email us home

Newsletter 11: June 2008

Editor: Peter Hayward


Changes are taking place in 2008. The fuel costs are making the travel Industry create ways of recuperation - surcharges, hold baggage fees for example.

ABTA is also changing. It is now ABTA - The Travel Association replacing the reference to travel agents. Mark Tanzer says "ABTA is a dynamic organisation that has been changing substantially in the last two years to better serve members and consumers".

ABTA has amalgamated with the Federation of Tour Operators but will still operate out of Newman Street. The FTO will become a formal Committee of the ABTA Board.

Mark Tanzer is the Speaker at our AGM on September 26th and he will update us on all the new developments. So make sure that date is in your diary for the afternoon and also for the dinner in the evening!

Changes will be made to the personnel who have worked so hard on behalf of our Association. We need a new Chairman and new members for the Executive Committee including event organisers. Full details and nomination papers will be sent out with the AGM notices, which will be Ann's last role before she stands down as Hon. Sec.

This will be my last Newsletter. I have served the Old Abtarians for the past 6 years, as Chairman and on the Executive Committee, and I now believe this is the time to change. Thank you for your support over those years.

Doug Chapman has volunteered to produce the Newsletters after the AGM.

From our Chairman

Margaret Jobling

I can't believe how our little trips seem to get better and better! Torquay was fantastic, the hotel Imperial was very good and friendly, the weather was fine and quite warm for early April and the company was superb. But unquestionably the highlight was our day out, most generously provided by Alan Partridge.

We spent the whole day traversing Dartmoor on one of Alan's smaller coaches which meant that we were able to travel though some narrow lanes usually barred to normal tourist coach travellers. Alan drove the coach himself and gave us some extremely interesting commentary.

Several stops were made throughout the day including the highest Tor on Dartmoor where a few of our number climbed to its top. The excursion ended with a visit to the wonderfully serene Buckfast Abbey. Apart from enjoying the splendour of the Abbey, most members took the opportunity to indulge in a Devonshire Cream Tea (I'm still counting the calories).

Alan was assisted by his wife Ann who together had clearly planned and reconnoitred our day trip in great detail.

Bryan Morton organised the event and our thanks must go to him for our enjoyment of such a successful Spring Break.

From a cash collection, Bryan bought a briefcase for Alan which he really did need and the excess cash was donated to the Boy Scouts Association of which Alan is Commissioner for Devon. This concluded a superb little break.

Many thanks go to everyone who contributed to the trip.

We will all be hoping for a good summer I feel sure. I find that gardening, although still enjoyable, seems to take much longer than it did 10 years ago! So I decided to leave it to someone else and take advantage of yet another much discounted cruise. (Thanks again to Bryan and Nigel, Fred Olsen Marketing Director.) The cruise is on 11 June for 12 days so no doubt we will have returned by the time you read this newsletter.

At the AGM to be held on 26th September you will be asked to elect several new officers to the committee. Amazingly it will be three years since I took office and the time has come for me to stand down.

I have enjoyed my time at the helm and fully appreciate all the valuable help that I have received from ALL your committee members. I will remain as an ex officio member of the committee for one year and will endeavour to help the new members as best I can.

Sadly we have lost several of our members during the last three years all of whom will be missed. However, I am pleased to say that we have recruited some new members and our number remains at 63.

Finally I offer my sincere thanks to you all for your most valued fellowship. Long may it continue.

Catch Up News

Some useful websites have come to my attention. First and the most important is our very own website. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Colin Brain, our Press Officer, in negotiating favourable rates our website is now up and running viz:

Well done Colin you have made a great contact there. Please Members, use the website as important matters will be posted as and when available.

I don't know about you, but when I retired my free copies of the Travel papers retired also. If you feel the need to keep in touch then you can without paying a subscription. At least as far as Travel Weekly is concerned. Log on to: and on the right hand side of the screen under the front cover of the latest edition of Travel Weekly, you will see an offer to view the latest edition on line. Click and the magazine will load onto your screen. Click on the image to enlarge the print.

Sadly I can find, as yet, no similar free offer from TTG. Do you know?

If you have a method, please contact: or

A little while back I heard, and I am sure other members also heard, from Miranda Castro who has set up a Memorial Website to honour Roland, who was our first President. It can be accessed at:

There are over 300 photographs taken by Roland plus comments from friends and colleagues. Miranda is actively seeking material to make the Memorial an ongoing site. Photos and reminiscences are welcome. Contact Miranda at: or

December Lunch

We had a great time at the 'near to Oxford' venue last December. Many thanks to Roger Lambert for organising the "do" and I understand plans are already made for this year's luncheon. The date Tuesday, December 09 so make a note in your diary. We all realise the cost of moving around the country is going up, but at least it is a free lunch and with good company.

Will the Abtarians meet further North in 2009? Buxton was a success in 2007, so maybe a repeat at another venue may be possible. Any suggestions from our Northern contingent?

Torquay Trip

The organised break in Torquay at the Imperial hotel was well supported by members, their wives and Oscar the dog. True to form no-one stopped talking and memories were re-introduced and recalled.

The following letter has been received from Alan Partridge who organised our 'Day Excursion'.

"It was with great pleasure that Ann and I were able to take the Old Abtarians Group on tour over Dartmoor during the Spring Dinner event in Torquay.

There were so many things that could have gone wrong that were out of our control especially the weather. Even this went right and the sun shined for most of the day.

I offered this tour, because I wanted all of you to experience the delights of "Gods Chosen Country", I did it because I wanted to welcome you all to our territory, and because it gave us the additional chance to socialise one with the other for an extended period. Old Abtarians is an excellent organisation. Without obligations, but with strong friendly associations whenever we meet.

May I say, that I did nothing much in organising this tour - This is what I do, on a casual basis.

I am delighted that you all enjoyed the day. That achieved the one and only objective. The Gift that you made was totally unnecessary, I did it because I wanted to do it. Nevertheless, I do really appreciate the Brief Case, especially as the one I am currently using for Scouting purposes, has started to show signs of senile de-generation, and about to pass it's sell by date.

May I say THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. I always feel a little embarrassed in accepting gratuities and gifts especially from friends. I was only doing what I said I would do and nothing more, and I am so pleased that you all enjoyed it. I look forward to being able to do the same thing again some other time.

Alan W.Partridge".

Off on the Day Excursion

On the Moors and Oscar