Her tale is a nostalgic one and just goes to show how far HF Holidays has come in its 100 years of providing walking and outdoor holidays.
“Almost a century of HF Holidays!
It was in 1948 that my very young boyfriend and I were allowed to go on holiday together, providing it was with Holiday Fellowship, as this organisation was considered very suitable in every way.
I was impressed because T.A. Leonard and his wife had spent a weekend at my boyfriend’s home in Liverpool.
My future husband’s family had enjoyed holidays at Newlands in the early 1920s, and we used to laugh at pictures of them in their basic walking gear, never thinking that we would cause as much mirth in our plastic jackets, usually patched with sticking plaster.
This gear was the best to be found in those post-war years.
Our first holiday was at Watcombe Park, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing a bedroom with five other young ladies. What fun we all had and I particularly recall a mad sprint to catch the train at Lustleigh, when we had to make our way through thick brambles.
Our arms and legs were torn to shreds and I had never enjoyed a holiday so much!
The next year we went to Conway and met the indomitable manageress, Miss Christie, who was kindness itself, and served not only second helpings, but thirds too.
I remember climbing Crib Goch in mist and being terrified, but then the sun broke through and I have never forgotten the coastline of Wales being revealed to us.
Many years of host and hostess followed, with a whole lifetime of memories, friends and fellowship.
At each centre, the temperamental boiler had to be understood, to make sure that evening drinks were served at just the right moment.
The smell of hot drying rooms, absolutely rammed with wet gear, including boots, had a smell never to be forgotten.
The occasion when one lady guest had to be restrained from giving a third encore, my husband reassuring and guiding a man who had “frozen” on the north ascent of Ben Nevis.
The memories are too numerous to mention, but together, they added to the happy childhood of both our children who have in turn introduced their children to HF Holidays.
We had many happy Christmases at Thurlestone Sands, making friends with a lovely family, and acquiring a son-in-law in the process!
Our latest HF holiday was with a Bridge group, somewhat more sedate than the A plus walks of our younger days, but we congratulate the organisation on the variety of holidays, upgrading of the Country Houses and cuisine, whilst still retaining the essential fellowship.
Yet here we are, some 80 years since my husband’s first HF holiday, and 95 since his parents, aunt and uncle stepped out fearlessly at Newlands.
We are great grandparents now, and have a granddaughter working happily in the HF organisation.
We look forward to completing a century of wonderful, life enriching HF holidays.”
Thank you Audrey for such a lovely tale!
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