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A look into the Bond Companions Club

Posted by Katy Peck on 1 September 2022
Related property: Coo Palace
A look into the Bond Companions Club

The Bond Companions Club (BCC) has long been a beloved part of the Holiday Property Bond, helping solo travellers enjoy fantastic holidays. Here we take a look back at the origins of the BCC and its impact through the years.

From humble beginings

Sally Bradford, founding member of the Bond Companions Club, looks back...

Back in 2004, when Sally Bradford first wrote a letter to the then Bond’s Editor Malcolm McCarthy, she had no clue that her humble idea would spark such a large reaction, nor that it would lead to 18 years of holiday opportunities for a growing number of solo travellers.

“It was a difficult time,” she says. “I was recovering from whooping cough and dealing with the sudden death of my husband Kevin. Having never holidayed alone before, I wondered how I was going to do it.” It occurred to Sally there may be other Bondholders in her position and that’s when she wrote her letter. “To my astonishment, within days of the magazine I started receiving a large number of letters forwarded from Malcolm.”

Sally found herself communicating with around 15 Bondholders and they decided to meet in Nottingham for a mini-break together. “Several of the attendees have since become close friends of mine. The trip to Nottingham was the start of everything: the following February we found ourselves in Swindon together, then Tigh Mor that June and Santa Rosa in September. I remember us laughing our way through a quiz night – something many of us had been unable to do for a long time.”

During 2005 HPB Management Chairman Geoffrey Baber and then Operations Director Nicholas Beamish caught wind of Sally’s idea and the club that was forming as a result. With popularity growing exponentially, they asked if she would work her organisational role full time from home and, for 2005 and 2006 she threw herself into doing just that.

“I helped to organise weekends away and together we came up with the current name ‘Bond Companions Club’ (BCC). Nicholas’ PA Margaret McAllister was helping me out but, by the end of 2006, I had to concede the amount of work was just too overwhelming. Liza Moore was appointed in the Newmarket office to take over my position and did an excellent job from then until she took a step back in the summer of 2020,” As of 1st January 2020, the BCC had an impressive 1,650 members, and since then has gone from strength to strength.

The BCC has developed over the years and is an excellent community for any Bondholder who is single, widowed, divorced or has a partner unable or unwilling to travel. BCC breaks are split into two categories: weekend breaks at lovely cities and towns throughout Britain and Europe; and seven-night holidays which take place at your various Bond sites. You can choose how you spend your time, whether that be relaxing by the pool or exploring on your own, but there are always excursions and meals organised for those who prefer to socialise with the others.

Keeping good company

Bondholder Derek Baker explains how he and his family make the most of their holidays.

From the moment we invested in the Holiday Property Bond and took our first holiday we realised the potential of this holiday “club”.  It IS the “generation club”. Right from the start we have shared our Bond with our children and now with our grandchildren. Now that the grandchildren are grown up and approaching married life, they can enjoy what we have enjoyed for 16 years.

This must surely be one of the greatest benefits of our HPB. But there are others.

Widowhood has introduced me to another holiday option.

The superb Bond Companions Club must be the saviour of many who find themselves on their own. Singledom brings its own pressure, particularly where holidays are concerned, but the BCC obviates this. There is no compulsion to join in with everything or anything; you can cherry-pick the things you want to do, and ignore those you don’t. The important thing is, you’re holidaying (or weekending) with like-minded people, in a similar situation. There’s no need to feel you have to join other types of clubs just to find a holiday companion.

The BCC is a unique feature of the Holiday Property Bond. But there’s more. HPB offers holidays to suit all tastes and circumstances. Though there are some common factors: The quality of the accommodation, the choice of sites with sporting and many other leisure diversions always on tap. No need to cook if you don’t want to. All the travel arrangements made for you at competitive prices. This must seem like an advertisement, but it is just a plain and simple fact.

18 years on, we know we have had our money’s worth. Over 25 sites visited, and well over 50 holidays enjoyed – not to mention several Theme Week holidays and Tenancies. And still more to come – hopefully!

Is that all, you may ask. There must be more. There is: the people. People make holidays. Not only those who are enjoying the same facilities as oneself but those who make it possible as a part of their working lives. From managers to gardeners, chefs to cleaners.

15 years, 43 holidays...

Bondholder Penny Davies explains how the BCC transformed her holidays

When my husband died in 2004, a month before his 50th birthday, I really thought the opportunity to enjoy holidays in the future was very limited. My sister, who had been a Bondholder for many years then told me about the Bond Companions Club which she had read about in the Bond Magazine. Here was a glimmer of hope that I could holiday on my own without having to attach myself like a leech to my daughter’s and son’s families.

It didn’t take me long to contact HPB and arrange to invest in the Bond and at the same time join the BCC. As soon as I could, I found a Points-free holiday at Constant. I took a friend who hadn’t had a holiday for a long time and we were off! 

That was in May 2007 and now, 15 years later, I’ve fulfilled my original ambition to visit all the Bond sites both in the UK and in Europe. I know I’m not alone in accomplishing this feat, as I’ve read of others who have done the same, but it has certainly felt like an accomplishment.

In the early years I went on four officially organised BCC holidays with groups varying in size from just seven to La Gomera, to 40 or more to Biniorella over the New Year. On one of these holidays at Rocha Brava, I met a lovely lady called Dorothy, 20 years older than myself whom I then holidayed with on another eight occasions. This first holiday with Dorothy in Portugal was particularly memorable as it was when the Icelandic ash cloud disrupted flights all over Europe and stopped our return flight to the East Midlands. Eventually we ended up on a coach, organised by HPB, for 48 hours travelling across Spain and France to catch a ferry in Calais.

In 2009 I organised a local East Midlands BCC group and through that I began to find plenty of people who wanted to holiday like me. I’ve been away in various sized groups with nine other members of the East Midlands BCC. My very good friends, Barbara and Jean, have accompanied me more than 20 times to many Bond sites, Tenancies and a once in a lifetime, month-long trip to New Zealand and Singapore; the flights for which we booked through the HPB Travel Club. I’ve been on Themes and Tours trips, taken non-Bondholder friends away with me, stayed in four Tenancy properties and holidayed with family at Bond sites six times. I’ve let my eldest daughter and her family holiday twice without me and my son once, for his honeymoon at Tigh Mor. My youngest daughter, who has learning disabilities, loves the chance to go to “one of your HPB places, Mum”.

In total, in less than 15 years, I’ve had 43 holidays at Bond sites, sharing this enjoyment with 25 other people. Perhaps, however, my most memorable holiday was a BCC trip to Turkey in October 2009 when I ended up at Physkos with no money! It’s a very long story, heard by many over the years, but thanks to the then Physkos Site Manager, Korhan, we managed to find a way around everything and, ultimately, I enjoyed a wonderful holiday. No, it didn’t put me off travelling - in fact I’ve been back there three more times to my ‘favourite’ site!

Thank you to everyone who shared their stones of the BCC with us. If you wish to find out more information on the Holiday Property Bond and the BCC, check the links at the bottom of the page or visit ‘Find out more’.

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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