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Walking holiday company celebrates centenary in Church Stretton (13th May 2013)

Walking holiday company celebrates centenary in Church Stretton

A co-operative company that specialises in walking holidays celebrates its centenary in Church Stretton next week (from 25 May). HF Holidays is the UK’s largest walking holiday company, and a co-operative with almost 35,000 share-holding members.

Then known as the Holiday Fellowship, the society was established in 1913 by one of the fathers of the outdoor movement, TA Leonard, who among other things was the first president of the Ramblers Association.

HF Holidays now owns 19 country houses including The Longmynd Hotel where guests and members will enjoy a week-long celebration including special centenary walks and a gala dinner.  Walks will take guests to picturesque places around the Shropshire hills including Caer Caradoc, The Stiperstones, Bishop’s Castle and Wenlock Edge.

Leonard dedicated his life to introducing people to the ‘joy and fellowship of the open fells’ and today more than 700 experienced volunteer walk leaders follow in his footsteps and inspire exactly the same philosophy on walks in 113 destinations in 46 countries all over the world. Leonard died aged 84 in 1948. A pioneer of open-air holidays, he founded the Co-operative Holiday Association (CHA) in 1897 and had been instrumental in the setting up of the YHA, the National Trust and the Ramblers Association.

HF Holidays’ Chief Executive Brian Smith said: “Over the last century we have evolved progressively, yet Leonard’s guiding principles of encouraging the enjoyment of the outdoors in the company of others, still underpin everything we do.  We reinvest our profits back into improving our holidays and making the experience even better for guests.

“We have always been very active in promoting the benefits of walking and this year we play a lead role in the new Britain on Foot campaign encouraging Britain to be active outdoors.

In our 100 years, HF Holidays has welcomed over five million guests on our sociable, active holidays and we look forward to hosting many more over the coming years.”

For more information on HF Holidays visit http://www.hfholidays.co.uk/ or call 0845 470 8559 for a brochure.