The Vice President is this year drawing the club's attention to the need to provide for our teenagers. Heritage is a true family naturist club, and we have been aware for some time that the teenagers need more facilities.
There are actually more than 50 children in the club, but this number represents those that regularly join Mum and Dad. - Ok ... if you're a toddler there isn't much choice, but the older children do have a choice and the club recognises that it must provide for them.
All 400 of us Heritage members are proud of our Club, together with its reputation as being very family friendly. We aim to provide facilities and activities specifically for our 50 children and 5 Youth members to ensure that they are active members who may one day be our future full members.
They have however outgrown their childrenísí hut and with some assistance they would like to expand and buy another hut for the older members, a new Youth hut. The children have a healthy sum of money in their account through various fundraising over the years, including bring and buy sales. The plan is for the new hut to be located near the children'sí hut, alongside the hedge behind the waterfall. We would appreciate help during the May Bank holiday weekend in preparing the hut base, and on a future date help with erecting the new hut. Also if you can help with interior furnishings please do let us know if you have any settees, small tables, TV etc.
club Youth representatives Adrian, Neil and myself (Angie) would like to
thank all those who contribute every year to make the Heritage Family
Fun Week (23rd and 29th) August great success. If perhaps you can help
with arts and crafts, teaching children new skills (all age groups), or
perhaps you can give some miniten coaching for example, do come forward.
You may prefer to write a quiz or children'sí competition, develop a
teasing treasure hunt or even plan a country walk.
For those who have not attended any of the activities before, our Family Fun Week starts with the Garden Party, and then we are off! The week is crammed full of sports, every afternoon including water slides, touch rugby, aerobics, volleyball, raft racing and Sports Day. There are arts and crafts activities for the children to enjoy, including tie-dye, pottery, tile painting and even fun activities for the tots. The children are kept busy all day, then the parents join in the fun of the evening events for example, race night, chilli and bingo, karaoke or camp fire singing.
So you see, we take our young people very seriously. They are our young ambassadors and deserve good facilities. However, please note that they are taking on extra responsibilities to keep their new hut clean and tidy and have a space of their own which they are proud of. And we can be proud of them!
Health and Efficiency article
The magazine has had a rumbustuous past: it swung from a financial success to money pit and back again into profit: it was accused of drifting into soft porn and for a while was actively shunned by naturists. This year Heritage was invited to contribute and we were delighted when the following was printed.
HERITAGE ranks as one of the largest, friendliest and longest established naturist clubs in the UK and Europe. Including the children and youth who make up 20% of the club, there are over 400 members and the club hopes to grow that number by as much as 25% in the near future. You could discover yourself to be one of Heritage's new members.
What makes a club a success? A number of factors have to come together at the same time: a commitment to the future, a broad social and age membership spectrum, a really friendly social atmosphere, good and modern facilities, financial solvency, an open mind and heart - and of course a 100% commitment to naturism.
In the UK there will always be a place for naturist clubs, not least because the general social and political atmosphere make social nudity on the beaches and campsites rarely acceptable. HERITAGE is a club that tries to make that great continental experience of a holiday in France, Denmark or Croatia available for those times that one cannot get away to Europe. Members either drop by after work for a swim and a chat or settle in for a week's camping.
One measure of success of a club is the 'churn' and 'average length of membership'. At Heritage the annual churn is usually about 8%, and that includes those who have moved away, died or found jobs in foreign lands. Typically people remain members for 10 years or more and nearly 40% of the membership joined within the last five years. Lifestyles have changed and though most still join as couples, the number of single members has increased as well - male and female. The friendships that are made at Heritage, in many cases, last a lifetime.
A club needs to offer more than just a patch of limp grass and a pool. A club is a social experience as well as a location: so HERITAGE members frequently meet up on holidays abroad or join a club trip. Last year nearly 20 members canoed the 25 kilometres of the Ardeche with the youngest being just nine and the oldest ( and last couple in ) having a combined age of 150! This year a surf trip is organised to La Jenny and another canoe/caving trip to France.
In addition groups of members will be getting together at Vera Play, Costa Natura and Agde. Check out Heritage's superb website to get a real feel:http://www.heritageclub.org.uk
What walks of life do the HERITAGE naturists come from? A healthy, active club truly reflects the wider world and Heritage draws in people from all walks of life: builders, lawyers, electricians, accountants, doctors, teachers, office workers, mechanics, engineers, programmers, police and armed services, managers, nurses - etc .... The club is gender balanced, and about 10% of the club is single. Heritage, being between the M4 and M3 strips, - so to speak - , has a good number of persons working in new technology industries as well.
Heritage's success as a club is partly due to its 100% commitment to naturism, and in common with many resorts in Europe requires complete nudity around the pool and its immediate sun bathing areas. If the weather is fine - no excuses - get the kit off and enjoy it. Heritage is not a 'clothes optional' club if the sun is out.
