There's only one way to start by wishing you all a Very Happy Healthy New Year and to thank you for your support in 2017.
You will be pleased to know that we have just sent donations off to Rowcroft Hospice, South Dartmoor Search & Rescue & Teignmouth RNLI. A donation from the club was also sent in memory of Meena to the Ricky Grant Unit at Torquay Hospital. Throughout the year donations were also sent to Royal Marines Rehabilitation Unit, Help for Hero’s, Shelterbox, Injured Jockeys Fund and our main beneficiary The Guide Dogs for the Blind who we donated £600 when we visited their National Breeding Centre in May.
We are looking into the possibility of seeing if we can buy a defribulator this year with our fund raising.
We could not have helped all these charities without your support.
Looking back over the last year and some of the highlights of our trips in 2017.
We started the year with Panto oh yes we did, which was very good, this years I personally thought was not as good and I must be getting old as it seemed very loud to me and I know some said they had to turn their hearing aids down or off which made me feel better. February we enjoyed seeing the snowdrops at Welford and the migrating birds at Slimbridge. Soon after we visited Bournemouth for a cheap little break and some visited the training centre for the RNLI for an extremely interesting guided tour. When you think these people are volunteers rush off from their jobs or nice cosy home and go out to sea sometimes in treacherous conditions. The simulator of being on board at sea only goes to Gale Force 6 for visitors and that was more than enough for most let alone being out in storm or hurricane force at night. We take our hats off to these men & women.
In March we did some day trips by train to London which we are repeating again this year as we have again managed to pick up some special offers.
Always popular is our annual visit to The Royal Albert Hall for the Royal Marines Mountbatten Concert, and they broke with tradition and had a visiting drum corp play with them, the Top Secret Drum Corp from Switzerland who are amazing, you might remember them from the Queen’s Birthday celebrations at Windsor or Edinburgh Tattoo. Next day we visited Hampton Court Palace for their Floriamania weekend. At the end of March we got a special offer to try Fred Olsen’s ship Boudicca with a one night taster cruise from Southampton to Falmouth and then we went to Bocconnoc Flower Show before coming home. We had a good time and Sandra & Gerry celebrated their wedding anniversary, I think Sandra might have been expecting a little longer at sea when Gerry said he was taking her on a cruise for their anniversary and had upgraded to a suite. Just before our trip to Bristol to see Michael Flatterley Dangerous Games and a mystery trip next day which was to Wales and a couple of Welsh attractions we visited GWSR for their 1940's weekend, many dressed up as land girls, navy/army personal, spivs, chair of WI etc. and a really good time was had by all, next day continuing the theme we visited Bletchley Park.
May was our much anticipated trip to Ireland following many requests to do a trip there. We had nice crossings and although it poured with rain on the first night and morning when we got up it stopped when we got to any of the attractions. Although all the attractions were excellent and everyone had their favourite I think most enjoyed Lullymore Heritage Centre where Ray had laid on a cream tea especially for us down on the peat bog along with Irelands champion peat cutter Pete to give us some lessons and have a go. Graham did a great job driving us around and through the Wicklow Mountains.
We went to Beating the Retreat in June which is held in the evening on Horse Guards Parade, however compared with previous years this was disappointing, it could be that is was soon after one of the London terrorist’s incidents, next day we visited Kenwood House and RAF Museum Hendon. Later in June we did two flower shows Blenheim and next day Woburn. At the beginning of July we had Richards National Trust Extravaganza staying at one of our favourite hotels the Marriott @ Lingfield, a great time was had by all except Anne who had been attacked by a cat (not hers) before coming and infection set in and we had to leave her up there in hospital. Then it was our trip to Belgium and Holland for the Andre Rieu Concert in Maastricht. We wanted to do this trip as a trip to remember and stayed for two nights at the Hilton in Antwerp, excellent hotel then we stayed in Maastricht at another very good hotel and went to the concert. We had excellent seats, weather, the setting and the concert was brilliant but it was the atmosphere I think we will always remember. Graham managed to park near the square so no problem when the concert finished, think we were the second coach away. On the way home we stopped in at Tyne Cott cemetery. Although this trip was not cheap it will be one that we will all always remember with great affection. We are hoping that we might be able to run the trip again in 2019 due to requests from those that came and those that didn't manage to come in 2017. We finished off the month with a trip to Windsor & Ascot races & scrubbed up very well and definitely looked the part. We had a guided tour and Marion & Peter were brave enough to stand on the jockey’s scales so we could all see how much they weighed. I kept very quiet I know what the reaction would have been – how much! A few days later off to London for Buckingham Palace & this year’s exhibition Royal Gifts for me it didn’t compare to some of the previous year’s exhibitions and time in the capital. August we visited the Watercress Line Railway at Alresford & Arundel Castle for the Medieval Tournament. At the beginning of September was the trip to Manchester for the trip on the Ship Canal, we had to cancel last year’s trip due to part of a bridge falling into the canal. At the end of the month was a trip to Chiltern Valley Vineyard, we met them at Waddesdon last year, giving samples of their liquors. We had a tour then a sampling session, with lesson on how to drink a wine properly before getting onto sampling the liquors I can only say that the noise level went up quite a few decibels as sampling progressed. Next day we visited 3 NT properties. Never at home for long was our next trip to Hawk Conservancy on a perfect autumn day. The flying displays were excellent and I think we will all remember the Secretary Bird who showed us how they kill a snake. Next day we went to Waterperry Gardens in the morning and a tour of the mini factory in the afternoon, watching the robots at work was certainly memorable. November saw us gearing up for the start of the Christmas season with our annual visit to kick things off with a visit to Royal Albert Hall Classical Spectacular concert and next day London. The following weekend we went to Winchester & Bath Christmas Markets.
Our final overnighter in December we visited Waddesdon Manor, this year the grounds were very disappointing compared to previous years but the house excellently dressed as always. Next day we visited SS Great Britain and had a Christmas lunch in the saloon. Mr Brunel was there of course to welcome and talk to us and also present our dear driver Graham with a chocolate trophy (it melted on the coach when we visited the Donkey Sanctuary with the sun coming in on it)
That was a brief summary of the overnight trips then there was the day trips as I said we started with Panto
Did a couple days trips to London by train one for Lion King and the other for Westminster Abbey & area.
Theatre trips, included Matthew Bourne’s Red Shoes, La Cage aux Follies, That'll Be The Day, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Buddy, Crazy, Funny Girl & Beautiful,
Attractions included Rosemoor Gardens, SS Great Britain, South Devon Railway with a River Exe Cruise, NBC for Guide Dogs, The Mint Experience The Flying Scotsman, Bristol Boat trip, BBC Bristol, Monkey World, Plymouth Fireworks, Longleat Festival of Light, Exeter Lords Mayors Christmas Concert,
NT properties day trips included visits to Tyntesfield, Great Chalfield, The Courts Gardens, Killerton, and Buckland Abbey & Saltram.
Various Lunches & Cream Teas.
Thanks also goes to Blakes Coaches for supplying us with their coaches & excellent drivers especially Graham. Hilton Reading, Marriott Lingfield, Northampton & Manchester Airport who are always so accommodating.
As you can see 2017 was a very busy year & we hope that 2018 will be as good and enjoyable.
We still have plenty of ideas for 2018 but putting together these trips takes a lot of time so please be patient.
These trips are organised for the enjoyment of friends and club members. Whilst care is taken in arranging these trips we are not responsible for areas outside our control and you are most welcome to join us on this understanding and realise this is not a business just individuals trying to help others have a good time out at a reasonable price.
Please click the photos page to see some of the places and what we got up too.