Provincial Weekend 2016

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It’s 07.30 on Monday morning and we’re just thinking about heading home from Stratford-Upon-Avon having been here since Thursday. That seems like a very long time ago as so much has happened since we arrived.

A fairly leisurely start to getting things set up on the Friday as a collective of over 100 East Anglian Mark Masons, their partners and friends started to arrive at our base camp for the weekend – The Stratford Hotel.

Everybody seemed to arrive in a party frame of mind and we had a great start to the festivities with a wonderful buffet and carvery followed by our exceptional swing singer Gary Grace. He managed to keep the dance floor full right through the evening. He is also coming back for next year’s weekend at Harrogate, bringing his full 8 piece big band with him.

Saturday morning arrived, and with it the rain! This didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit though and everybody came back with tales of a different experience sight-seeing around Stratford. Some did shopping, some did boat trips on the Avon, some did the tour of locations associated with William Shakespeare’s life and most seemed to find the Dirty Duck pub!

Saturday evening and everyone assembled ready for our Gala Ball. The gentleman all in their dinner jackets (with some interesting variations on display). The ladies, as always, had put their heart and soul into looking wonderful and it was a very elegant and good looking group that made our way through to dine. A wonderful meal, the Toast to the PGM ably proposed by W. Bro. Roger Cawston and we then broke out the glow sticks and animal face beer mats and got into party mode. A minor issue in that the band had their volume set to fill Wembley Stadium, but we soon got that attended to and the rest of the evening was filled with dancing and silliness, with the inflatable musical instruments we had brought along playing a key role, particularly the inflatable bongo drums, which seemed especially popular.

All too soon Sunday morning arrived and following breakfast we spent the morning waving everybody off as they headed back home to East Anglia (and one or two to points beyond East Anglia).

A wonderful weekend of fantastic company and enormous fun. It is always a little daunting to organise an event like this, but Kerry and I enjoyed this one from start to finish. Many of those who attended have been kind enough to say they felt the same, so we can’t ask for more than that! The fifty plus bookings we have already received from people wanting to come back and join us in Harrogate next year are also an encouraging sign.

Many thanks to all who came for the weekend, we hope you all had a great time. The booking form for Harrogate is now available from this site, so please get yourselves booked in. Don’t delay, we did have to turn people away this year because we had reached our hotel room capacity. Bookings for Harrogate will be strictly first come first served.