Seventy Years of Torbay Rambling Club – The Inaugural Tea at The Balholm Hotel

The Torbay Rambling Club was formed after Mary Woods and Barbara Evans wrote to the Holiday Fellowship in London and to the Cooperative (later known as Countryside) Holidays Association in Manchester for guidance in setting up a local rambling group. The general secretaries of these two organisations welcomed the proposed club but stipulated that the title should be The Torbay CHA/HF Rambling Club. Both organisations sent a list of local people who were members, or who had been on one or other of their walking holidays. In September 1950 Mary and Barbara wrote to all 42  asking if they would be interested in forming a local group, and inviting them to the inaugural tea at the Balholm Hotel, Paignton, at a cost of 2/-each. Fourteen people attended on the 11 November 1950. In the invitation letter the hope was expressed that they would have a jolly and useful afternoon. The first walk was arranged for the following Saturday from Bolton Cross in Brixham, to Berry Head and on to KIngswear. It rained. A second meeting was held at the Balholm on 16 December 1950, numbers swelled to 18, and the club was officially formed.

The Balholm later became the Mermaid Hotel, and is now the Hyde Dendy, or No. 18, after its address, 18 Esplanade Road

Information from 50 Years of Rambling with the Torbay Rambling Club by Mary Carter