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Our new North West Regional Coordinator....
We’re delighted to welcome a new member to the British Naturism Executive Committee - Amanda Lee - who had been elected to the role of North West Regional Co-ordinator. Here, she introduces herself…
I found Naturism by accident, I had never gone naked, been topless on a beach, walked around the house naked. It had never even registered in my head. By chance a friend who asked if I’d go on holiday, having discovered Naturism working in the Caribbean, and would like to try. I googled a specific part of France, he wanted to try. I googled the wrong thing and as my Grandmother would say, “not on your Nellie!'.
That was late 2017. I started 2018 with a new mind set, after a few turbulent years, I was determined to get my mental health and positive attitude back on track. I read self help guides, and was influenced by those who advised me to 'feel the fear and do it any way' and 'just say yes'. When a friend mentioned British Naturism, I never knew it existed. Surely it’s too cold in the UK? I was loaned a copy of British Naturism magazine and I asked a million questions. With ‘just say yes' still fresh in my mind, I said 'yes!’.
A week later, I was at the North West Naturists swim in Manchester, and I haven't looked back! I was obviously nervous at first, but the warm, non-judgemental welcome into the Worsley community has kept me firmly embedded. I wish I had known about it years ago! From that point, I was hooked, and by June I was a BN member, as I wanted to attend the North West pétanque day - I still can't play, but its never stopped me! This led to club visits, beach days and holidays in Vera Playa. It was suggested that I wrote a blog about my experiences, so other women could see that it was possible and fun! I hadn’t realised that single women under 40, were quite unusual in Naturism, and that my blogs could have a positive influence.
I joined Blackpool and Fylde Sun Club in the September and signed up for the Alton Towers weekend. By this point I was very vocal on the BN forum and as asked to write a few words about the weekend for the magazine. I was still staying ‘yes!’.
The Alton Towers event led to the first event I suggested - gaining the world record for most naked riders on a roller-coaster, followed by a women’s spa day at Liverpool Sun and Air club. I saw a gap in events and things I wanted to do, so I went out and created them.
I never intended to stand for EC, I had spent my early 20s and 30s on ECs and in boardrooms, as well as a few years in classrooms, I said, ‘never again’, and each time I said it again! I said it the first time it was suggested to me! However, our lovely John Rodgers was stepping down after 10 years in the North West and LASER regions, a few weeks before the deadline there were no applications. I spoke to friends, John, some current and previous EC members. I have a voice, my region would be without one. It just made sense to me, I would have also been happy to support anyone else in the role, as I do usually. I thought it might be more paperwork and meetings, but I'll still get a chance to enjoy the events and opportunities I have been, but I know I can be there to encourage more people along the way too. I would love to see the strong core of women, families and young members be able to grow even stronger.
My plans are mostly on hold with the current uncertainty of Covid-19, but I hope to still be part of the zoom team, hosting/co-hosting Wednesday's coffee mornings, Friday's pub night and the monthly Women Uncovered session. My main plan is simply to unite people - I’d like everyone to be able to enjoy social nudity as I have. Whether in a club, a swim, on a beach, on a naked hike or just doing their normal everyday routines naked. I want everyone to be able to enjoy Naturism like I do. I've never been a leader, I've always been a motivator, and enabler, my teaching practices instilled in me that to lead and motivate, you need to demonstrate. I hope I show that being active across my region, as well as nationally. When I see and hear positive reports, I want to try, so if I can show that I'm having fun, I hope that encourages others. I now have friends all over the North West, and across the UK, and because of our online events, the world. The next few years, whilst we are in the unknown world of Covid-19, I think grassroots events will be key. Our national events are amazing, but we can't have one in each region, every week. What we could have is organised walks, hikes, beach days etc. A drop-in as has been established at St Anne's beach in the summer months, we meet up on a certain day for a picnic, come and go as you like, or just go in your own time when you like. It doesn’t have to be a huge event, to be enjoyable. The beauty of British Naturism is that I've joined with the laws already established and on the side of Naturists, because of the hard work done previously. I intend to make sure I support the campaigns - including Families and Women in Naturism - to ensure they stay that way and to keep pushing acceptance. I see my friends in the Naturist community part of an extended family. I just wish I'd known about Naturism years ago, and raised my family in a clothes optional world!
John Rodger's Final Piece as Regional Coordinator for the NW Online News
As you probably already know, I’ll be standing down as the N.W Regional Rep at the BN AGM on the Sunday 4th October. I’ve been a Regional Rep or Coordinator on the EC , with just a short break for around ten years ago now. I started in what was then the Kent and South East Region (KSER) in 2010, and that subsequently become LASER after a merger with the old Southern Region. I moved out of the that region in 2017, for family reasons, and found myself in the NW. After a gap of a few months I was co-opted to fill the then vacant Reps post in that region, and I was elected to it in 2018.
One or two things from the past have come up in discussion in the past few months, and I realised that I was now one of just two members of the EC around the table (or should I say on Zoom), who were on the EC at the time. All of which says to me that it’s the right time for me to move on, and make way for some fresh and younger blood.
It’s been an interesting ten years, the best bits were arranging events, such as garden visits that people have enjoyed, and taking Naturism to places where it hadn’t previously been seen. The more challenging tasks, were taking the necessary changes agreed at EC meetings, and national AGM’s, back to the regions for implementation.
Ten years ago membership was in steady decline, and the issue, apart from trying to attract new members, was how to sustain the organisation with a falling income. Happily in the last few years the decline has been reversed, and membership numbers are rising once again.
If anyone is thinking about volunteering for a role on the EC, I’d say go on and find out a bit about what’s required. So far as the Regional Coordinators go, I suspect we all go about it in rather different ways, in part to suit the region concerned. Don’t get put off by the detailed job specs, speak to someone in post to get a real life perspective of what’s actually required. Ok to be the Finance Director you do need large pocket calculator !
Covid 19 has restricted activities over recent months, although a few conventional events both in the region and elsewhere, have fortunately been able to take place. Online events have proved popular and seem likely to continue in some shape or form whatever happens in future. On a brighter note it’s nearly time to start planning for 2021, and make up for the opportunities lost (or taken away from us) this year.
In the future I hope to able to arrange one or two events, and organise more Naturist walks which are becoming very popular. It would be good to get to the level of organisation and walks programme that Nat Ram have achieved in the south of the country.