Vibrant Llandudno, the Victorian seaside gem with a history that goes back to the Bronze Age and it feels like the brethren of Goodwill Lodge No 3896 and their ladies, family and friends have been enjoying their annual three-night visit for nearly as long!
Organisers, Barry Horabin and his wife Yvonne, have been organising this annual pilgrimage to the Merrion Hotel situated on the promenade and with easy access to the pier, shops and attractions from day one and its testimony to them that each year the allocation of rooms is quickly snapped up.
In recent years the opening of Penderyn Distillery in the town centre and its offering of award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits has given some of the brethren an excuse as to why they need to visit Llandudno and its not to join in on the customary shopping afternoon with their partners!
Normally coinciding with the nearest weekend to Valentine’s Day, the weekend starts with check-in on the Friday afternoon and a relaxed meeting for old friends and new acquaintances before the guests settle down to a sumptuous three course dinner complete with wine and entertainment.
After a hearty Welsh breakfast, the opportunities are endless, some of the brethren take a stroll along the 19th-century pier, others head for a trip up the Great Orme, though these days most opt to do it by tram! Whilst most of the ladies hit the shops looking for that little exclusive number in preparation for the lodges Ladies Evening later in February.
Returning to the hotel Saturday evening offers another gourmet meal with wine before the brethren and their ladies are entertained by the hotel’s resident singer till late. During the evening the hotel gave the lodge permission to hold a charity raffle and this with donations on the night raised £450 for worthy causes
The pictures that were taken and circulated over breakfast on Sunday morning along with various types of paracetamol certainly endorse the fact that everybody had a great evening! Straight after breakfast the brethren and their ladies had the opportunity to watch the Nick Beer 10k Road Race 2023, which was starting on the iconic Victorian Promenade immediately outside the hotel entrance. This event is normally the start to the running season with a route that takes 100s of runners around the awe-inspiring Great Orme with its stunning view to Snowdonia, Anglesey and beyond.
With balmy weather and the huge number of runners and spectators, it was a real pleasure to witness the fitness and competitiveness of all taking part though it did leave a lot to be desired for those brethren who had overindulged over the last few days and nights.
Sunday evening after dinner was a more relaxed affair with a guest Welsh singer offering the audience the opportunity to pick random songs for him to sing and this led to a wide cross-section of genre though as we were in Wales, he did refrain from singing Deliah but this could have been because the Welsh rugby team had been performing so badly in the Six Nations!
Monday morning and the inevitable time to say goodbye, reflect on the laughs and the expanded waistline and then confirm intentions to attend next year, and why not?