Seventy-seven members of Country Link groups from England and Scotland gathered at The Holiday Inn at South Normanton during the Friday afternoon.
In a change from the usual practice, following the plentiful buffet that evening, members chatted and took part in fund raising activities for Parkinson's UK, including Heads and Tails with additional questions asked by Nigel, and a raffle. The fancy dress competition was judged for which the theme was 'Red, White and Blue'. June from Cheshire and Rodney from Oxfordshire won the individual prizes, and Tony and Karen from the Essex and Suffolk group won the team prize.
After a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning members left for the various trips: to Southwell Workhouse and Minster, both in the Southwell vicinity. Boundary Farm and steam engines were the alternative visit. The visit to the Workhouse was an interesting and sobering experience. We then went to Southwell Minster, where there were a number of stalls selling foods, drinks and gifts as it was the Bramley Apple Festival. Some of us walked to see the original Bramley Apple tree which is over two hundred years old.
For those on the farm visit the owner, Nick Gray, took us on a somewhat damp walk across his land and talked to us about the history of the farm and how long it had been in his family. He regaled us with some humorous tales of his great-uncle Henry as well! Nick and his wife Anne provided hot roast pork cobs, tea, coffee, and cake for an excellent lunch before we moved on to Mick Hammond's to see his collection of steam engines and vintage tractors. Maria had great fun blowing the whistle on one of the steam engines! It was an interesting drive to Mick's as we had to cross two or three fields in the coach. Well done to our amazing driver for achieving that with a full load of 48 passengers across the muddy ground.
On returning to the hotel, some members took advantage of the leisure facilities there. Later that evening, dressed in our finery, we enjoyed a three-course meal followed by a disco which got everyone on the dance floor. We also celebrated John C's birthday.
On Sunday morning members left on a variety of trips: Papplewick Pumping Station, Mansfield Fire Station Museum, and Hardwick Hall. Papplewick Pumping Station is an amazing feat of Victorian engineering both underground and above ground.
Members returned to the hotel for the Member's Meeting, which is a chance for members to find out about Country Link and to air their views about various things. We also discussed future weekends, and thank you to those groups who are looking at planning a weekend - it is much appreciated by all members. On Sunday evening we enjoyed a buffet supper along with more fun and games.
Monday morning saw members saying goodbye and making their way home.
Thank you to all of those who helped during the weekend, and looking forward to meeting again in Spring 2023 in East Anglia.
Over ninety Country Link members arrived at the Palace Hotel, Buxton, on the afternoon of Friday 29th April. Members came from Essex in the east, Cornwall in the south and Scotland in the north, and they were welcomed by Maria, Phil and David who gave them a bottle of Buxton Water and a piece of homemade cake.
The hotel is Victorian and stands on the hill looking down over the town - very impressive. Members were impressed by the accommodation, the grand staircase, the function rooms, the food and the swimming pool.
Friday night was a hot buffet followed by a barn dance, which got everybody up and moving. The theme for the fancy dress was a character from a play or musical. The lady's trophy was won by Lorna from Nottinghamshire, the man's trophy by Rodney from Oxfordshire and the group trophy by Michelle and Tim from Nottinghamshire.
On Saturday, following a good breakfast, members left for the trips. Liz and David took members to Cromford Mill where they had a very interesting guided historical tour of the Mill and then onto Matlock Bath to visit the Museum and then the lead mine. Maria took members to Bakewell for a guided tour and site seeing, followed by a visit to Caudwell's Mill and Peak Shopping Village. Phil lead the intrepid walkers up hill and down dale. Members enjoyed a three course meal in the evening, followed by a disco. The raffle was held, raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
On Sunday Liz and David took members to the Crescent Museum, Maria led the farm walk and Phil took the walkers out again. In the afternoon, a number of members visited The Dome, where an actress playing Vera Brittain talked about her life as a nurse in World War I in The Dome, and then her later life. The Dome certainly is a magnificent building - it is hard to imagine that it was originally built as stables for the horses of the guests at the Crescent Hotel.
The AGM was held in the afternoon; out going Chairman Charles thanked George who is standing down as a Vice President, Gill and Iain who are standing down as Area Representatives, and Nigel who is standing down as President. He welcomed Peter Hr as the new President. Following the elections, Peter Hn was elected as Chairman, Lesley as Treasurer and Liz as Secretary. Later in the evening, following a hot buffet, members chatted amongst themselves and took part in the tombola and bottle raffle, again raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
Following another good breakfast, some members left to go home and some went to explore the town further. Thank you Maria, Phil, Liz, Wendy and David from Derbyshire Country Link for a full weekend of interesting activities in a beautiful setting in sunny weather, and we look forward to the weekend in October, when we will be back in Derbyshire.