Early Days by Audrey Olley
I was not a founder member but I think I joined the Club in the autumn of 1968. However, what I clearly remember was on that first evening I was asked to provide a list of countries I had visited. A week or so later I received a phone call from our founder, Bay Hyde, asking me to give a talk on my journey through Sweden to Finland in April 1968. I had travelled with a Lapp (now Sami) family when they moved with their reindeer from their winter pastures to their summer feeding grounds. And so, reluctantly and nervously I gave my very first talk. Nearly 50 years on I have now given around 1000 talks on my travels! Thanks Bay, for not taking ‘no’ for an answer as the Club really changed my life.
By the next season I found myself on the committee and in my time have served as programme secretary, treasurer, chairman and president and had the privilege of meeting many well-known travellers and explorers along the way.
Gordon Hellyer (a former Chairman) remembers first coming to the Club when he was in the 6th form at school!
Other members remembered:
One speaker dressing up in all the gear they had to wear on an Antarctic expedition
The fears of Sam Manicom when he was arrested and jailed in Africa
The speaker who brought along a large snake to demonstrate part of his talk
Josie Dew arriving on her bike to show how she travelled with all her clothes/tent/food etc in her panniers, and then cycling home to Hampshire
On a very snowy night, John Pilkington drove some distance through the snow to reach the Club to find a meagre audience of less than a dozen hardy and intrepid members. These included Roland Masset (our then Treasurer) who had walked some distance through the snow to open up the hall.
John’s talk was repeated the following season for less intrepid members. The Committee agreed that in the future when the weather was so bad, members should check the website to see whether the talk was going ahead or cancelled.