Hello, West London Ramblers,
and happy walking to you all in 2015.
A good number of people gathered for our AGM and Christmas social in December, and the evening saw some changes in the Committee. We said goodbye and thank you to Tom Berry after his many years as our all-seeing, all-doing Secretary. Martin Harris took over as Secretary (retaining his posts as Area Representative and Footpath Secretary) and I became Chairman (retaining the job of Holiday Co-ordinator). Alan Ross continues as Treasurer, Sue Williams as Membership Secretary, Pete Grist as Webmaster and Neil Marsland as Walks Organiser. Jackie Gower comes on board as Programme Co-ordinator, Maureen Brook as Publicity Co-ordinator, David Slater as Social Secretary and Sue Aldridge as another Area Representative and general assistant. Margaret Spooner will continue to help and advise until she sets off on her travels later in the year. We feel we have a strong Committee covering diverse skills; if you have suggestions and comments to make to us, or topics you want us to consider at Committee meetings, please contact any of us.
Setting off after the Christmas lunch in Shoreham
Martin drew our attention to the fact that Central Office is currently reviewing the way Ramblers is governed, and is inviting our comments on its
proposals. WL committee had already decided not to attempt to provide a group comment, but responses are welcome from individual members. The document can be found in the Members Area of the Ramblers website, under Latest Member News.
It is worth checking the Members Area at regular intervals. There is a section devoted to Membership FAQs, and individual members can also gain access to the online Routes Library as well as to the central Map Library – both good tools for aspiring leaders.
You may not realize that Ramblers is now 80 years old, having been formed on 1 January 1935. At present, it has 114,000 members in around 500 groups spread across 50 areas of Britain. Most of us
think of Ramblers as an organization which provides us with planned walks and leaders, but the news
coverage of this anniversary is likely to concentrate on Ramblers’ work in campaigning for rights of way – without which we would have no paths to walk.
An anniversary nearer home is our own 60th birthday. Yes, the West London Group was formed in 1955 and has been going steadily ever since. The minutes of the inaugural meeting are in our archives, and show that it was held on 20 January at the Hammersmith Constitutional Club, with Mr V.M. Morecroft in the chair and 70 members present. Some social events were planned, and the first walks programme ran from April to July. To start off our celebrations, our new Social Secretary has organized a walk on 17 May from Kew to Hammersmith, followed by lunch at the Kalamari Greek Restaurant in Chiswick High Road. Details will be found in our walks programme but please phone David by 14 May to book your place for the meal. There will be further events later in the year, and we are certainly open to suggestions. I have been told that the first group holiday was to the Isle of Wight, so that seems an appropriate place to return to this year.
WL members toast in the new year in Holland Park
West London members have a strong tradition of going on holiday together, and for many years most of these events were organized by Bert Neale and the late Ken Royce. Recently, several other people have come forward with offers to arrange something, and this is all to the good. In July, 18 of us had an excellent time walking the Northumberland Coast Path – see my piece in the current South East Rambler for a short report.
On the beach near Bamburgh Castle
There are already several plans for holidays in 2015 which members will have received in the programme.
I do hope you will find walks to suit you in the attached programme. (If there are gaps, it is because not enough leaders have come forward – please consider whether you could help out; more experienced leaders will do a walk-out with you – just ask.) Be sensible about choosing walks which are within your capabilities, check train times before setting out and remember to carry water and some food with you at all times.
Best wishes for a year of good walking.