This Willows School Rambling Club site was (originally) launched on the 1st January 2008 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the club begun by Frank Mason in December 1957 and in memory of Frank himself. It was relaunched on these pages in January 2020.
These pages are a collaboration between Ann Papageorgiou, Frank's daughter, and Mark Whittaker of the Marple Website. They are designed so that visitors can browse the reports and photographs from the Willows Walks or the YHA Holidays via the menus and links. If you were a participant in the walks or holidays, or know someone who was, then the search facility should enable you to to find reports containing a specific name. If you have trouble with this, get in touch.
In the autumn of 2005 a pile of old exercise books containing the reports Frank Mason had written on many of the Willows School Rambling Club walks and three of the YHA school holidays was discovered. Several boxes of colour slides were also unearthed along with five reels of 16mm ‘movie' film that have been passed on to the North West Film Archive for safe storage. An old ledger was also found recording the names of the pupils who went on each holiday and the amounts they paid, along with the general accounts of the Willow School Rambling Club. There have even been some catering menus discovered that detail the provisions that were taken on several of the Youth Hostel holidays.
Most of the information from the exercise books and ledger was typed up in 2006/07 and is now on this web site, along with the majority of the slides. There are some years when no reports were written and others for which no slides have yet been found. The cine film has recently been transferred to DVD by the North West Film Archive and we hope to add movie clips and captured stills to the site in the future. The catering menus will be added to the site soon after its launch and we hope that some participants in the walks will also be able to contribute new material that will add to the site's interest.
It should be remembered that Frank's reports were written some 40 to 50 years ago as a personal record and were not intended for publication. The text very much reflects the attitudes of the time in which they were written and they have not been edited. Occasionally comments have been added and these are shown in italics to distinguish them from the original text.
The photos were shown in public at the Willows School Rambling Club slide show, which took place each year following the holiday both to raise funds for the Club, and to encourage new members. However, if anyone wishes a slide on which they are shown to be removed, please let us know.
No names, other that that of Frank Mason, have been included on the photographs. However, if you would like your name added to any photograph caption, we would be happy to do so.
Some of the 1963 slides were taken by Miss Christine Hall, then a teacher at the Willows. These were found recently, and have been included, with acknowledgement that they belong to Chris Hall. If anyone knows of her current whereabouts please let us know so that we can seek her permission to keep the photos on the site.
It is inevitable that there are errors and omissions in these reports. If you notice any errors in the spelling of names, places or the labelling of pictures, or if you have additional photos or stories you would like to add to these pages, please get in touch and we will do our best to include them.