium, Bolton.
Hosted by East Lancashire Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier and his barrister wife, Lady Ruth Trippier, the banquet, in the Premier Suite of the Whites Hotel, marked the culmination of a five-year Festival for the 4,500 Masons in the Province, which covers Burnley to Manchester and Blackburn to Rochdale.
The diners greeted the final total of £2,628,436 with fireworks and a fanfare by the Lancashire Fusiliers.
Freemasons have donated £130million to local charities over the past 10 years and always donate at least £25,000 to the British Red Cross whenever there is an emergency anywhere in the world, such as the latest tragedy in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Red Cross, in turn, provides food, blankets, clothes and shelter to those afflicted.
Recent donations have included £70,000 towards renovation of the choir stalls at Manchester Cathedral; £50,000 for Cheetham’s School of Music to provide bursaries to help deprived children in East Lancashire to pursue a musical career. There was a grant of £500,000 to give children in deprived areas the chance to enjoy leisure pursuits with the Scouting Association.
Peter Lowndes, Pro. Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, proposed a toast to Sir David.
The former Rossendale MP and Cabinet Minister thanked him and welcomed the Mayor of Bolton, Coun. Carole Swarbrick, as one of the distinguished guests.
He thanked the many people who had worked hard to raise the money and praised the ladies for their immense support during that time. “The success we have secured is a testimony to the finest principles of Masonry,” he told the audience.