On Sunday 27th October, Allan Stokoe led a team of 20 dedicated Freemasons, their wives and Non-Masonic friends on a clay pigeon shoot at the ‘Locomotion One Clay Target Club’, Heighington, in order to raise money for charity. This shoot, being a private event, was targeted at people wanting to try clay pigeon shooting, that were neither holders of a shotgun licence or a legal owner of a shotgun.
On arrival at the shooting ground all were required to signed an attendance register, before being introduced to a safety officer, who delivered an important safety briefing. Those in attendance were then split into 4 groups and introduced to qualified instructor, that would stay with them for the whole of the shoot, giving instructions and tuition as necessary. Having ensured that all had safety glasses and ear protection, fifty cartridges were issued to each person. The instructor, in possession of a modern over and under shotgun, then took his group over to a shooting stand, then one by one, and then only when safely in a stand, he handed over the gun and gave instructions on how to mount, aim and shoot at the targets.
Once the instructor was happy that the person holding the gun and the other members of the group were safe, the gun was loaded, the person under instruction mounted the gun, the clay pigeon was released and it was game on. The sun was out, there was a slight breeze and the whole shoot took some 90 minutes to complete. Although this was the first time some had either held or fired a shotgun, the first class instruction they were given, most managed to hit between 30% and 40% of the targets; which is good.
On completion of firing, and after the scores had been totalled, it was Mount Grace Preceptory No.118 that won by ‘ONE’ clay, just ahead of Anchor Preceptory No 403.
As this shoot was organised by Allan Stokoe, he presented Knight Andrew Maddison with a cheque for £100 for him to donate to the alms fund in Mount Grace Preceptory. Allan Stokoe then presented Andrew Maddison with another cheque for £100 for him to make a donation to a charity of his choice – that charity he chose was ‘Help for Heroes’. As this shoot was won by a Masonic unit, Knight Maddison suggested that the donation would be more meaningful if it was made in the name of ‘Freemasonry in the Community’.
Such a suggestion meant that Mount Grace Preceptory would receive the winning donation of £100 for their alms fund with a further £100 being offered with a condition precedent attached, that being they would make a £100 donation to ‘Help for Heroes’.
After consultation with the senior past preceptors of Mount Grace, their treasurer and auditor it was agreed to make the donation as suggested.
On Friday 1st November Allan Stokoe, using the following form of words, as suggested by the Provincial Prior of Durham presented the cheque for £100 to a senior representative of ‘Help for Heroes’ at Phoenix House, Catterick Garrison.
On behalf of the members of Mount Grace Preceptory of Knights Templar and the Provincial Priory of Durham, we are proud to support ‘Help for Heroes’ with the cheque you have received today. Many if our members are ex-servicemen and hold the welfare of our Armed Forces close to their heart. We are families with the good work you do at a Phoenix House and know that our donation will be put to use in improving the lives of those who have served to protect ours. Congratulations on the work you do and thank you most sincerely from us all.
So far Allan Stokoe, with assistance from Tony Bird, has organised 3 clay pigeon shoots which have attracted over 80 people to partake and has raised over £800 and that has gone into either into Masonic lodge funds or to worthy charities.
These shoots have been enjoyed by all that have taken part and Allan Stokoe believes that people who work and play together will stay together and that these types of activities are not only good team building exercises, they are fertile recruiting grounds for candidates wanting to join Freemasonry .
The evidence for such a statements is based on the following:
Each of the 3 shoots have attracted between 20 and 30 people
Around 18 of those attending have attended all 3 shoots
A number of those attending have brought their partners and children along to shoot
Freemasons from Gateshead, Northallerton, Bedale, Hull and Wakefield have travelled to take part
Of the non-Masonic people that have attended 8 have expressed a strong interest in joining the craft
A request has been made by a lodge in West Yorkshire to organise a shoot for them and their lodges
In conclusion these shoots are not restricted to Freemasons, wives and children over the age of 10 at welcome; participants do not need a shotgun nor a licence, the only restriction is that the participants do not have any criminal convictions.
If you would like to take part in the next shoot and want to know about the next shoot contact firstname.lastname@example.org