The annual Spring Reunion and AGM were held this year in Llandudno, North Wales, established by the Mostyn family as a Victorian seaside resort. Sixty nine members and guests attended, including visitors from the Netherlands, France, Germany and the USA. The reunion was held at the St. George’s Hotel, located on the esplanade and overlooking a wide beach; it was one of the first hotels to be built in the town and boasted of a new invention – a lift. Today, the recently renovated hotel has elegant function rooms and comfortable bedrooms and provided an excellent venue.
The programme of activities was developed with the help and local knowledge of John and Monica Peberdy, who live in Anglesey not far from Llandudno. On Friday afternoon, after check in, a group of about 40 took Britain’s only cable tramway to the summit of the Great Orme, a rocky promontory rising to about 500 feet (150 meters) above the town. Blessed with a fine afternoon there were clear 360 degree views from the top. There is a Bronze Age copper mine on the Great Orme and the more energetic stopped to explore the mine before walking to the summit. Members who did not take the tram had a guided walk around the town with a very knowledgeable guide, who not only pointed out buildings of interest but provided a good summary of the development of the town.
On Saturday the sun shone all day so the weather for a visit to Bodnant Gardens, a nearby National Trust garden, could not have been better. Rhododendrons and azaleas were a blaze of colour providing a stunning contrast to mature trees that opened vistas to the background of mountains.
Members at Bodnant Gardens
There was a brief stop for lunch in Betws y Coed, a town famous as a base for climbers preparing for the high peaks in the Himalayas. Most members took the opportunity to view a short film of a flight over Snowdonia as seen by a peregrine falcon. The coach then took us over the Llanberis Pass, a narrow route through the northern part of Snowdonia.The next stop was at the National Slate Museum. Slate was an important industry in the 19 th century, with Welsh slate exported all over the world. The museum sets out some of this history but the highlight of the visit was a demonstration of slate splitting, done by hand in the traditional way. The demonstrator was not only remarkably skilful, but had an entertaining sense of humour.
Receptions and dinners on both Friday and Saturday nights provided plenty of opportunity to catch up with news of old friends. On Saturday night Dr. Robert Jones provided a programme of magic, illusions and mind-reading that kept us all amazed. His expertise as a magician has been recognized by the British Magic Circle, all the more amazing because Dr. Jones’ day job is as a dentist.
The more formal business of the weekend was discussed at the AGM, held on Sunday morning. Mick Nightingale stood down as Chairman of the British Chapter and the meeting applauded his many years of service to the Society. For the next year his place is taken by Alan Roe. Two new Board members were elected: Evelyn Watson and George Faillace.