In the early part of 1985 the Bedfordshire Area of the Ramblers Association recognised that there were sufficient RA members living in and around Leighton Buzzard to justify the formation of a new Group.
A small advertisement appeared in the local newspaper, the Beds & Bucks Observer, as it was then known. It invited local people to join a walk to Old Linslade and back, followed by a Group Formation meeting to be held at the Trinity Methodist Church Hall, North Street on Saturday the 5th October1985.
Forty Two people turned out for the short walk which set off at 2 pm along the Grand Union Canal to Old Linslade Church, the meeting afterwards was also well attended. Linda Hart from the RA’s Executive Committee explained the work of the RA, how it protected the Rights of Way paths and encouraged people to walk in the countryside. She also advised how a local Group could be set up and the benefits it would bring to all walkers.
It was proposed that a Group should be set up and so the first Committee was formed. The two main stalwart committee members were: Ian Lindsay (Chairman & Treasurer) and David Aston (Programme Secretary).
In addition to the committee there were also several ‘Founder Members’ who also made a considerable contribution to the new Group, leading walks and helping establish a successful social element. It was their enthusiastic commitment that set the standard that continues today, some quarter of a century later. Such individuals as; Mike Henry, Doug Bone, Tony Harding, Chris & Derek Vickery, Maureen Wong, Joan Tearle and Peter & Nora Phillips. In the following years new faces appeared, in particular a series of dedicated Chairmen like; Tony Burge, Peter Clarke, Helen Cox, Alan Carter, Tom Brown, Lynda Bawden, Carole Dixon and Malcolm Davison, all ensured the Group maintained its friendly, well organised status in the local community. Right from the very beginning, the Group took on the role of Footpath Guardians in South Bedfordshire, actively monitoring and reporting Rights of Way problems. Guidance notes for Walk Leaders were produced and several Map and Compass Navigation courses were arranged over the years, which all helped to maintain the Groups professional status as one of the leading RA groups in the county.
During November and December of ’85, a few hurried walks were duly arranged but no walking programme was produced nor were any details of these walks recorded. The committee met several times and existing RA member’s details were obtained from the RA Head Office and applications from new members to join the RA were submitted. A Group Constitution was drawn up and suggestions and proposals for the way ahead were discussed and so the Leighton Buzzard Group of the Ramblers Association was born.
To celebrate the Groups 25th anniversary in October 2010, a 48 page illustrated chronicle of the Leighton Buzzard Ramblers history was produced. A copy of the book can be downloaded by clicking on this link 25 Years