900 members of the Trefoil Guild from the UK visit Londonderry for their National AGM

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The Ulster Trefoil Guild, which is part of the Guide Association, hosted their National AGM in Londonderry over the weekend.

Around 900 members came from England, Scotland, Wales, The Channel Islands, Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland and, of course, Ulster. Delegates stayed in hotels in and around the city.

On Friday evening the Mayor of Londonderry and Strabane, Eilish McCallion, met some of the Trefoil Guild members when they were guests at a reception in the Guildhall. Members found the Mayor interested in everything the Trefoil was doing and spent a lot of time talking to the members and, according to The Guild’s Ulster PR officer, Merle Whyte, the delegates were very impressed with the young Mayor.

“Saturday morning saw Guild members enjoying walking tours of the City Walls. Indeed, so many tours were taking place that they nearly lapped each other,” she said.

“Unfortunately the weather was a let down with strong winds and heavy rain, but it did not deter the ladies, who were impressed by the tour guides who were still audible despite the adverse conditions.”

The National AGM, chaired by President Brenda Park, took place in the afternoon, at which the national chairman, Pat Downer, gave her report on the activities and policies of the Trefoil Guild. The guest speaker was Dame Geraldine Keegan who spoke on the topic ‘Outer Mongolia’.

“She was very interesting and especially brave to venture to such a place. Her talk was not without humour especially on the subject of fermented mare’s milk,” said Merle.

The retiring collection was taken up for earthquake relief in Nepal and well over £2,500 was raised.

Delegates were entertained to an Evening of Music, Dance and Craic with singer and songwriter Elidh Patterson, the Solus Irish and Ulster Scots Dancers and the MC for the evening was William Caulfield. The evening also included contributions from the Londonderry Musical Society and the Britannia Band.

On Sunday three bus parties went to the Giants Causeway, another group to the Ulster American Folk Park, while yet another group visited the Doagh Famine Village in Donegal. Those who stayed in Londonderry enjoyed an open topped bus tour of the city.

“Venture Abroad, which organises hotels and trips for the visitors, entertained the delegates to and evening of Irish music, song and dance in the Everglades Hotel on Sunday evening,” said Merle.

As always the visitors had a great time in Northern Ireland and have vowed to return in the near future.

For more, see page 22 for our picture feature, and readers can also view our slideshow at www.Londonderrysentinel.co.uk