Pre-arranged non-member visits accepted: £5pp day visit, £16 per pitch camping inc of all charges except sauna but check with club first for availability. A 'SUNTRECKER' rally site. No pets on site.
Hut and Tent Lists
If you're on the Tent or Hut Site Waiting Lists, you'll know how the biblical Job felt! There has been some movement: in November with chalets 1,5 and 25 having new occupants.
Camping and Safety
Chris has tested all the electrical equipment in the club for safety. You may have noticed new emergency exit signs in the pavilion. These will be linked to a new fire alarm system and emergency lighting in the near future.
Following a comprehensive safety survey, look out for new signs indicating no-go areas for children on sheds and garages. Also note that the Wadi (the lowest lawn) is the new Fire Assembly Point.
The Loans' Scheme
The Treasurer reports one of the best starts to the year ever. The Loans' Scheme, launched immediately after Christmas was supported by about 10% of the adult membership with £11,300 raised. As the target was £10,000, some scaling back of allocations has occurred. Thanks to all who were able to take part.
Please note that the INDEXATION is displayed on the club website on the 'downloads' page.
Membership renewals at over £22,000 are at an all time high with non-renewals in single figures - and these largely due to relocation etc.-,.
As a result we start the season with a lot more money in the bank. Donations are running at the same level as last year at the moment.
The Treasurer feels confident that the development and renewals of facilities in the club can continue apace. See the report in this issue on the development projects as witness to this.
Committee Meeting Notes
Another major project that you should know about is the resurfacing of the entire central pathway. To keep the expense down, we will prepare the foundations ourselves - another task for the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Heritage loves to celebrate! And this year we have much to celebrate.
We are happy to announce that Lorraine and Eric plan to marry in May and that Neil and Tammy are also hitched.
Ruby, Gold, Diamond
David & Elaine, John & Sheila, Derek & Joan will all celebrate ruby wedding anniversaries in the next few months. Kath & Ray, plus Betty & Fred will celebrate golden weddings in the early summer. In March Gwen and Bill celebrated a diamond wedding.
This year the club raised £10,000 on a bond issue from its members to fund the continued renewal and development of the club. One of the failings (perhaps) of UK naturism is the pretence that it can be done 'on the cheap' - and that somehow UK naturists will tolerate poor facilities. Because we ensure through our fees and charges that the club is accessible to those with very little spare cash, we do rely other methods of funding (such as the bond issue) to continue the club's development.
At Heritage we believe naturists deserve the best facilities available. In the last few years nearly £100,000 has been spent on a new conservatory, new sun bathing patios, two new pools and a host of minor improvements.
The projected developments
Over the next 24 months we propose to tackle a number of long-standing issues at the club. Some work will be done by external contractors but some of the 'spade-work' will be done by members to keep the costs within budget.
Improving Access for the Disabled
Currently for those suffering from a disability, there's a high step at each entrance! We are proposing a new club entrance from the car-park. The current entrance to the club house has another problem in that the door cannot be secured by a key pad entry system, leaving the club house vulnerable to unauthorized access
We have good relations with Wokingham DC Planning dept who have also pointed out that we do not have any disabled toilet facilities. They are encouraging us to address this.
We propose to install a new entrance from into the current TV room. The old TV room will be divided by a stud wall to make a small lobby area where coats could be hung. One car parking space will be lost.
The current sauna-shower changing area is clearly not large enough when we have high attendance. To increase the usable area we plan to remove the Sauna from its current location and relocate it in a new building. This space, with the current sports storeroom, will be the new changing area. It has a window, so will be much more pleasant.
Simple: there will be a new disabled toilet where the changing room is now and new gents' toilets, reached from the changing room, where the TV is.
The current toilets and, if possible, the dividing wall will be removed, making a large open room. The tools will be re-housed and the building would then become a multi-use room with a TV. It could be used as a committee room when required, for example. This would be the final stage of the project. Until then, the TV would be put in the small conservatory.
We believe the current sauna, which is a self-contained structure, can be dismantled and relocated in a new building. The new building would be built beyond the new shower next to the pool patio, so you could dive in the pool to cool off. The exact location is a tight fit due to the cess-pit and gas tank.
For the new sauna building, we think a log cabin would be best. As well as the sauna, it should have a shower and WC. We hope to add a steam room later. The front of the building will be a lounge, with a sink and kettle, to make it a totally self-contained facility, probably about the same size as the current carpet area in the main hall. The whole building will probably be around five metres by seven.
Your club needs YOU!
We propose to hold a works' weekend over the first Bank Holiday in May. We will hire a small digger to clear the central path way (that's another major project - resurfacing the central path) and to dig trenches for sewage and services to be laid to the new Sauna Building.
