Brookfield Masonic Hall is the meeting venue for the Chorley Group’s Westhoughton Lodges and Chapters. As well as being a Masonic meeting place, Brookfield Hall is, like many of our masonic venues, a thriving business enterprise in its own right. In a joint venture between both the masonic and commercial sides, the hall opened the doors and held an open day event.
The event was linked into the heritage trail events going on in the Town of Westhoughton. Attractions included a bouncy castle, barbecue, beer tent and refreshment stall, all set in the beautiful gardens that can be found in the grounds of Brookfield Hall.
Mark Olly, who is a member of Saint Bartholomew lodge and ‘Crusader’ set up camp with a group of Crusaders from the Macclesfield Rehtoric, Knights of Failsworth and Knights of the House of Sinclair. They brought with them a collection of Anglo Saxon paraphernalia including swords, shields, chain mail and jousting helmets.
Visitors were invited to take a full tour of the masonic areas of the building. Intended to promote an open approach to Freemasonry, the tour took the visitors firstly to the lodge rooms. On a knock they entered a typical, but ‘closed’ lodge room environment. Many of the fixtures and fittings were explained along with a brief history behind our order. Principal and Assistant officers were in place dressed in craft regalia wearing the collar of the office they had taken up. The Director of Ceremonies, Derek Bond and Mike Silver, explained the duties each officer would undertake, at which point the respective officer stood up.
The visitors entered the chapter room, although understandably not set up for a convocation, they were given an explanation and overview of the Royal Arch from Duncan Hopkins and Harry Noblett. The tour led them to the museum to learn about many of the other orders that Freemasons may join, on display was examples of regalia worn in the other orders. Aprons and jewels were on show from the Mark Degree, Royal Order of Scotland and Royal Ark Mariners. Provincial and Grand Lodge regalia was also on display and all was perfectly presented and explained by Stewart Wilson and Henry Causay.
The visitors ended the tour in the committee room which had been set up to present the charitable work undertaken by Freemasons and the benefits brought to organisations within the community of Westhoughton.
On display were giant size cheques representing the donations made by local Masons, many visitors were surprised to learn about the amount of money being raised by Freemasons. They also received a photographic presentation showing how masons raise money and the benefits felt by the recipients.
Derek Robinson and George Tipton explained that we are now in festival mode, pointing to the success of the previous festival and emphasizing that the money raised is distributed to many non-masonic causes as well as care for members of the lodges and chapters in Westhoughton.
Down stairs the rooms were set out to show what a fantastic venue Brookfield Hall can be for weddings, parties or business meetings. Victoria – The manageress and her team on hand to show visitors all the benefits that the hall offers and the wonderful facilities it has to offer. Local businessmen who offer services for that special wedding day had set up displays representing the products they offer in conjunction with Brookfield to make the special day perfect.
Brookfield Ladies had a stall to promote the events they offer; this team work hard promoting events for mason’s families and raising money for local charities.
The event was a success both for the business side of the Hall, with bookings being made for weddings and meetings, it also opened up masonry to the local community and a couple of enquiries to join Freemasonry have emerged. Everyone enjoyed the day including the 22 masons and the staff working at Brookfield who worked to make the open day event happen.
Bryn Hart, Brookfield Hall Chairman thanked all those who volunteered and took part on the day or working in the background to organise the event, Gary Fisher, Vice Chairman, David Hargreaves, Secretary, Jayson Jackson, Assistant Secretary, and Mike Turner Treasurer. Victoria’s team from the Hall, Tom Sweeny, Assistant Manager, Nathan Bridge, Duty Manager and Chef David Hubbard.
Group chairman Peter Lockett who, with his wife Pam, visited the event to draw the raffle said that he was very impressed by the whole event, especially the support the day received. There was a wide range of interesting displays and stands and Pam said that she was particularly taken with the wedding suite.
Story and Photography by Allan Shields.