Welcome to our new members and why you are important.
All things in life, it seems to me, come in threes: soup, main course and dessert; the good the bad and the ugly; birth, life and death; the past, present and future. This is also true of our club: there is the past, represented by the wisdom and benevolence of our founding fathers; the present, or the endeavours of our committees and members to build on and extend the gift of our farsighted forebears; and then there is the future or our new members.
The better we get at measuring statistics of the club the more apparent it is that the future of Heritage rests firmly in a successful recruitment of new members and, more important than that, once we have 'signed up' those new members, in keeping them. Current figures show that nearly 40% of our membership have been members for 5 years or less and 60% for less than 10 years. Looking at it another way, of the 307 paying adult members, 113 have joined in the last 5 years. This surely demonstrates just how important our new members are to us and to the future of the club.
There have been a magnificent 36 new members this year (is this record?). A large proportion are in the 48 to 52 age range but we do have a significant and healthy number of younger members, some who have brought children with them and others who I am sure are contemplating families in the future. I have represented the club at several BN seminars over the years and when I proudly mention the number of young children and youth members we have I am met with stunned silence. One membership secretary told me there weren't enough children in his club to organise a swimming race let alone a family week.
A surprisingly large number of our recruits are totally new to social nudity and nearly 70% of them discovered our club by surfing the Internet, which clearly demonstrates the importance of our Web site. Many older members discovered naturism via Health and Efficiency. The Web has taken its place.
Time and again I hear prospective members, on their initiation tour of the grounds with Vince and Carolyn, say just how good our facilities are. Clearly this is an important part of their decision process, but I would also like to think that our welcome to them is as persuasive.
I know we must not become complacent, but YES, we must be doing something right. But most important let us say a hearty welcome to all our new members; we hope you enjoy your new club as we all do and that you become as justifiably proud of it as we are.
Web editor's COMMENT
Heritage gets many requests from the media, and we welcome the requests. The main issue is that the media rarely feels it appropriate for themselves be participating naturists.
Radio Berkshire was different, but then you need to know a little about Maggie Philbin - a good interview.
Following a phone call from Radio Berkshire to the Club, lan Murray and I were roped into a live interview with Maggie Philbin (of Tomorrow's World and Multicoloured Swap Shop fame) early on a warm and sunny Sunday in May. Radio Berkshire has a very impressive location high in Caversham, at the BBC's famous monitoring centre.
We had been somewhat briefed by telephone before the interview as to the type of questions that we would face on air. Perhaps inevitably there was some focus on the potential sexual element of naturism which we were quick to boot back into touch. Maggie aired a theory that any visit to a naturist establishment is invariably instigated by the male partner of a couple. I confirmed that in our case Chris was indeed the inaugurator of our first visit to Heritage, encouraged, perhaps, by magazines such as Health and Efficiency. Maggie was evidently not familiar with H&E so did not pursue that line of questioning!
Maggie tried to get listeners to phone in with their thoughts and experiences. Ian - on his way back - did hear one caller now in his 70s. "We used to climb the trees to peer in - we thought they were a weird lot ....", but then Maggie asked what he thought now ... "oh I'd join them, they had the right idea !!! "
Fortunately one of our members, Margaret, recorded the interview and Ian has now posted that recording on the Heritage website, so I would encourage you to listen to it there.
By the way, if anyone else wants to help promote naturism on radio or TV, the CCBN Website lists lots of companies just crying out for naturists. Apparently, Radio Berkshire liked us, and they've asked Ian if they can visit Heritage with a radio car.
Then the rains set in and the rest is history!
The President's introduction mentions the raft of new members of all ages. Here Richard and Louise explain how they came to HERITAGE.
Hi guys, we have been asked to introduce ourselves and explain how we became members of Heritage. Rich was first introduced to naturism quite a few years back, before we met. When out in his power boat around Poole with some friends, he happened upon Studland beach. After stopping on the beach for a break and realising that everyone was staring at the 'bunch of idiots wearing wetsuits!', Rich decided to strip off, and has never looked back.
After we met, Rich took me out on his boat and across to Studland, telling me as we got there, 'by the way, this is a naturist beach!' 1 did not hesitate, and really enjoyed the day. We went back a fair few times in the six years we have been together, but after two rain soaked summers, and selling our boat, it became a bit of a hassle to go there a lot.
That was when Rich found the Heritage website. We looked at a few naturist clubs and chose Heritage because it was the closest! In fact it is only a 15 minute drive from Farnborough where we live, and so it is just perfect for popping down after work as well as weekends, with the added convenience that if the weather suddenly turns bad, then we are not far from home, unlike Studland.
After e-mailing lan, and speaking to Vince on the phone, we arranged a time to venture over to have a look around. As we drove to the gates we weren't sure what to expect, and we agreed, if either one of us was unhappy with anything, then we would leave straight away. In truth, both Rich and I had a number of fears. Would Heritage be a cross between 'Carry on camping' and 'Hi De Mr'?! Would there be friends in their little cliques not wanting young couples to come into their club? Would 1 be the only female member
mins of fame
Sometimes we refer media requests directly onto members who might consider saying YES! Here Alan and Julia did an interview for BEST magazine.
Let the story begin..... We were approached by Ian (hmm), because a nation-wide magazine, Best, wanted to do an article on people and their "strange holidays" (not that a naturist holiday is strange by any means, surely). We jumped at the chance of being famous even if it was just for a week, and also for the small appearance fee. (not so small - ed.)
