My Group & I

Mike Potts group outside a hotel in Bolton

Mike Potts: single supplements and popular group trips

Mike, who runs a group in Hereford, about what he has learned being a group travel organiser and what he’s got coming up.  

Members of Knole U3A at Middle Temple Hall in London

Margaret Thorpe: sell-out holidays and fantastic feedback

Group organiser Margaret Thorpe about arranging visits for her U3A group after spending her career in travel. 

Members of the Milton Village Community Association

Allison Udy: bucket-list Lapland trip, coach drivers and more

GTO Allison Udy on the uniqueness of her group and how a coach driver can make or break a trip. 

Members of the Thames Valley Tours group on an Italian holiday in the Dolomites.

Andrea Golder: ensuring members get value for money

Andrea Golder on 45 years of taking groups around the world, how she comes up with new ideas, what her ‘musts’ are, and where’s still left on the bucket list. 

Members of GTO Derek Hoskins' group at the White Star Line Offices in Liverpool.

Derek Hoskins: ensuring value for money for my members

GTO Derek Hoskins, Solihull U3A, tells us how he ensures best value for money for his members and what makes all the hard work worthwhile. 

Members of Theatre Trips Essex outside the London Palladium before a show

Nicola Haynes: Following in my dad’s footsteps for Theatre Trips Essex

We spoke to Nicola Haynes, organiser for Theatre Trips Essex, to find out how she got involved with the group and where her love of the theatre comes from. 

GOTT 2 TRAVEL group in Pompeii

Mary Gotts: ticking off her groups’ travel bucket lists

We speak to GTO Mary Gotts who has just about recovered from the shock of winning the 2023 Group Travel Organiser of the Year® Award.

GTO Frank Pearson and his group in Bielefeld in Germany

Frank Pearson: taking police and choir members all over the world

Frank Pearson organises trips for the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir as well as the International Police Association. 

Lincoln Retirees Group

Keith Jordan: A lovable character in the group

We spoke to GTO Keith Jordan, who formed the Lincoln Retirees Group in 2020 to offer people a way of getting back out there following the pandemic.

Newton Abbot Travel Club's trip to Weston-Super-Mare

Carol Swiecicka: 20 years of organising trips for Devon group

GTO Carol Swiecicka received a BEM for and more recently was invited to the Coronation – we talk about her role of 20 plus years.

Southend branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers

Mike Beaveridge: travelling with former police officer colleagues

We caught up with Mike Beaveridge, organiser for the Southend branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, about what’s coming up and some of the challenges he faces.

Camberley & District u3a

Jacky Oakley: organising river cruises and more for her Surrey-based group

Jacky Oakley, organiser for Camberley & District u3a in Surrey tells us about the group’s river cruise experience of Budapest and the challenges she faces as a GTO. 

Broomfield Coach Trips

Ray Spiller: how he and wife Jan set up Broomfield Coach Trips

Ray Spiller speaks to GLT about why he and wife Jan decided to form Broomfield Coach Trips in a bid to bring the local community together. 

Gwen Wright's Slovenia group holiday

Gwen Wright: 25 years of bringing people together

Group travel organiser Gwen Wright tells us how she first got into it and why she loves creating experiences through The Arts Society (Cranleigh) group. 

Robert Coleman, The London Cultureseekers Group

Robert Coleman: unusual London visits and a love of history

We spoke to Robert Coleman, creator of The London Cultureseekers Group, to find out how it all began and his quirky tips for groups in London. 

& Juliet

Louise Thomas: escaping normality and the magic of theatre

We spoke to GTO Louise Thomas about finding time to organise theatre trips and outings for two different groups.

GLT Awards 2022 GTO of the Year Dave Hartle

Dave Hartle: ‘grandad holiday’ on GTO of the Year win

We asked Dave Hartle, known to his loved ones as ‘grandad holiday’, about what it meant to win the Group Travel Organiser of the Year Award® and why he loves the role.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Lin Wilson: the sun is always shining

What GTO Lin Wilson doesn’t know about group organising isn’t worth knowing. Having celebrated 31 years, we caught up with her to find out why she still loves what she does. 

Trevor Gent, Encore Theatre and Events for Friends to Enjoy

Trevor Gent: raising the curtain with new friends

We caught up with group organiser, Trevor Gent to talk all things theatre, including his favourite ever performances and top venue for groups to visit.

Ms Bee Group Travel

Becky Chikaura: here come the girls!

We spoke to Becky Chikaura, creator of Ms Bee Group Travel, about why she decided to create a group dedicated to getting mums out and about, plus her top tips for newbies. 

Surrey Trips

Neil Edeson: always on the go

We spoke to Neil Edeson, organiser for Surrey Trips, about what he’s got coming up, essential items while travelling and why he loves the job.

GTO of the Year Award winner 2000 Julia Passmore

Julia Passmore: organising for a friendly bunch

Julia Passmore, organiser for the Association of Friends, tell us how she fell into the role, her favourite visits and what’s in the diary at the moment. 

