email us home

Newsletter 10: December 2007

Editor: Peter Hayward


We have had a most interesting year since the previous AGM. Changes have been made to the traditional approach. To save costs members are now e-mailed with breaking news and notices of events. Those determined to stay traditional are sent their information by snail mail. With changes in postal rates, this can be expensive, so I urge all those members to seriously consider getting on line!

Sadly we have lost members but not through dis-interest. Three members have died and they are remembered elsewhere in this Newsletter. It comes as a shock as we all think we are invincible.

I would like to thank Cliff Jones and John Harding for writing the obituraries in respect of Harry Langley and Wesley Pentland. I have had to condense Howard's obituary. Such was the man, the topic could fill the Newsletter.

On a happier note we have gained new members.

A belated welcome to David and Pat Kent, stalwarts of the Greater London Region.

More recently Pippa Isbell who was ABTA's Public Affairs person for 4 years 1982 to 1986 has joined.

We also greet Reinhard Wiersum (ex TOSG & National Council), now recently retired from Cadogan

Our thanks are extended to ABTA for hosting the post AGM dinner. Justin Fleming gave the welcome speech on behalf of ABTA. He is heavily involved with current ABTA events, but stressed that he enjoyed meeting those who had contributed so greatly to ABTA in the past.

From our Chairman

Margaret Jobling

The AGM this year was once again a great success with 30 members attending the meeting and 33 joining Justin Fleming, the ABTA President for dinner at Newman Street in the evening. We are most fortunate to be entertained so lavishly by ABTA.

You will receive the minutes of the AGM in due course but I feel that those of you who were unable to attend the meeting would like to know that due to ill health our founder treasurer, Howard Neve resigned and that Michael Austin was elected as our new treasure. Sadly Howard never recovered from an operation and died on November 18, our sympathies are with Jean and her family.

Following the formal AGM agenda, the meeting was addressed by Mark Tanzer the Director General of ABTA. He gave a most illuminating talk on the present state of the travel industry and the changing role that ABTA has adopted to meet the new and challenging needs of its members.

You will be delighted to know that Mark has agreed to update us on the current years' developments by giving a speech to our next AGM which will be held on 26th September 2008. This will again be followed by dinner at Newman Street. (note the date in your diary now ).

Many of you will know that I didn't stay in Newman Street for the dinner, but took advantage of the cheapest and fastest taxi that I have ever used in London.

Blue lights flashing and bells ringing, it took me to UCL Hospital, where over a period of twenty four hours it was established that I had NOT suffered a heart attack but had contracted a viral infection.

I am now fully recovered and would like to thank everyone who contacted me to wish me well. I was extremely moved by the concern shown by so very many of you. Thank you. A personal thank you to Roger who took such care of me during my hospital stay. A special thanks to Paul Cresswell who stepped nobly into the breach to respond to Justin's welcoming speech at the ABTA dinner.

Your confidence in electing me for a third year of office as your Chairman is much appreciated, however, it has become a bit of a tradition that the Chair serves for three years and so you may wish to start thinking about a successor, for election at our next AGM.

It is very near to our Christmas Lunch, again to be held at the Four Pillars Hotel. We have always enjoyed a good time in Oxford and I look forward to seeing many of you and your partners again this year. If you have never managed to attend one of our Christmas "do's" you don't know what you are missing! Do try to come next year if you can't make it this.

May I express my sincere thanks to all committee members for the work done by them on behalf of us all.

Finally, I wish the compliments of the season to everyone.

Harry Langley

Harry Langley and I had been close friends for over 40 years following a chance meeting in Barcelona in the 60's. He was perhaps the most effervescent person I have ever met; a ready, twinkling, mischievous smile and the trademark brushing of his moustache accompanied by a hearty guffaw announced Harry as being in fine form.

In the 70's he became involved in chartering aircraft to take Liverpool supporters to away games in Europe, at the same time Alwyn, my brother, and Roger Corkhill started doing the same for Manchester United fans. Soon it made sense to combine their talents and so began a long and successful enterprise. My involvement in this was purely as a pal and I was privileged to attend many games involving both clubs.

