Members of the South Eastern Group, along with their wives, partners, families and friends, enjoyed what is now a traditional weekend away in the historic city of York, residing once again in the very comfortable Wheatlands Lodge Hotel very close to one of the walled city’s gateway entrances.
This is an annual event, organised by the remarkable Peter Beswick, and never ceases to be anything but successful. It is now very much part of the group’s Masonic annual calendar and timed for the beginning of December.
The year on year increasing number of bookings acquires a high percentage of the whole of the hotel complex but those who braved the North Yorkshire highways and by-ways all experienced reasonable weather conditions and an excellent weekend away resulting in monies being raised towards various good causes.
This year the amazing sum of £1,208 was raised over the course of the weekend from the usual raffle, auction and small profit on ticket sales which will be divided equally between the Urmston Masonic Hall Fund, the Heaton Moor Masonic Club for the upkeep of the room in the Grange Club and the Forget-me-not Trust.
All enjoyed their weekend of relaxed Christmas shopping, taking in the pre-Christmas buzz, sipping mulled wines or the odd few beers, and wearing down shoe leather throughout the city of York and its ‘must see’ tiny streets, alley ways, historical attractions and Christmas markets.
After many a mile being walked, there was a well-deserved Saturday evening dinner with wines and later, amongst the very lively, jovial atmosphere, Peter again presented his very famous ‘Annual Group Quiz’. The numbers involved this year made the conducting of which considerably difficult as, by necessity the party was split between two rooms. However, Peter overcame the difficulty in his usual style and the exercise was its usual triumph with the lucky team winners becoming recipients of a team prize of a box of Celebrations, which of course were all dutifully shared out as far as they would go.
Due to the continued ongoing success of this event, Peter has similarly reserved the hotel for a return visit in December 2019, which will be the 20th successive year; anyone wishing to come along will of course be warmly welcomed.
On a cultural note, the city of York has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city, situated on the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent and the Jorvik Centre certainly one of the smelliest (though deeply interesting for all that).
The city was founded by the Romans but has recently achieved renown as a centre of chocolate production with both Terry’s and Rowntree’s setting up businesses in the 18th and 19th centuries together with the railway industry, all of which are admirably highlighted by various chocolate museums and the National Railway Museum.
Also, even more recently due to the Shambles featuring in certain Harry Potter films, the number of stores selling broomsticks, wands and ‘magic’ potions is now quite bewildering.
All this ensures that there is plenty to see and do and the Wheatlands Lodge Hotel is a very convivial setting for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.