Editor’s Diary: Having A Ball At Alvaston Hall Hotel

Angela Gilchrist. ©

This Editor’s Diary is coming to you from my bedroom at Alvaston Hall Hotel near Crewe.

I’m here for our fabulous Turkey & Tinsel reader holiday run in conjunction with Warner. And we’re having so much fun!

With me are Kirsty from the “Friend” Production Team, Stuart and Hope from “My Weekly”, and Lesley and Jillian from our amazing events team. And around two hundred avid readers of “The People’s Friend” and “My Weekly”!

As I write this, it’s 8.05 a.m. on Wednesday, and we’re halfway through another memorable holiday with Warner.

We left Dundee well before daybreak on Monday morning, when the thermometer on the car read minus seven degrees! At that point we did wonder about the wisdom of driving all the way to Cheshire.

However, with rail strikes planned and air travel disrupted by snow, it seemed the safest bet.

At the wheel was Stuart, who did a marvellous job of getting us to the Alvaston Hall Hotel in spite of frozen windscreen washers and low sun glare. It was like travelling through a winter wonderland as the sun slowly came up, revealing a frost-bound landscape.

It certainly got us into the festive mood!

My job was to navigate and keep sugar levels up with a plentiful supply of sweets (Percy Pigs, to be precise!)

Familiar faces and new friends

When we arrived at Alvaston, we set up our welcome table and banners and almost immediately, our guests starting coming across to say hello. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces from our previous Warner holidays, and to meet lots of new friends, too.

After dinner and the evening entertainment, I needed some sleep, so it was an early night for me.

The rooms at Warner are so comfortable, I had no problem dropping off!

Tuesday saw the welcome return of our popular craft sessions. These couldn’t take place last year at Cricket because of COVID regulations.

Our two Christmas card sessions certainly proved popular. And Kirsty revealed previously hidden talents in the crafting department!

Mid afternoon was our “Meet the Editors” session, where Stuart and I talked about our roles and then answered audience questions. It was a lively session with lots of love shown for “The Farmer & His Wife”!

The Tunnocks Caramel Wafers we had brought with us from Dundee were also very well received . . .

We rounded events off with a Christmas story beautifully read by Kirsty.

By bedtime I was hoarse from talking! So many lovely people wanted to ask me questions and tell me how much the “Friend” means to them. What a great job I have.

A Wonderful Wednesday Planned

Today (Wednesday), we have another packed calendar of events. Stuart’s talk on “My Weekly” and the Mary’s Meals charity is followed by another craft session. Then it’s our “Meet the Author” slot with the wonderful Glenda Young and a second Christmas story reading.

And we still have all of Thursday – and Friday morning – to come!

Highlights will include a talk by travel writer Neil McAllister, another Christmas story and a presentation on the history of the “Friend”.

Already, people are asking me when our next Warner holiday will be. We’re hoping to have at least one, maybe even two, in 2023, so keep watching the magazine for an announcement. I’d love to see you there!

Frosty grounds at Alvaston.

Catch up more from Angela’s Editor’s Diary.

Angela Gilchrist

Angela is Former Editor-in-Chief of “The People’s Friend” magazine. Her passions include cats, Highland ponies, good books, vegetarian food and long walks in the Scottish countryside. Her favourite place to get away from it all is the magical Isle of Skye.