WBro John Cooper
On the 15 August 2019, almost one year since the sad passing of Worshipful Brother John Cooper and his dear wife Susan whilst on holiday in Egypt, the Brethren of Abbey Lodge (No. 2529) organised the first-ever ‘Cooperman’ Memorial Shoot at the Coniston Cold Shooting Ground in order to continue the marvellous charity fundraising that John, with Susan’s help, achieved in his lifetime.
On a fine but blustery day some 60 shooters took part in an event sponsored by 11 local businesses, many of whom were John’s personal friends, and who had been supporting his efforts for several years prior to his death. Others being recently joined Lodge members in tribute to departed merit. Rumour passed around the event that John and Susan had organised the weather for us – the blustery wind being John’s idea making the clays a little more difficult to hit every time.
Shooters in Action
Out on the car park the Province of East Lancashire’s Publicity Trailer was available for the many non-Masons present to obtain information. The trailer was manned by Burnley & Pendle District Masons. Inside the Shooting Lodge the kitchen staff were kept busy providing bacon sandwiches and other refreshments.
A raffle was held and run by John & Susan’s close relatives which eventually raised the magnificent sum of £540. Images of the Shoot can be found on the Lodge’s photo archive.
Overall (and mainly due to the wonderful sponsorship support received for the event) well over £3,000 was raised. These funds will be dispensed as John and Susan would have wished to charities they had been supporting for a long time. They include Riding for the Disabled, Guide Dogs and North West Air Ambulance to name but three. The latter two charities have received £500 each on an annual basis for some years. A significant donation to the East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC) will be made in due course and possibly at Abbey Lodge’s 125th Anniversary on 26 September 2019 (125 years since the Lodge’s founding to the day!). The sum of £1250 has been suggested.
The management of the Shooting Grounds expressed a wish for us to return in 2020. This was the inaugural ‘Cooperman’ Memorial Shoot and will be continued in John and Susan’s memory into the foreseeable future. The small organising committee are already looking at suitable dates in August 2020.
Cooperman – gone but certainly not forgotten.
More images can be found here https://www.flickr.com/photos/abbey2529/albums/72157710349789057
Report by Eric Bond
© 2019, all text and images contained in this post are the property of the author and photographer respectively.