What were you doing back in 1964? Ok, so quite a few of you were yet to
enter the world, and to some it will seem like only yesterday.
I was just eight and the nearest I got to Naturism that year was laughing at those saucy McGill nudist colony postcards on a family holiday in Swanage. Oh, so close to Studland! If only I had known and been older!
While the Searchers were serenading us in the number one spot with Don’t Throw Your Love Away, representatives from 50 of the 70 Naturist clubs were getting together on Sunday, 10 May in the Fountain Room of the Royal London Hotel in Bloomsbury to formally accept the Constitution for the new Central Council for British Naturism and sign the Founders’ Charter.
CCBN was formed by the unification of the British Sun Bathing Association, founded in 1943, and the Federation of British Sun Clubs, founded in 1953. The path to unity started in 1961 as clubs began to realise that having two national organisations made no sense, and a single organisation would better represent the interests of both the autonomous clubs and individual
Naturists who did not belong to clubs.
The vesting date of the new CCBN was set as 1 July, 1964, by which time the Searchers had been knocked off the top of the hit parade by Roy Orbison with It’s Over. Fortunately, that is far from the case and, whilst we have had
some trials and tribulations during our first 50 years, we are still here and planning to be here for many more years to come.
Did you know that for the first 18 years our “headquarters” was a cabin in the grounds of The Naturist Foundation in Orpington? We moved to rented offices in Northampton in 1982 and purchased the Wycliffe Road office in 1994. Where have those twenty years gone, eh?
And whilst clubs have come and gone over the years, we still have around 70 landed clubs and our Naturist swims have risen from none in 1964 to around 40 today.
So how are we going to mark this momentous year? It all began with the signing of the Founders’ Charter, so we are replicating that historic moment with a new Charter that will be taken round the country to be signed by present day clubs. We’re working up some novel ideas to get the Charter from club to club to generate some media interest and raise the BN profile.
We’ll be giving an anniversary slant to our regional and national events this year and regions are finalising plans to make this happen. Individual clubs are also planning special anniversary events, so make sure you watch out for announcements about these in this magazine, our website and your club and regional newsletters.
As you would expect, we are selling an anniversary keepsake – a pin badge, see picture – and we have our special 50th anniversary logo this year – have you noticed it on your new membership card? We’ve also produced a new leaflet giving a potted history of our first 50 years which is available on the website and from the office in printed form, along with other posters and publicity material to help promote BN and bring in new members.
We’ve put together a compact exhibition explaining what Naturism and BN are all about, highlighting some of our milestones since 1964 and also looking to the future. We hope this will be of interest to existing BN members, but the real benefit will be gained from encouraging non-members to join us and help us with our work and, of course, getting new converts to the joys of Naturism.
We have already identified some venues for this exhibition, but if your club would like it at its 50th event or, better still, if you know of suitable non-Naturist venues where our exhibition is likely to be well received, please do let me know. You can email me at email@example.com
Over the years BN, clubs and individuals have helped with the production of many films and documentaries to promote and normalise Naturism. These include the BBC Man Alive programme on Naturism in 1969, Let’s Go Naked,
screened on BBC1 to an estimated 20 million viewers in 1979, the Heritage video, Educating Julie, in 1984, the Open Space programme Full Frontal in 1992, Diary of a Teenage Nudist in 2004 and My Daughter the Teenage
Nudist in 2012.
Wouldn’t it be good to have a film documenting our anniversary year? Well, we are in talks to see if we can make that happen.
Now, all of this costs money. Have you bought your tickets for our Anniversary Prize Draw? Or sold some to your friends? I’m pleased to see that already we’ve raised over £1,000 – keep going!
We can’t quite run to the Mini City motor car that was the first prize in our silver jubilee draw, but there are nevertheless some great prizes on offer including a 42 inch flat screen TV, an iPad and a laptop. In the Sixties you would have needed to watch Thunderbirds or Dr Who to get a glimpse of them. The monies raised will help fund both our anniversary events and our regular work. Your tickets were included with your copy of the Winter issue of this magazine, but you can ask for more from the office.
Finally, whilst it is BN’s anniversary year, our organisation is its members – in other words, you. So if you’ve got ideas for something special to mark this great year for us, share it with your club or get together a group of friends to bring your own celebration to life.
Perhaps you could generate some publicity for BN or your group by inviting the local paper or TV station? Or take some photos to share in a future edition of the magazine? Our next issue is a milestone number 200 and we’ll be bringing more news about the anniversary, as well as covering events that have taken place or have still to be enjoyed.