The annual Group Chairman’s Ball took place at Widnes Masonic Hall with 67 guests in attendance. Chairman of the Widnes Group of Freemasons Derek Williams welcomed the guests to the second Gala Ball and asked: “Why are they held?” Quite simply as Freemasons we want to help local charities. Early last year his group officials and their wives got together with him and his wife Janet, to discuss putting on a bit of a ‘do’ to raise some money for charity.
The event was so successful that it was decided to hold the Ball on an annual basis in support of a local charity. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Janet and Derek were unable to attend the first Ball as he was in the hands of the NHS after emergency surgery!
His recovery from the surgery brought him into contact with many parts of the NHS both in Warrington and Halton Hospitals. As a consequence of the aftercare and treatment he received in Halton, he became acutely aware of the charity CANtreat which is involved in projects across the North West and is currently in partnership with four hospital trusts in order to improve their chemotherapy service. Their flagship project is in Halton Hospital’s Delamere Suite. Because of his experience with the charity he nominated them to be the recipients of the proceeds of this year’s Ball.
Derek gave thanks to several people for making the evening possible. Firstly to his vice chairman and group secretary and their wives, Neil and Liz and John and Yvonne – a big thank you! He knew the time and effort they had put in to getting it right. To Bob Williams, the director of ceremonies and not forgetting the bar and catering staff.
Derek then called upon his good friend Chris Eyres, the Operations Manager of CANtreat, to give an overview of their work. Chris went on to say that his best friend’s 20 year old son, who was suffering from cancer and was being treated at several hospitals, was dismayed by the lack of facilities in the reception areas. He mentioned this to his father and asked if he could help by asking his many contacts if they could help improve these areas for the patients. After several fund raising events, which raised over £100,000, work began to improve the facilities for the patients. Hence the formation of the charity CANtreat.
After the addresses from Derek and Chris the guest were served a menu of cream of vegetable soup, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, roast and boiled potatoes with seasonal vegetables. This was followed by a selection of desserts.
The entertainment for the evening featured the vocal harmony duo The Sensations, whose repertoire consisted of many well-known hits from the past and present. During the interval the group officials made a special presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Derek’s wife Janet. The guests were asked to participate in a game of heads and tales, in which the last one standing took the prize and roll a pound for a bottle of whisky, nearest the bottle won.
The raffle was then drawn for which each guest was given a funny face mask which was to be worn when collecting their raffle prize as without it they would be disqualified from taking part. The first prize of £75 was won by Mrs Elaine Smith who kindly donated it to the charity.
Derek announced that the final total from the raffle, games and donations raised the magnificent sum of £1,300. He thanked everyone for their generosity.
Bob then handed the floor back to The Sensations and the dancing continued until late. The event was very successful with the guests saying it was a most enjoyable evening.