The Annual Broken Column Lunch for the Manchester Masons Widows was held on Sunday, the 21st of April 2024, at Helmsley House, Salford.

This event is the way Freemasons use to remember the widows of departed brethren .This tradition started in America during the Civil War for the ladies of Masons who were at war, and never returned home. From that moment onwards, the ladies started to wear the “Broken Column Brooch”, a tradition which arrived in England many decades ago.

On arrival the guest were welcomed by the Area team, assisted by their wife’s: Glenda Beaman, Sherril Armstrong and Ann Wallace, who provided invaluable assistance during the day making sure all the widows were having a lovely time.

Seventy-one people attended, including widows with their companions.

The two Assistant Provincial Grand Master from City East W Bro Paul O’ Carroll and City West W Bro Peter Hegarty, assisted by the two District Chairman from City East W Bro Ed Beaman and City West W Bro Chris Armstrong, welcomed the guests.

The toast to the Ladies was given by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Paul O’Carroll from the City East Area “We have the privileges to raise our glasses to such amazing women without whom, we would not be here today”.

Fiona Frankl, the wife of the Provincial Grand Master Right Worshipful Brother Robert Frankl, concluded the event with a very warm response to Paul’s toast.

The ladies enjoyed an excellent roast chicken or salmon wellington lunch meal followed by a raspberry creme Brulé.

The entertainment was provided by the D Day Darlings, who delivered an unforgettable performance demonstrating the range of their musical repertoire, singing songs from the second world war.

Such a joyful day would not have been possible without the work of everyone behind the scenes. A special mention to the two Deputy Chairman from City East, W Bro Steve Wallace and W Bro Fraser Mullins, whose efforts ensured that every single person attended, had enjoyed the day.

With the day coming to an end, the two District Chairmen gave every lady a small box of chocolates, whilst the widows of recently departed brethren received a Broken Column Brooch to make them feel part of the Masonic Family.

While it is sad that the ladies have lost their husbands, the Broken Column provides much-needed support and friendship during some of their difficult moments.

The afternoon proceedings ended, and the ladies departed eagerly, looking forward to next year’s event.

Story/Images Bro Francesco Toto