Hilary McNabb joined the club in 1978 and was welcomed to the club by the then Secretary Anne Walsh in the Winter Programme December 1978 to Februaty 1979. She acted as leader for the first time on Sunday 2 December 1979 when she led a walk from Otford with lunch at the Two Brewers in Shoreham. She became a regular walker and leader, leading many walks in the Kent area where she lived. In fact over the next 25 years Hilary's name appeared on the programme as a leader 40 times with rambles averaging 10 miles. One of her rambles had to be cancelled due to the 1971 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease but Hilary imaginatively teamed up with two other club members to put an alternative walk on the emergency programme in March 2001.

 

At the end of several walks she entertained the ramblers to tea at her house in Dunstan Green and served liberal amounts of her famous home brewed wine. On one occasion she held a Bar B Que with a slide show provided by Ron Scott.

 

I first met her shortly after rejoining the club myself in 1988 after a 13 year period in which my membership had lapsed. At that time Hilary was a very regular walker so I had many opportunities to chat with her. Before joining the club she had spent 14 years on the administrative staff of the Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) Police Force. She had many happy memories and stories to tell of her time in Rhodesia. 

 

Also in 1988 Hilary took her turn being a member of the club committee and from that time, in addition to taking her turn leading rambles she also appeared on the programme as "duty member", an important function which is sadly no longer undertaken. When I rejoined she had responsibility for arranging refreshments at the AGM and the Christmas Party in January. She loved to provide a handsome selection of sweet cakes and other deserts.

In this photograph Hilary is seen with other long standing members on the bank of the Arun with the fairy tale style Arundel Castle in the Background

The sad announcement of Hilary's death in the Spring 2017 club newsletter included the statement that "She also came on many Club holidays and weekends away, especially YHA weekends". One such holiday was the walking holiday which I organised in St Malo in 1990 and this photograph was taken during a rest on a beautiful walk around the bay.

During a visit to a local museum in St Malo I caught these striking shots of Hilary relaxing in the sun on the museum windowsill.

These two photographs were taken on another walking holiday, this one being on the Killarney holiday which I organised in 1994. The one on the left is taken near the summit of the Purple Mountain whilst the one on the right was in the Blavk Valley. The day we walked around the Black Valley was intended as a rest day but in the absence of anything else to do we decided to walk instead. In this lighthearted photograph the centre of attraction was a very decorative walking stick which Pat Jayawardena was using on the walking holiday.

This photograph was taken on the summit of the Purple Mountain with the road snaking through the Gap of Dunloe visible on the left. The strong wind on the summit made for the windsweppt condition of the hair!!

 

 

 

On our last evening in Killarney Hilary took her full part in the celebrations in a local place of entertainment

 

 

At Easter 2003 Hilary joined Maurice Hickman and a large group of Club members for a walking weekend in Scarborough and in this photograph, taken on a picturesque bridge on the Pennine Way she is in the centre of the photograph.

It was a mark of Hilary's popularity that nearly 40 members of the club attended her funeral Mass on 2 March 2017. The priest in Otford Church paid moving tribute to Hilary and revealed the very full part she had played in parish activities, acting as meeter and greeter at many parish Masses.

 

She will be well remembered and sadly missed by all who knew her during her nearly 40 years with the club.

 

May she rest in peace.