Members of the South Eastern Group, along with their wives, partners, families and friends, enjoyed an excellent pre-Christmas weekend away in the historic, attractive city of York. They took residence at the very comfortable and hospitable Wheatlands Lodge Hotel very close to one of the walled city’s gateway entrances into the city.
This regular annual Christmastime event, organised now for its 16th year by the ever-capable Peter Beswick (South Eastern Group Secretary), never ceases to be anything but successful, is now very much part of the group’s annual Masonic calendar and timed for the beginning of December. This year of course proved no exception as Peter’s efforts were well supported, not only by members and their respective partners but non-Masonic friends and partners too.
This years’ bookings took in an excess of 60 guests and those who braved the winterised North Yorkshire highways and by-ways all experienced reasonable weather conditions and an excellent weekend away resulting in monies to a value of £265 being raised on the raffle of which, according to Mike Adams, (group chairman) will go towards a South Eastern Group donation to the Province of West Lancashire MCF 2021 Festival.
The ladies of course enjoyed their weekend of relaxed Christmas shopping, ably assisted by their gentlemen similarly taking in the pre-Christmas buzz, sipping mulled wines or the odd few beers, and wearing down copious amounts of shoe leather throughout the city of York, decked with its ‘must see’ tiny streets, alleyways and Christmas markets.
After many a navigated mile having been walked around the fair city, back at the hotel there was a well deserved and well prepared Saturday evening dinner with wines, and more beers, and later, amid the very lively, jovial atmosphere, Peter again presented his very famous ‘Annual group quiz’, of which the lucky team winners became recipients of a, (in Peter’s words), simply amazing team prize of ‘a large tin of well known quality chocolates’, which of course were all dutifully shared out amongst the chocoholics.
A relaxing Sunday morning breakfast ensued for the guests. After the vibrant, friendly breakfast, the tables were again decked for Sunday lunch where, prior to their return back over the Pennine hills, people communicated their thanks to Peter and his family for their organisation of the weekend.
Due to the continued ongoing success of this event, and already by a popular demand, Peter has similarly reserved the hotel for a return visit in December 2017 to which anyone wishing to come along would of course be very 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 was founded by the Romans under the name of Eboracum in 71 AD. It became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and later of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. York is situated on the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster the most prominent, and a variety of cultural activities.
During the middle ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained to this day where clearly, the York Minster is a dominant feature of the city’s skyline. In the 19th century, York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre. In the recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway related industries to one that provides services and of course on the whole, a busy tourist attraction.