"I am a slow walker, but I never walk back."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~
Stockton Rambling Club was founded in 1952 the year in which King George VI died, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, and Britain was at war in Korea. There was no way-marking of walks, few roadside fingerposts, no two-and-a-half-inch maps, and no breathable clothing.
According to founder-member Joan Firth, the idea for a rambling club started with Eddie Boggon and Doris Bronsdon when they both worked in the Wages Section of Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, Billingham. They wrote to the Countrywide Holidays Association (CHA) and the Holiday Fellowship (HF) requesting a list of people from the area who had attended their centres. Letters were sent to these people proposing a meeting to discuss the idea of forming a club.
On 31 October 1952 forty-four people turned up at the Newtown Methodist Church Schoolroom, hired for five shillings, to discuss the formation of a Stockton and District CHA and HF Rambling Club. Since there was already a CHA and HF Club at Middlesbrough some people questioned the need for a new one. However, there was enough support for a new club, and a programme of three rambles was compiled. The first Club walk was scheduled to take place in early November around Great Ayton. Eddie Boggon was elected Honorary Secretary and Miss J Dresser Treasurer. Others present included Doris Bronsdon, Frances Harrison, Connie Johnson, Doris Williams, Jean Scott, Gordon Boyd and Cathy Porter.
On 21 November 1952, a General Meeting was chaired by Alec Falconer, President of the Middlesbrough Club in "Harland's Room" of William Harland & Sons, Accountants, Finkle Street, Stockton. Elected to the Committee were Doris Bronsdon, Doris Williams, Frances Harrison, Ken Perks, Eric Hardcastle and Charles Brittain. Three further rambles were noted. An annual subscription was set at four shillings (20p), which lasted up to 1968. A club meeting was to be held on the third Friday of each month, with the first on 12 December. The first committee meeting was held on 5 December 1952.
Three more fortnightly walks were arranged with Eric Hardcastle, Eddie Boggon, and Ken Perks, the first known walk leaders. Two of these walks were on a Sunday and a third on a Saturday, but it soon became apparent that the Sunday walks were more popular.
The name of the Club was to be "Stockton-on-Tees and District CHA and HF Rambling Club", but in practice programmes etc were headed "Stockton and District CHA and HF Rambling Club". New members would be invited for three probationary walks before admittance. Nine club rules were drawn up and the Club was run with these few rules until a constitution was drawn up in 1960 and adopted in 1961 after approval by the CHA and HF. Although amended occasionally it remains mostly unchanged.
In order to see a fuller version of the Club's Historical Narrative, along with a list of the names of Officers and Officials (1952-2017), please click on the PDF icons below.