Jacie Ring, organiser for Guildford U3A

Jackie Ring: memories to last a lifetime

We caught up with Jackie Ring, who organises trips for Guildford U3A, to hear about her love of theatre, the skills needed to be a successful GTO and one of her most favourite holidays. 

Kings Cliffe Old Blokes Club

Mike Herring: old blokes, new tricks

We hear from Mike Herring about his time organising for Kings Cliffe Old Blokes Club and why he still loves the job after ten years of service. 

M&G Holidays

Maureen Tidbury: a real people’s person

Maureen Tidbury, or more affectionately known as ‘Mo’, shares how it felt to be a finalist in the 2021 GTO of the Year® Award, how she keeps her group happy and what’s on her travel radar for this year.

Oxford NHS Retirement Fellowship

Andrew Moss: never-ending happiness and smiles

We hear from organiser Andrew Moss about his time with the Oxford NHS Retirement Fellowship, his recommendations for other group travel organisers and one of his key considerations when booking a trip.

Barnet U3A

Elizabeth Hodgson: been there, done that, got the t-shirt

In this special edition of My Group & I, we asked Elizabeth Hodgson, 2021 Group Travel Organiser of the Year®, how it felt to win the award, her time organising for Barnet U3A and historical highlights on her travels. 

After Eight Social Club

Michael Kneller: a team effort

Harry Rogers talks to Michael Kneller about his time with the After Eight Social Club, his advice for newcomers and how nice it’s been to forward plan once more.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Enid Pamment: three decades of fun

Enid Pamment, organiser for Shefford Leisure Group, shares her upcoming travel plans, the essential skills required to be a successful organiser and the occasions when those skills have been put to the test.

Rolls-Royce Retired Employees Association

Sheila Furniss: making a difference to the lives of the group members

We speak to Sheila Furniss about her time as organiser for the Rolls-Royce Retired Employees Association and how her love for the job has grown over the years.

Bridlington sea front

Phil Vaughan: all aboard the Community Group Travel bus

We catch up with Phil Vaughan about organising trips for 40 years plus, running a group with his son and get his top tips for other group travel organisers.

Yatton Outings Club

Lis Bird: creating memories with the Yatton Outings Club in Somerset

We speak to Lis Bird of Yatton Outings Club about her time as a group organiser and her positive outlook on the future. 

Codsall Outings group on a tour of south Wales

Brenda Peace: a tale of two villages

We speak to Brenda Peace, organiser for Codsall Outings Group, about her future travel plans, what she has missed the most over the last year and her group’s annual tradition.

Pat Cakebread (left) at Monet Garden

Pat Cakebread: “I couldn’t do it without the group”

GTO for a Tesco Retired Colleagues group, Pat Cakebread, shares her favourite part of the job, how her members have changed over time and how it feels to make a difference. 

French Brothers' Thames trips

Richard Preston: sharing the love all year-round with The Valentine Club

Almost 60 years ago a group of people decided to meet up for a cup of tea and a chat. Today The Valentine Club is still going strong. We found out more from organiser Richard Preston. 

Christine Bennett's group in Amsterdam

GTO of the Year® Christine Bennett: enabling deaf people to travel with peace of mind

Christine Bennett, who runs Deaf Group Holidays, was crowned the 2020 Group Travel Organiser of the Year. We caught up with her to find out if the news had sunk in and more about her group.


Group travel organisers on why they love what they do

What makes all the hard work worth it? We hear from some of our readers about what makes their job so rewarding.

Members of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain

Andy Hine: fun, friends & thrills with the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain

Andy Hine, founder and organiser for the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, on staying connected during lockdown and the logistics behind organising trips to ride some of the word’s best roller coasters.

Geoff Allan's group In Norfolk on the Bure Valley Railway

Geoff Allen: a ‘born’ organiser

Geoff Allen, who runs Travallen Travel & Events, shares his passion for organising day trips and holidays and why he’s confident about the future. 

Barnet U3A at Portmeirion

Elizabeth Hodgson: learn, laugh & live

We speak to the organiser for Barnet U3A, Elizabeth Hodgson, about what advice she would offer other GTOs and some of her standout trips. 

Maids of Honour Tea Rooms, Richmond

Rosalind Earp: bringing members of the Oddfellows together

Rosalind Earp, social events organiser for the West London branch of The Oddfellows Society, talks friendship, socialising and future travel plans. 

Horizons' guided walk round Aylesbury

Lynda Wright: a positive future is out there

Here’s what organiser Lynda Wright had to say about how her group Horizons formed and her advice for coping with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands

Pat Lake: future travel goals for Chippy Active Trips

Pat has been organising group trips for more than 12 years. He shares some of the many highlights and his thoughts on what makes a successful outing. 

James Silvester's HADARA

James Silvester: keeping people active

We get to know James Silvester, chairman of the Kent branch of AGTO and organiser for the Hartley and District Active Retirement Association.


Sue Shapland: preparing for the unexpected

Group Travel Organiser of the Year® Sue Shapland shares her adventures and advice from more than 20 years of planning trips.

