​W.Bro. Brian Ward of the Amherst Mark lodge N0. 266 and his wife Toni were delighted to organise and welcome more than 150 guests to their home in Folkestone on August 26th to host a fund-raising BBQ in support of the 2020 Festival.

The weather could only be described a wet and windy which was in sharp contrast to the day before and indeed the day after. Timing is everything, especially when planning a BBQ. However, those attending were kept dry and sheltered from the wind and rain by what can only be described as a tented village of marquees erected the day before in anticipation of the nasty weather.

The band, ‘Where’s Brian’, who supported the charity event by playing for free opened their first set with “Thunder only happens when it’s raining” made famous by Fleetwood Mac and followed it up with Mr Blue Sky made famous by ELO. Who said musicians don’t have a sense of humour.

W. Bro. Bob Preston ably assisted by Dan Davey slaved over hot BBQ’s to cook 330 sausages, 165 burgers and 165 chicken drumsticks to compliment the monstrous amount of mouth-watering food prepared by Toni. This food was washed down with copious quantities of wine, beer and soft drinks (someone has to drive!) all included in the cost of the £10 ticket to leave the revellers susceptible to buying raffle tickets so expertly sold by Barrie Routledge and Steve Brice. In addition to the raffle, Trish Leibrick and Julie Beavers competed with each other to see who could raise the most money by cajoling absolutely everyone to part with money to guess the amount of money in Brian Wards Piggy Bank or playing the “higher/lower” card game. No one escaped from their powers of persuasion to take part and very soon pockets were devoid of money. In the end, and in the interest of peace and harmony a draw was declared over the amount raised by Trish and Julie.

The amount raised from the culmination of the raffle, ticket sales, sponsorship and other quizzes amounted to £2,650. A marvellous achievement which warrants a big thank you to all the sponsors of the event. These included, Folkestone Taxis, Stretton & Lang Builders Ltd, Well Secured, Jooles Meyer Catering, Iain Radford Electrical Contractors and Lighting, Eric Cook Fabrications, Keith Taite Tree Surgeon,Folkestone Sports Centre, Snip-Pets Dog Groomers and ARM Window Cleaning Services.

As the afternoon neared its end W. Bro Bob Preston took a moment to thank everyone for attending and supporting the event including a big thank you to the band ‘Where’s Brian’ for helping to make the Amherst Mark BBQ’s such a success. He then gave a very special thank you to Toni Ward for the glorious selection of food she had prepared and to all the helpers behind the scenes who had given up their time to come along and assist in the kitchen. This received a thunderous round of applause. Before presenting a cheque to VW. Bro. Fred Brown he asked everyone to join him in singing happy birthday to Toni who is reported to be celebrating her 21st birthday again. Fred replied and said that it was a pleasure for him to attend the event with his family and was truly amazed at the amount of money raised from the BBQ and he of course would be delighted to receive a cheque on behalf of the Province in favour of the 2020 Festival. He then took a moment to talk about some of the worthy causes that the MBF supports particularly mentioning St John Ambulance and Blood Bikes. Finally, he thanked W. Bro. Brian Ward and his wife Toni for organising such a successful event and asked Toni to receive a bunch of flowers on behalf of the Province in recognition of all of her hard work.

In conclusion and despite the dreadful weather it was agreed that a splendid time was had by all those who attended the event. The amount of money raised far exceeded the expectations and made all of the hard work organising the event worthwhile. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event such a success.