The Inaugural Annual Dinner of the Presentation Team recently took place at Stanley House, Audenshaw’s Masonic Hall. Hopefully, this will prove to be a continuing feature of the Team’s year and will continue to be held for a long time to come. Everyone present felt that a truly good time was had by all.

The Dinner was held for all of the members of the Presentation Team, present and past, but as is the way of all things a number of people were unable to join us on this occasion.  Nonetheless, the Team were proud to be joined by such Illustrious Companions as EComp William John Porter, PGSwdB, the Deputy Grand Superintendent, together with EComp Alan Bennion, PGSwdB, who is the immediate Past Deputy Grand Superintendent. Our other honoured guests were EComp Norman Clarke and EComp Paul Aspinall, both PGStB and both Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals.

After an introduction which featured canapés and wine, and a group photo (see above) everyone settled down to enjoy a truly sumptuous repast which started with Smoked Fish, progressed to “Potage l’onion francaise”, reached its zenith with hand carved crusted leg of Lamb and then slowly relaxed through a vanilla Panna Cotta, Cheese and Biscuits, Vintage Port, Coffee, Tea, Diabetic Toffee and ended with Andrews Liver Salts. The whole accompanied by a never ending supply of wine or soft drinks for those wastrels who resolutely stayed sober.

There were three toasts which need to be reported, if not at length. The Team’s glorious Leader, EComp John Cavanagh, began by toasting Her Majesty the Queen. Then the Team’s Deputy Leader, EComp Mike Williams, proposed the Toast to the Team’s President, EComp Sir David Trippier and our Vice Presidents. He said, “I have a great affinity for Bill Porter because it isn’t always easy being a Deputy. Sir David would surely have enjoyed himself tonight. He is a most hardworking man as well as being our President. He is supported by five most able Assistants, EComp Norman Clarke who is our local APGP, EComp Paul Aspinall who represents the Northern Territories, and the other three APGPs who we regret are not able to be with us tonight. We must also record our thanks to the other two stalwarts of the Royal Arch in East Lancashire, our Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals EComps David Thompson and the Rev’d Donald K. Pryce who were also unable to join us tonight.

The response to this toast was given by EComp Norman Clarke who claimed that he had only realised that he was responding when he saw his name on the Toast List, and noted the comment that “he had better be funny or quick”. He said, “It is a privilege to respond to this toast. Unfortunately, the Grand Superintendent has not yet had the pleasure of seeing one of our presentations, but I know that he is already looking forward to seeing us perform at Iron Road Lodge later in the year. The Presentation Team does a magnificent job, not just within our area but in other Provinces as well.”

EComp William Porter the Deputy Grand Superintendent together with EComp John Cavanagh, the leader of the team.

The Toast to the Presentation Team was given by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, William Porter, who said, “You began in 1992, so you are now 21 years old. The idea came from J. Graham Brown who first came up with the idea of a Lecture Team. This developed from his initial idea through the work of a dedicated group of individuals who worked hard to get things off the ground. In the early days we practiced in the Memorial Hall at Bridge Street. The first time that we ventured out was to visit Bottoms Masonic Hall on the road out of Todmorden, going into West Yorkshire – an ancient place full of lovely people.”

“Some three or four years ago we decided that things needed revitalising and we had a meeting with John, Denny and Andrew. That set things up to work pretty much the way that it does today. I have received many messages from the places that you have visited. What you do is for entertainment, but it is also a great source of pride. Many congratulations for what you have done, and what you continue to do. You make us all very proud of your achievements.”

John waxed lyrical about the qualities of his favourite whisky

Finally, EComp John Cavanagh, the leader of the team, said in responding to EComp Porter’s toast, “Some time ago I was asked to take over the leadership of the team and at first I didn’t want to do it, because I didn’t have the clout. At first it was suggested that we have one APGP to work with us, but on reflection it was decided to have all of them. I worked with EComp Alan Bennion in the past to organise a Joint Convocation. He later told me that he had seen other Joint Convocations but said, ‘they weren’t as good as you do with your fellows’. Those Joint Convocations were the root from which “Crafty Companions” and “The Rise and Fall of the Twelve Tribes” have sprung. I am immensely grateful to all of you for the effort that you put into the team. You make it something that we can all take pride in being a part of. To quote the bard, “We few: We happy few: We Band of Brothers.”

It was a wonderful evening and one that everyone who took part will remember. There is no doubt that we will repeat the experience next year, and it is hoped that those who were unable to join the Team this year will have better luck next time.

You can find an online gallery of all the photographs taken on the night, at full size, by following this web link

Here you will be able to look at all the photographs and download any that you might wish to keep.