The work order will be:
What was not mentioned at John's funeral service was the fact that John was a fiercely committed naturist and equally committed to Heritage, where he indeed became a legend! By his own account John became a naturist in early boyhood when, with other boys from the town, he swam naked in the Thames - even in full view of passing girls - until the authorities stepped in and enforced a cover-up.
John had been brought up in poverty; so much so that he was deprived of an academic career due to lack of funds to support him, even though he possessed the necessary qualifications. Working all hours of the day and night from a young age as a shoe repairer, John was eventually to own not only his own shop in Henley but two others in the district.
In 1929 John married Sally (who died in 1994). Later, with the advent of the Second World War, John joined the Fire Service - clearly a hazardous occupation. John attended the aftermath of the air raids on Southampton, Portsmouth and London.
By 1944, towards the end of the War, John and Sally had produced their first two children Michael and Shirley, and they had been working tremendously hard to get their business running successfully. Eventually John felt in need of a short break. Leaving Sally at home with young Shirley and Mike, John set off on his bicycle for a few days' camping, heading towards Bedford. He stopped at a very rough campsite (remember - this was 1944) where he met a man who was heading for Spielplatz. Spielplatz, near St Alban's, was the first naturist club in England but John hadn't heard of it.
As he and Sally still indulged in secluded naked swimming, he needed little persuasion to visit Spielplatz. Here it was that he met John Rowlandson, a founder member of Heritage, this three-year-old Sun Club near Crowthorne! It was arranged that John would pay a visit the following Sunday. Upon arrival, he was introduced to Roy and Mary, and he was instantly won over and could not get home quickly enough to tell Sally! To John's surprise, far from objecting, she was very keen to try it out.So, the following Sunday, the family set out on their bikes, with little
Although much work was being done to develop the thickly wooded grounds and big plans were afoot, at the same time there was turmoil since the club had been given an ultimatum by John Gardner, who had funded the purchase of the land, for an immediate repayment of the money outstanding. Thanks to the efforts of the members, prompted by Roy Gill, the money was raised by individual loans and Heritage was ensured its place as a members' club. John joined Heritage in time to become a contributor and, with his enthusiasm and industry, his worth to the club was very soon recognised, resulting in his appointment as a committee member, subsequently also Chairman and then Trustee, a position he relinquished only after around fifty years' service to the club.
the next few years, John was at the forefront of every project that was
taking place at the club. These included two clubhouses, (the first, an
adapted American army hut, was burnt down) and then the building of our
present structure. When mains water had been brought to the site, the
ultimate for all aspiring naturist clubs - a swimming pool was the next
project. With little or no money available, this proved a major
operation but, enthusiastic and resourceful as ever, John was a leading
figure in confronting the challenge and its eventual and successful
completion. Here he was joined by a new member, Jim Chamberlain, with
whom John formed a firm and everlasting friendship. They worked together
on many more club projects throughout the '50s and into the '60s. The
Crocker family had by now been increased by the birth of Joss and the
weekends they missed at the club were very few.
John was a big man in every way. He was a keen sportsman, in his younger days a footballer, played badminton and on joining Heritage soon became champion at tenniquoits; the first game played at the club. He was a formidable player at miniten and his games with or against his mate Jim were both competitive and good-natured. Also he loved volleyball, which in those days was more a matter of individual brute strength rather than the subtle complexities of teamwork now employed. John was a forthright man who treated everybody alike, did not bear grudges, and could always find humour in any situation. After reaching retirement he handed the business over to Mike, while he and Sally roamed around many parts of Europe and North Africa in a Dormobile generally seeking out naturist sites where available.
With failing eyesight John had to give up driving and his visits to the club became rarer. He had to rely on someone to bring him - generally Jack (who also joined Heritage in the '40s) who went to great trouble to get John to the club for Family Week, the AGM. and particularly Tombola Day when John would sit in his wheelchair, often alongside Mary, chuckling with glee as someone would bring over a host of prizes he always managed to win. At the AGM.s in his loud voice (no mike needed!) he always had his say, often to great effect.
John's influence on the development and success of Heritage cannot, and should not, be underestimated. He arrived at a critical time for the club and played a huge part in fashioning its future, for which we are all surely grateful. He embodied the Heritage spirit, which has been mentioned so often in Sundial.
John Crocker died just three months short of his hundredth birthday, which we at Heritage were preparing to celebrate, as no doubt was his family. That he didn't make it is sad, but we all feel privileged for having known such a man for so long. John will be missed by Henley-on-Thames where he was such a respected figure; he will be missed by his loving family and he will be sorely missed by his adopted family at Heritage.
Last issue we noted in late news that Barbara had died and promised an obituary for this issue.
The club has a surfeit of paving slabs! Give them a good home but remember not to overload the car - they are HEAVY!
Chris and Pam LT have a frame tent to sell off - no serious offer will be refused. Contact via the club office.
New potential members are met by the membership team and come for an initial three visits, usually on a Sunday
[ see our web pages on membership ] .