Chris Behrendt: making memories

Chris Behrendt - joint group leader of Milton Keynes U3A Outings Group, alongside Czesia Eales-Johnson - talks about her trips and advice for other organisers.

Sawbridgeworth U3A on a trip in Wales

Carol Dixson-Smith: the group’s heart & soul

Group organiser Carol Dixson-Smith on why diversity of trips is the key to successful outings and how she’s training members to become life-savers. 

Monica Sado and some of the NHS Retirement Fellowship – Brent Branch

Monica Sado: a new lease of life

We speak to Monica Sado about her time organising for the NHS Retirement Fellowship – Brent Branch and the challenges faced with trips for the elderly.

Three members of Reading Borough Council Staff Club outside Longleat House

Vanessa Hurdle: overcoming hurdles together

We speak to Vanessa Hurdle, secretary of Reading Borough Council’s Staff Club about socialising and expecting the unexpected.

Sharron & Geoff Cox

Sharron & Geoff Cox: husband & wife team

The couple make quite the organised team; we caught up with Sharron to find out about where they go and why they love what they do. 

GTO Penny Hogdson receiving her BEM

Penny Hodgson: gardens galore & a special royal recognition

Not only does New Meridian member Penny Hodgson organise trips for two clubs, she was given a British Empire Medal for her services to the community. 

Jackie Ames

Jackie Ames: keep calm and laugh

Harry Rogers speaks to group organiser Jackie Ames about coming up with new ideas and how she ensures that all of her members, no matter what their disability, enjoy her trips. 

Denise Piddington

Denise Piddington: holidaying with friends

Laura Sexton speaks to Denise Piddington about her ambitions as an organiser and choosing trips that all her members enjoy.

GTO Joy Matthew's group

Joy Matthews: join the club

As one of 12 committee members for a retirees club in Winchester, Joy Matthews shares with GLT what her life as a group organiser is like. 

Lizzie Cawdell's group

Liz Cawdell: an invitation to view

Laura Sexton speaks to Liz Cawdell about her experience in the group travel industry and how it inspired her to become a group organiser.

Douglas Spencer's group

Douglas Spencer: a good year for trips

Laura Sexton speaks with Douglas Spencer about his experience organising travel for his group which stemmed from a visit to watch The Beatles play.

Olivia Goodfellow at the Taj Mahal

Olivia Goodfellow: there’s no limit

Olivia Goodfellow tells us about the reaction from her group after she won the 2018 Group Travel Organiser of the Year Award® at the Group Leisure & Travel Awards.

Gerry Tighe

Gerry Tighe: staying in tune

Gerry Tighe from the Snowdown Colliery Male Voice Choir tells us about singing in spectacular places and the busy year ahead for the group’s 90th anniversary. 

GTO Diana Duff's group

Diane Duff: pride & joy

 Diane Duff, Jimmy Mac’s day centre manager, tells us about following in her mum’s footsteps and how the members of her group continue to make her proud. 

Pauline Johnson's group

Pauline Johnson: cause for celebration

Pauline Johnson, GTO of the Year® 2010, organises more trips now than she did ten years ago, with experiential travel always at the forefront. 

Margaret Nicholl's group at Bernard Castle

Margaret Nicholls: making memories that matter

Laura Sexton speaks to Margaret Nicholls about how her experiences as a teacher inspired her to become a GTO, travelling all over the world with her group.

GTO Ian Wilde at Rodmarton

Ian Wilde: giving it heart and soul

GTO Ian Wilde, who won tickets to take his group to see the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, tells us about how he got into organising and recalls various trips including one to Hell and back. 

Jim and Denise Godsell at The Group Leisure & Travel Awards 2009

Jim Godsell: in good company

Back in 2009 Jim Godsell won the coveted GTO of the Year Award. Nine years later we find out how his role as an organiser has changed.

Janet Spooner in Ireland on FOCL trip in 2017

Janet Spooner: full steam ahead

GTO of the Year 2012 Janet Spooner, speaks to GLT about her busy year of long haul holidays and her thoughts on the past, present and future of group travel. 

Andy Booth at the Great Wall

Andy Booth: from organiser to mentor

Andy Booth, GTO of the Year 2011, tells us what his life as an organiser looks like seven years after his win at the Group Leisure & Travel Awards and about how he’s now mentoring his future successor. 

Lin Wilson's group climbing The O2

Lin Wilson: sage advice

To celebrate 20 years since the first GTO of the Year Award, we’ve been tracking down previous winners to find out about the impact of the prestigious title. In the first interview, we caught up with Lin Wilson, who was GTO of the Year 2013.

GTO Sue Poole's group

Sue Poole: two groups, one driving force

Sue Poole talks about the challenges of running two groups, in different counties, and the satisfaction she gets from organising trips. 

Marian Durbidge

Marian Durbidge: for all to enjoy

Keeley Rodgers speaks to Marian Durbidge from the Herts Theatre Club and Go Together Travel Club and the GTO of the Year 2017.