The History and Mission Statements of West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Society

The History of the West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Society dates back to 1984 when Rt W Bro Rev William E A Pugh the PGM for Cumberland & Westmorland challenged Rt W Bro Alan Fletcher Ferris to a Clay Shooting Competition. W Bro Tom Blackburn who was at the time the Provincial DC was tasked with ‘Go and bring this trophy to West Lancashire’

The trophy in question is the Watson Eden Trophy W Bro Bill Watson was a member of Ennerdale Lodge and Chairman of the Cumbria South West Group. His good friend W Bro Eden owned a Gun Shop and they provided the trophy which is still the coveted prize today

Tom Blackburn formed a team to shoot on behalf of West Lancashire at Cockermouth on 21st October 1984. They brought the trophy home.  The Second Shoot was held on the 13th October 1985 at Caton Nr Lancaster when East Lancashire joined in and unfortunately they won the trophy

The West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Society was inaugurated on 25th June 1986 under the Chairmanship of W. Bro. Frank Cowburn, Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

17 members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Lancashire met, by invitation of Tom Blackburn, for an informal shoot on land adjacent to the home of Peter Wilson at Lathom Park Ormskirk, after which the shooters retired to Briars hall for refreshment.

Tom Blackburn introduced Frank Cowburn as the APrGM and invited him to Chair the meeting.

This meeting set out and agreed the objectives of the Association as being

  1. to bring together Brothers throughout the Province who shoot either game or clays,
  2. to enjoy their chosen sport with other brethren
  3. to raise funds for charity,
  4. to promote inter Provincial Masonic friendship by virtue of the annual shoot for the Watson Eden Trophy.

The Society name was agreed and elections on the evening placed: –

  • Frank Cowburn – Chairman
  • Tom Blackburn- Vice Chairman
  • Robert (Bob) Skelly –Secretary
  • Robert Harding – Treasurer

A register of members was formed and agreement reached to contact each group to appoint Group Representatives

Alternative venues for a Provincial shoot in 1987, that included the Dolphin at Longton and a venue at Leighton Moss at Silverdale, were discussed. Peter Wilson suggested an early date to enable sponsorship forms to be circulated

Steve Anderton agreed to pursue the issue of insurance.

The Chairman concluded the meeting by awarding prizes to the highest scores of the evening’s shoot to R Millwood – Over/Under

Tom Blackburn and Peter Wilson who had tied their scores for the Side by Side category

The third Inter Provincial shoot, hosted by East Lancashire was held at Waddington on the 5th Oct 1986.

Accordingly two or three practice shoots were to be arranged for West Lancashire Shooters.

The first Annual General Meeting of the Society was held on 29th October 1987 at Leyland

Since then the Society has been restructured and now has the following aims

  • To promote friendship and fellowship amongst members
  • To arrange competitions between members and other Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Societies.
  • To arrange and hold social and fund raising activities.
  • To actively encourage newcomers to the sport and provide an introduction to shooting in a convivial and safe environment.
  • To maintain our support of Masonic and non-Masonic charities.

The Society moved into a new era by organising the first ever National Masonic Competition at Hoghton Towers, Hoghton, near Preston.

Eleven Provinces were represented and West Lancashire shooters made sure that the trophy did not leave our province.

The Competition is now being held for the 11th time with other provinces running it.

West Lancashire have organised the event on four occasions and won the competition twice.

The team to compete this year is the biggest we have taken away and with the new shooters available to us we hope to win it for a third time.

The Society will apply to host the Competition in 2019 to coincide with the next West Lancashire Festival on behalf of the Freemasons Grand Charity

Whilst on the subject of charity over the last 28 years the Society has donated more than £112,000 to Masonic and Non Masonic children’s charities a record that we are very proud of.

Whilst this is a brief history of Clay Pigeon shooting in West Lancashire I have an article from ‘The Masonic Herald’ dated January 1972 Volume 4 No 2.

This gives details of a shoot held in aid of the ‘West Lancs Mark Benevolent Fund 1972 Festival’.

The First Chairman of our Society, W Bro Frank Cowburn, was the Secretary/Treasurer

The Shoot held at Little Mill Shooting Ground, owned by Clarrie Wilson, was won by Colin Sefton who, as well as shooting ISU Skeet for Great Britain, shot in the early Competitions for West Lancashire.

I have been a qualified coach since 1968 and it was Clarrie Wilson who taught me

Details of a shoot held in aid of the ‘West Lancs Mark Benevolent Fund 1972 Festival’.


Article by Mike Casey with thanks to W Bro Robbie McBride (Deceased)

who had already done some of the research