The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire
The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire

Volunteering at the Blackburn Eagles FC Tournament

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Blackburn Eagles FC were formed in 1991 when Bernard Heckingbottom could not find a team for this son to play for.  Now the club is one of the biggest in Lancashire, with 200 players and an FA Charter Standard.

At a meeting of the East Ribble District Lodge Membership Officers, WBro Terry Charnock suggested that we explore the possibility of supporting Blackburn Eagles FC with volunteering work. This quickly developed into a possible grant and sponsorship of an event.

At the start of the summer the East Ribble District Deputy Chairman, WBro Russell Harwood met with the club chairman, Chris Whalley the to see if there was any way in which East Ribble District Freemasons could assist. It very quickly became apparent that the District could support an upcoming tournament for clubs across the northwest and as far afield as Durham.   A couple of phone calls later and the East Ribble District Charity Steward, supported the Club’s application for an ELMC Grant to provide funding towards the event and the winners and runner ups trophies and medals.  The grant application to the ELMC was successful and the trophies and medals were purchased.  The lanyards for the medals were printed with “Blackburn Eagles FC supported by East Lancashire Freemasons, www.pglel.co.uk.

A group of volunteers were organised, and the Provincial Trailer was ready to be delivered as a registration station for the teams.  Then days before the tournament was due to take place it became a victim of the English summer weather and the event was cancelled due to days of rain.

A new date was selected, and early on the 1st September WBro Gordon Cornthwaite saw his first 7 o’clock in the morning in a long time as he skilfully backed the Provincial Trailer into position.  Shortly after a small army of East Ribble Volunteers began to assemble and awaited further instructions.

After a short discussion with Blackburn Eagles FC Vice Chairman Chris Hughes the volunteers set off to marshal the two car parks, directing cars to their parking spaces and collecting parking fees.  After the initial rush the volunteering team had a chance to relax and enjoy bacon butties and coffees.  In the afternoon the second part of the tournament commenced and the marshals skills and experience was really put to the test as cars were arriving and departing down single track roads at the same time!  This was accompanied by the only torrential downpour of the day which led to a transit becoming stuck.  But with a bit of East Ribble District teamwork, the Chairman, his Deputy and the Charity Steward soon got him on his way.

The weather then improved and the day ended with a spot of litter picking, before the trophies and medals were presented to all of the teams on the steps of the Provincial Trailer, two of the teams were even lucky enough to have their trophy and medals presented by WBro Russell Harwood.

Finally, the volunteers were thanked for their help and went on their way, knowing that another volunteering job had gone well.

Article and Images: East Ribble District Team
Permission granted for use of the images.