Manchester was proud to hold the Senior Section Centenary Ball at the Palace Hotel on Saturday 22nd October, but it may have felt a little ashamed as an expectant crowd of glam girls and guiders braved its rather unforgiving October breezes in their more-fabulous-than-functional ball gowns. It proved itself to be worthy of hosting this massive party, however, which marks the end of the Spectacular Year celebrating 100 years of Girl Guiding’s Senior Section, as we entered a brightly lit open courtyard and were photographed as we strutted down the promised red carpet.
Glasses of fizz (non-alcoholic of course) and a choice between a cone of warm popcorn and freshly made stick of candyfloss greeted us on our arrival. A sophisticated foyer (whose lighting we later discovered to be ideal for posy pictures) led into a large function room which impressed us straight away. Popcorn and candyfloss machines operated in one corner, while a photo booth and silent disco caught our eye on the opposite side and upon excited investigation we discovered a pick ‘n’ mix stand and photo machine which printed pictures from social media tagged with ‘#Spectacular2016’.
As we stood deciding where to begin, we were approached by a charming and jocular magician, Chris, who befuddled and wowed us with tricks involving reproducing foam rabbits.
An announcement that the canapés were about to be served in the ballroom saw us descending the stairs to find an equally large, elegant ballroom with a live jazz band for our entertainment. Jiving and lindy hopping as we sampled bitesize burgers and mini chicken kebabs, Swinton and Worsley Rangers agreed that the night was incredibly well planned, and a resounding success.
The night concluded with an inspiring speech by Chief Guide, Valerie le Vaillant, in which we were tasked to consider a more serious mission for the coming years: a large-scale project of teaching English to our guiding sisters, both in the UK and abroad. But the overarching sentiment was a reminiscent celebration of this year’s revelries, as we joined in toasting the future of Girl Guiding, and another 100 years of Senior Section.