Harry was an active member in the Northwest ABTA scene and as a founder member and Secretary of the National Association of Independent Travel Agents (NAITA) he was very instrumental in its early success. Along with Ronnie Booth and Howard Neve he attended the very first gathering from which the Old Abtarians was to emerge.

For all his gregariousness and bonhomie Harry was essentially a family man; loved by his wife and children and adored by his grandchildren.

Despite suffering from ill health for several years before he died of a massive heart attack following surgery for a broken hip, he bore this burden, together with caring for his wife during her long illness, with a cheerfulness which I always found mind boggling.

Harry is survived by his wife Kay and children Paula and Guy to whom we express our deepest sympathy. The travel industry in the north of England has lost an icon and I, a dear friend.

Cliff Jones.

Wesley Pentland

I was very fortunate to have known and served under Wesley Pentland at ABTA for many years and was saddened to hear of his passing away on 23 September.

Wesley was a champion of the Independent Retail Agent and the champion of the Northern Ireland Travel industry for many years and devoted much of his time to promoting and defending both causes.

As the recognised voice of the travel industry in Northern Ireland for over 20 years, he started his career working at Portadown Railway Station, went on to manage Co-op Travel in Belfast before taking over as Manager of Rigby Travel in Belfast in 1967. He bought the agency in 1978 and re-named it Wesley Pentland Travel.

Having served on many ABTA committees, including the Aviation Committee, where I was privileged to work with him, he became President of the Association in 1993 and worked tirelessly for the benefit of the membership. He commuted regularly from Belfast to London. He was also an active Chairman of the Institute of Travel and Tourism.

Apart from his business involvement in the travel industry, he served the Salvation Army for over 50 years and was a Divisional Envoy. He preached extensively in his travels around the world.

He was also active in the political arena in Northern Ireland as a member of the Democratic Unionist Party's Assembly Team, where he was Front Bench spokesman for the travel industry from 1982-1986 representing the North Down Constituency.

He will be sadly missed by everyone in the travel industry, his political colleagues and his many friends in the Salvation Army.

John Harding

Howard Neve

Howard was a stalwart of ABTA and believed in the Association. As well as being Managing Director of Towns Travel he also attended on ABTA business over a period of time from 1974 up to 1994. He was a National Council member (1980-82, 1985-89); Treasurer (1985 -1989); served on many committees viz Retail Agents Council (1978-82, 1983-89); Finance Committee (1980-82, 1984-89) of which he was Chairman from 1985-1989; Bonding Committee (1981, 1983-89); Membership Committee (1984-88 Chairman 1985-88); Railways Committee (1974-1988 of which he was twice Chairman 1978-82 & 1984-85).

He was highly regarded by members in the North West and sat on their Committee for 20 years (1974-1994). He was Chairman 1978-79.

ABTA President Justin Fleming described Howard "as being a well known and respected character in the travel industry. As well as being a successful hardworking businessman, he was dedicated to his roles at ABTA. After a full decade of commitments to the association he promised to leave ABTA politics behind for good and concentrate his efforts on his immaculate garden".

When he retired as Chairman of the Rail Committee, a fantastic surprise was organised by Doug Chapman. A trip was planned on the Settle to Carlisle line and Howard was allowed on the footplate. Imagine his surprise when stopping at one station, he discovered all his friends from the ABTA heirarchy were there, waiting to buy him lunch. The thrill of driving the train was Howard's special remembrance.

He was a founder member of the Old Abtarians and was immediately voted as Treasurer, Due to ill health he stood down earlier this year. He will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts are with Jean and the Family.

Peter Hayward

Picture Parade

Extracts from the AGM September 2007

Mark Tanzer

Our interested members

Mark and Margaret

ABTA Dinner

L-R: Paul Cresswell, Richard English, Brian Cook, Roger Lambert, Mary Cooke

Two Presidents

L-R: Ann Cooper-Reeve, David Kent, John MacNeill, Diana Hanks

Congratulations Vic and Maureen

Howard Neve's railway treat

Nostalgia; how many do you recognise ?

Diary Dates

April14/15 2008 - Torquay Break
June 11 2008 - Balmoral Cruise
September 26 - AGM & ABTA Dinner