It was decided that in view of local interest shown and because of a lack of good cross-country transport facilities, it would be desirable to establish a Holiday Fellowship Rambling Club in Basildon, to be known as the Basildon & District Holiday Fellowship Group.
The inaugural meeting of the Holiday Fellowship members living in the Basildon New Town area was held at the home of the founder of the Club, Mrs. Joan Barker of 2 Brempsons, Ghyllgrove, Basildon, Essex on Wednesday, 29th November 1961 at 8 p.m. Joan was duly elected at this meeting as our first Secretary.
It was agreed that Mr. Jack Curtis of the Leigh-on-Sea & District Holiday Fellowship Group act as Chairman for the evening.
The first Committee elected at this meeting was as follows:
Chairman – Bruce Riddell
Secretary – Joan Barker
Treasurer – Mrs. Beatrice Peters
Rambles Secretary – Miss Elsie Lamb
Social Secretary – Mrs. Muriel Aldis
Committee Members – Mrs. Pam Skinner and Ron Stignant
During this meeting it was agreed that subscriptions would be 5/- for Adult members, 8/- for Married couples and 2/6d for juniors up to 18 years of age.
The Club’s first walk took place on Sunday, 7th January 1962. It was led by Ron Stignant and started from Langdon Hills to Horndon-on-the-Hill where they stopped at ‘The Bell’ P.H. for tea and biscuits. In the early days, the Club did not offer members a weekly ramble, as is the case now. Interestingly, there were however, walks on both Saturdays and Sundays, which is not the case today.
The Club’s first coach ramble took place on Sunday 24th June 1962. Members were requested to book their seats on the “X20” service direct with their local Eastern National Agent, or at the Cherrydown Office. The fare was 8/7d inclusive of the Tilbury Ferry Service. The coach left the Century Cinema, Pitsea at 8.55am and returned from The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells at 7.15pm. The ramble itself was in the Tunbridge Wells area and was led by the Secretary Joan Barker.
At the Committee meeting on Tuesday, 20th November 1962, the Secretary agreed to apply for Group Membership to the Ramblers’ Association. The March 1963 newsletter mentioned that the Group is now affiliated with the Ramblers’ Association and that on Good Friday, 12th April 1963; a special Ramblers’ excursion train would be run by the Eastern Region of British Railways.
From Ilford dep.9.47am Fare 18/3d
From Shenfield dep.10.08 Fare 16/-
To Wickham Market arr.11.30am
To Harlesford arr.11.38am
To Parham arr.11.49am
To Framlingham arr.11.55am
The line was specially opened, as there was no regular passenger train service to Framlingham anymore thanks to Dr. Beeching.
In the April 1966 newsletter it was mentioned that the younger members of the Club were going to form a youth section in the group with the purpose of arranging events of special interest for the 16 to 25-age group. Their first ramble was on 1st May 1966, meeting at the Basildon Town Centre Wimpy Bar and finishing with an evening of pop records, how things have changed, we haven’t got one member in this age category now.
At the A.G.M. on 25th October 1969, it was agreed that the Group should become a joint HF/CHA Club. There was much discussion about the new title of the group, and eventually an amendment was that the group should be known as the Basildon & District HF/CHA Rambling Club.