The entire article was written from an interview that was conducted by a journalist over the phone. Julia went first and gave a very comprehensive insight into naturism and us. Then it was my turn. I gave my version of events and the journalist seemed quite happy with it. However the article that finally appeared really only featured what Julia said. But I'm not worried as I probably added little to what she had said.
As for the pictures, we had a photographer come to my house and turn my living room into a studio. He had lights, flashers, umbrellas, back drops and things that went "Bing" every now and then. All too technical for me!
He stayed for 3 hours and took 100 photos. In the end only 2 appeared in the magazine. We felt like film stars.
They also wanted some photos of us on a naturist holiday that we'd taken, but I take 99% of the pics, hence there are very few of me. But we did manage to find one!
June 8th was the release date and boy didn't it take a long time in coming! We zoomed down to the newsagents as soon as they opened and got 2 copies. The article was good and there were copies floating around Heritage over the following week. I did hear that a young lady read the mag and decided to come along for a trial visit. ( and joined - ed.)
Being a 'family magazine' they blurred out our naughty bits in the photo. I was a bit disappointed about the size of the "fuzzy" bit. They could have made it bigger!
( no they couldn't have - ed. )
We had seen from the website that there was an outdoor pool, but we weren't expecting the whole range of sports activities that are available and the new plans for improving the club including building a new sauna. There is just one other improvement that 1 would love to see, and that 1 have heard may be a possibility in the future, which is. an expansion into the woodland area around the club to give a lovely area for walks.
It feels like we have been coming to Heritage for ages, we are getting to know other members and making good friends. The social events are great fun, and we shall enjoy getting involved with many more to come. Our only regret is:- why didn't we join sooner!!!
Planning Permission Granted
The new steam sauna building has been granted planning permission with the minimum of additional conditions. We hope to have the base prepared over the winter and the shell of the building erected in the New Year.
The replacement for the rental mobile home by a recreational residential chalet has also received planning permission, but it is surrounded with a lot of additional conditions against which we shall probably wish to argue.
We have good relations with Wokingham DC Planning dept but sometimes they need a little 'encouragement' to see our point of view. We have had several visits from council officials during the planning process and - we are delighted to say - we are considered a good site.
40 years separate these two photographs of the club taken from almost the same angle. The fountain was 'lost' 20 years ago and the new conservatory arrived after the Millennium.
2004 Suntrekker rally at Heritage
Andy and Ruth visited Heritage in the Suntrekkers'Rally in June. I asked them if they'd write for Sundial on Suntrekking. Ruth kindly wrote this:
Andy and I joined the Suntrekkers just over 4 years ago. At the time I lived in Bristol and Andy lived in Orpington. We had visited a landed club, so, with no area to look for a club in, no club having taken our fancy and a campervan ready to go, Suntrekking seemed the obvious answer. We felt that we could try out many clubs and were not limited to any one area.
Our first rally was at Western Sun Folk in Monmouthshire; the weather was rather dubious but we were very pleased with the warm welcome we received from the other trekkers and club members alike. We soon realised that Suntrekkers not only provided a means of visiting many clubs but also ensured friendly and often-familiar faces, frequent coffee mornings, afternoon teas and organised boules games.
Twenty-three rallies later, and with 11 different clubs visited, we feel that we now have a better idea of what Suntrekking is all about and we love it. Every club we have visited has had something different to offer: different people, different facilities, different surroundings, but they have all been friendly and fun.
The routine of a rally is followed, starting with morning coffee on Saturday and including, at some point, a BBQ, afternoon tea, a boules game and a perhaps a Quiz (which we never win). None of these are compulsory but everyone around joins in and it gives a bit of an anchor to the holiday.
Our latest rally was at Heritage in Berkshire. The facilities were brilliant: a warm swimming pool, a sauna, boules pistes, miniten and even shuffleboard, a new game for us. We stayed for 4 nights and, as we have come to expect at any naturist venue, everyone was friendly.
The Rally Officers were, as always, in charge of welcoming everyone, organising things and being nice. They also showed us where all the facilities were, organised morning coffee on Saturday, afternoon tea on Monday, a BBQ, a meal in a local pub and several games. Thankfully they didn't organise a quiz so we couldn't come last again! Heritage had arranged a get- together on Saturday night in the clubhouse in which their band 'Natural Images' played and everyone had a great time.
As usual the other trekkers were a mix of familiar faces, people we hadn't seen for a couple of years and 'new to us' people. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, we certainly did and we should like to thank all the members of Heritage for sharing their club with us, and the Rally Officers for their work in organising it all.
Andy & Ruth
Ray and Kath had their 50th wedding anniversary celebrated to the sounds of Heritage's group 'Natural Images'.
A wet May Day at the Naturist Foundation saw our team come 9th which was a far worse placing than the millimetres by which we actually lost. .So Heritage doesn't get to go to Europe this year - oh well.
Get me out of Here
I'M A NATURIST GET ME OUT OF HERE was played with stunning reality. Four intrepid naturists were despatched to the jungles of Heritage and had to perform fearsome feats of endurance to escape. Alan failed to win despite sneezing live maggots out of his nose! Louise was rumoured to have secured final victory. Brilliant entertainment!
Heritage took over all of Dilly Dally's for a ( you guessed it) WET mid-May weekend. It was a riot! Nick + Glo, and Ian + Josepha tried to sneak off to their chalets for an early ( it was past midnight - ed.) cuddle but had not banked on the Heritage touring ensemble serenades. ( That was a mean trick - ed.)
Next year is already booked!
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 ] .