My Group & I

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. 


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

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. 


Group travel organisers on why they love what they do

What makes all the hard work worth it? We’ve selected some of the comments from group travel organisers in 2019 about what makes their job so rewarding.

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.