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SCoM History

Continued from the September / October Newsletter

By: Barry Lewis

Pat is quite right we were not in at the beginning but were there after it became an affiliated Club as we heard of it through SCGB. The first events I remember were the exercise sessions at the College of Building. We joined in the in 1976 or 1977, having moved up from Essex. We went on a number of holidays organised by Pat and Harry, probably in the mid 70s to early 80s and always with Supertravel as I recall it. Subsequently there were a considerable number of trips to Aviemore, sometimes by car and sometimes with Red Guide, a travel company from Blackpool, who used to run weekend trips by coach from the North West. For a number of years the Club held annual race weekend in Aviemore in March with Cups and prizes.

We started organising coach holidays in the early/mid 80’s I would guess, at half term and Easter to try and provide affordable holidays for families. With, eventually 3 kids in tow, Supertravel had moved beyond us. The coaches took up to 50 people. Getting the first 30 or so was always easy and then it was a struggle. That was a few years after we had joined the Club. By then Jonquil would have been Club secretary, a position she held for almost 20 years (from 1981) before handing over to (Alan Brown?). The coaches left early on a Friday evening arriving at resort next morning in time to ski. They left resort the following Saturday evening arriving home on Sunday — 8 days skiing always in a top French resort in cheap cramped self-catering accommodation. The kids loved it and so the parents were happy! Will anybody remember sleeper coaches? The seats converted to long bunks stretching from front to back without any break or guard. In an accident everyone would have been straight through the windscreen head or feet first!! Such coaches were later banned of course. Then there was the time the ferries went on strike and after much hassle we arranged a coach to Ramsgate where we boarded a hovercraft to Boulogne where we had to face off a Rugby Club tour whose coach had not turned up. Those holidays ran for about ten years, I would think.

We only tried the grass skiing once — not a success for us! But we were very keen on the local snow skiing in the Pennines. We had several spots, Rushup Edge being the most used, where we would set up the two club tows in tandem achieving a considerable length. A couple of times we got so many participants and watchers the police were called out to clear the road and move us on. In those days you hoped to ski most weekends from mid/late January to mid-March. The farmer would get a small sum per head and some nice whisky every Christmas. Giles, the future founder of The Development Centre in Val, used to take his spade and build jumps. Another favourite was to drive to the top of the Snake Pass, leaving a car(s) at the bottom, traverse out south along the ridge and follow a gully down to the reservoir above Glossop. Local skiing was for a time very popular and our main means of attracting new members. Sometimes the snow was such we could leave the tows in situ from one weekend to another.

Yes I should be able to add to Pat’s memories. I will try and work out when I first joined the club. Norman Atwood was chairman and Celia Berent joined the committee at the same time as me. I was treasurer for a year or two then became secretary. I had to type out bulletins then take them to be printed and finally post to members! I helped to take the keep fit sessions in Manchester. Bill Matthews was present at them and also Gerald Wilmer who I think was a previous secretary. I think Gerald Wilmer formed MSC as an associate member of SCGB and it was SCGB who asked him to do this. I was on the Sauze trip and also took part in the trips to Aviemore. I remember being one of the drivers sharing the driving on one trip and the last trip I did. We hired a caravan. It was perfect ski conditions, sun and lots of snow but very cold at night. The kettle in the caravan contained frozen water! Roy Dearden was also staying in the caravan. I also remember the parties at Roy Dearden’s parents’ house. It is all such a long time ago. Yes was at Telford too and after that I organised training sessions for SCGB at Rossendale, four courses each year which were always fully supported and ran for about 20 years! I was an SCGB rep from 1975 until about 1984 then was SCGB rep in the north-west for many years.

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