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Newsletter 15: August 2010

Editor: Doug Chapman

From our Chairman

Paul Cresswell

I am writing at the moment in the South West of France in a temperature of 37 degrees, so I can only sympathise with those on staycation as I understand the weather at home is pretty rubbish. However, I think the Outbound Travel Business needs a bit of luck at the moment with the spate of collapses that are going on.

This brings me quite nicely to our AGM and lunch on the 6th October where we hope to have the current Chairman of ABTA coming to give us an update on the current activities. So we look forward to seeing as many members as possible for both the AGM and at the lunch afterwards, which this year includes partners.

We have recruited several new members this year so we do look forward to a good turnout.

I think elsewhere in the newsletter we talk about the visit to Torquay where once again we had a superb time and again many thanks to those who organised it, in particular Mary, Roger and of course our guide and mentor Alan.

Can I remind everyone of the splendid offers from Fred Olsen for cruises and I know several members have taken up the Friends and Family programmes and thoroughly enjoyed a cruise at a bargain price.

I must sign off now as the pool is looking very inviting for a swim before lunch so I look forward to seeing you all on the 6th October - complete with umbrellas !

For Your Diary

The Eleventh Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 6th October at 11 30 in the Senate Room, Imperial Hotel, 61-66 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB.

This will be followed by the Members Lunch to be held at 13 30 for 13 45 at Porters Restaurant, 17 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH.

The annual Christmas Lunch will again be at the Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel on Tuesday 14TH December.

The People Place

It is very pleasing that six people have decided to join the Old Abtarians in recent months and we extend a warm welcome to Christine Blocksidge, Penny Cooke, Mike Grindrod, Alex McLeman, Dave Stafford and Stewart Wild.

As most of you will already know, we were saddened to hear of the loss in May of Eric Sutherland, the ABTA President from 1983 to 1986. We add our own to the many tributes paid to him. He fully supported the Old Abtarians and regularly attended the AGM.

Member Offers: Fred Olsen Cruises

As our Chairman aptly reminds us, there are excellent benefits offered to members by Fred Olsen Cruises.

In years past; two groups of Old Abtarians have relished the chance to relax with friends and colleagues amidst Fred Olsen's warm hospitality. The first group cruise was aboard the Braemar for a week's sojourn amongst the towering splendour of the Norwegian Fiords - just don't forget a raincoat!

Following this success, warmer climes were sought in a subsequent year on the good ship Balmoral, as we cruised from the glistening domes of Venice to the White Cliffs of Dover.

Hopefully at some time in the future, it will be possible to arrange another cruise for members to enjoy in each other's company.

But many individual members have taken advantage of the exciting and extraordinarily special value of Fred Olsen "Friends and Family" offers made available to Old Abtarians.

Since Veronica and I were two of those members who did just that last March, we can amply attest to the quality and style of the Fred Olsen experience.

We were lucky enough to wallow for two weeks on the Braemar as she took us on a leisurely idyll around the sun drenched Caribbean Islands.

Choice of flights was limited, but Aberdeen (or Belfast) departures are actually not that expensive to get to! In fact, both rail and BA strikes were looming for our return, but we still got a good advance price back to LHR with BMI.

Starting and ending the cruise in Barbados is an amazing contrast to Miami or Fort Lauderdale. We descended from the plane onto buses expecting to go to the terminal buildings for immigration, etc. etc. No, this bus will take you straight to the docks and your luggage will be delivered directly to your cabin!

On the return, it was necessary to clear Barbados immigration on the ship. "Did you have a nice birthday?" the friendly officer was sharp enough to ask Veronica and she quickly replied that the breakfast delivered to her cabin of fresh orange juice, whole lobsters, Eggs Benedict and accompanying breads and a bottle of champagne started the day most memorably.

We really enjoy the size and style of Fred Olsen ships and the whole cruise still stirs warm memories. So, a test ...... Which is the Braemar?

Member Offers: Superbreak

Another exceptional facility for members is the special discount on all Superbreak hotel products and those of associated companies.

While the discount has recently been reduced from 25% to 20%, it does still offer excellent value and can substantially undercut other pricing offers at specific properties.

Again personal experience is the best recommendation.

Just this weekend, Veronica and I stayed at the new City Inn, Leeds for a room price of £55 - including breakfast! And in November, we already have DBB and 21 days parking at the Gatwick Worth Hotel for £104. Doesn't seem bad to us!

Pictures are better than words

Devonian Days

In late April, this large party of Old Abtarians immensely enjoyed their spring break at the Palace Hotel in Torquay.

It was a highly appropriate venue, for as Brian Cooke's Press Release and Travel Weekly reminded us, it was the location for the ABTA Convention of 1969.

And for Peter and Jackie Hayward, it's significance was even greater. When Peter lived in Torquay and managed a travel agency there, his favourite watering hole was the Palace Hotel and its' appeal increased immeasurably when he met Jackie within its portals.

The excellent hotel service and the company of friends made for a fantastic break and the icing on the cake was the personal tour of South Devon organised by Alan Partridge. Another great success for the organisers, Roger Lambert and Mary Cooke