Hoghton Towers Nr Preston
The idea of holding a National Masonic Championships was first mentioned in 2000 and the event was planned for 2001 using the stately home Hoghton Towers Nr Preston. It was here that Henry viii knighted a side of beef and thus was born sirloin. In addition to the shoot the PGM RtWBro Colin Penty Wright was to host a buffet lunch for dignitaries from this and other provinces. It was determined that this lunch should be self-funding and would not be supported by income from the shoot.
There was then a huge problem. Britain suffered an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the committee felt in inappropriate bring people from all over the country for a shoot. Inevitable it was cancelled and rearranged for 2002.This first Shoot was a huge success with 11 Provinces represented, although not all had full teams, and over 100 guns taking part.With success under our belts we agreed to run the event in 2004 again using Hoghton Towers and including a guest lunch. This was also a success by way of entries and provinces represented however the weather was not kind. Pouring rain made the event miserable and the score cards difficult to read.
Not to be deterred we battled on and hosted the competition again in 2006 at Leighton Hall Carnforth the home of the famous Gillows furniture family.
Leighton Hall Carnforth
Entries and dignitaries came from far and near and we again experienced a torrential downpour.Traps were dislodged, tents blown away and the score cards unreadable. However we got there in the end and all went away wet but happy; apart from 1 person who complained that he had taken 3 and a half hours to shoot 100 targets. Under the circumstances it was a miracle that he finished that quickly.
We got a rest when the Province of Surrey agreed to host the 4th Championships at Bisley in 2007. Those who travelled from West Lancashire were disappointed when the Province of Cornwall won the event. It was a long way to go and to come back when you contend with a 3 hour traffic holdup.There was nothing else for it we had to run the competition in order to redeem ourselves and win back the cup.So in 2008 we again hosted the competition. But we learned from our mistakes. Firstly we held it at an existing shooting ground, no traps to move or clays to buy, and secondly we used waterproof score cards which were not necessary as we only had one light shower. Our plan did not work as Sussex took the honours. However a good time was had by all and we presented £10,000 to 2010 Festival in aid of the Samaritan Fund, £1000 BASC, £1000 Brian House, & £1000 to Zoe’s Place;Since then the competition has been held annually all over the country. We have travelled to Plymouth and Canterbury to High Wycome and Gloucester all to help support and promote a Competition started by West Lancashire – a competition of which we are very proud
Full list of the National Masonic Championship Venues & Winners
t is a ‘Big Hit’
On a warm summer July Saturday morning, Andy McClements, Vice Chairman of West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Society sets up the clay traps over Curwen Hill in preparation for the annual Summer Charity Shoot. The Summer Shoot always proving popular with opportunities for guns to have a go at a simulated flush and perhaps get their eye in on a few pre-season driven clays. This year’s shoot would be no different, drawing many masons and non-masons from all over the county.
As the temperature started to rise, guns began to register at the desk of June and Mike Casey; with teams slowly forming for the flush. An outstanding raffle was on offer, with two large summer hampers made by Samantha Dickerson and kindly presented to the society as top prizes by Lodge of Triumph’s recent new member Dave Dickerson and Sam. Along with other prizes such as champagne, whisky and a large range of wine and sweets, guests eagerly purchased tickets ready for the draw.
With the practice stands manned by WLMCPSS shooting coaches, novices tried their eye in on a ‘going away’ and an ‘incoming clay’. The practice stands were really busy with lots of guests wanting to give shooting a go. Ben Nicholas, who recently joined The Lodge of Triumph No.1061 through the Membership Pathway, thoroughly enjoyed his coaching, stating “It was great to get out with other likeminded people and have a go. I’ve shot a little before but I’d like to become more involved with the society and its shoots”.
It was also great for the organisers to see many non-masons attending, with a few familiar faces who have supported a number of the society’s other shooting events. Non-mason Dale Millard, who has supported many of the West Lancs novice days said “We always come to support the society when we can, helping raise some good money towards charity. The guys are all so welcoming and the shooting coaches really help us to enjoy our day”.
The Flush always raises a little bit of ‘healthy’ competition, especially between some of the local shoots. With 5 teams entering, each shooting two flushes, there was plenty of drives for spectators to watch. With a break in between, this gave chance for teams to try some of the outstanding refreshments on offer whilst watching other squads shoot their flushes. The food kindly donated by a Lancashire chef consisted of locally shot game pies, black pudding wellington and a range of delicious cakes and pastries. Not only can he cook, but he was a great shot too! Scores were very tight but Team 3 made up of Richard Dennison, Jason Coxhead, Ben Nicholas and Phillip Alston were the winners.
On the raffle draw, top prize of the ‘Summer Picnic Hamper’ was won by Arkholme Gun, Andy Finch and second prize of ‘Flemish Summer Hamper’ was won by Society Treasurer, Bob Smith. After a great day shooting, with splendid food and company, the society has managed to raise an amazing £1100.
Co-organiser and Committee Member David Jenkinson, added “We are all really proud of what Andy, the society and everyone involved have managed to raise today; it’s an outstanding amount. It’s also great to see masons and non-masons coming together for the love of the sport and raising money together. Events like these are useful opportunities for people to see the community-focused work masons are involved with and potentially attract those new lodge members”.
Article written by David Jenkinson