- When you have spent many months organising a weekend in North Devon the last thing you want is a forecast of snow but this was the news that David Parslow, the Provincial Events Organiser, woke to on Thursday 31st January 2019 and the forecasters were right as on Friday morning the West Country received a fairly substantial coating of snow. Before long many telephone calls were being made, however the Durrant House Hotel confirmed that there was no snow in Bideford. Many people decided to leave a little later although by mid-morning the M5, A361 and the A39 were all passable with ease although a few people, those who lived in the more remote areas of Somerset, were stuck at home and would have to leave travelling until Saturday as they would have to be dug out from their homes and drives.
By 6pm on Friday most of those attending had checked in and the bars were beginning to fill. A ‘help yourself’ Buffet Supper was served at 7pm and, as usual, proved to be a wonderful selection of food. Following this the Ballroom was cleared and ‘Johnny’ the resident DJ took over and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
Saturday is always a free day and although it was cold, it was a bright day and it is always surprising where people manage to travel on that day. However by late afternoon all were back at the hotel and getting ready for the main event on Saturday evening.
The evening commenced with the usual reception in the Sir Richard Bar and, due to the fact that the Grand Superintendent was on holiday, the event was hosted by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Clive Lambert. This event really sets the scene for the evening and enables all Companions and their wives or partners to enjoy renewing friendships. Following this all Companions made their way to the Venetian Dining Room, where the Gala Dinner was to be held. The 2nd and 3rd Provincial Principals and their Ladies were welcomed into the Venetian Room by all those present and they were followed by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Companion Clive Lambert and Penny and after Grace, delivered by the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal the guest enjoyed a superb Dinner. After the Loyal Toast, the Toast to the Ladies was proposed by E Comp Alan Holton, the Past Deputy Grand Superintendent, whose humour and sincerity was much appreciated by all present.
A very touching reply to the Toast was given by Penny Fahe during which she thanked, on behalf of all the Ladies, the Province for organising a wonderful weekend. The formal part of the evening ended with the Deputy Grand Superintendent reading an Email from the Grand Superintendent wishing all those attending a very pleasant evening. The Deputy Grand Superintendent also thanked E Comp Graham Glazier and the Province of Dorset for their continued support. Dinner was followed by dancing with music again provided by ‘Freeway’.
Sunday morning was bright and dry and after breakfast all guest prepared to leave North Devon, many already looking forward to next year. 2020 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the first Provincial Grand Chapter Weekend held at the Rainbow Hotel Torquay in 1995.
If you are one of those Companions that have attended every Provincial Weekend since 1995 and intend to be at Bideford in 2020, E Comp David Parslow would like to hear from you, please contact him you might be in for a surprise.
If you wish to help us celebrate the 25th Anniversary please book in early.
With thanks for the Report by E Comp John Bennett, PGS