The Association was born in the mid Thirties, before the last war. After many formation discussion meetings the Association was up and running. The first Chairman was Mr. C. E Jarman who held the post 1935-36.
Things went well for the Association in the early years but the War came and things went on hold for some years. The Association Committee continued to meet from time to time but little could be done. However, when the War ended things slowly came back to normal and the Association worked hard to make up for lost time.
None of the current membership were about at the time and sadly, the original minute book was lost over the years. As the Association grew to larger numbers so the ambition grew to take on more challenging projects. At least we do have knowledge of these projects as we have one or two old members with a fair memory.
One of the first events that stands out in our memory was the National Hang Gliding Festival which took place in Shanklin in May 1981. The event was organised by the Association and was a great success. The Esplanade car park was turned into a showground with food and drinks available and the RAF placed an aircraft in the middle of the car park together with a promotional stand. Hang glider pilots from all over the U.K came in large numbers and holiday makers and residents had a rare treat. The highlight of the event was still to come as we had booked the Red Arrows to do a display over the Bay. One of the pilots told us that it was the best backcloth they had ever had. This cost us of course but was helped by a public collection on the day which eased the pain.
Having had such success with the first festival we decided to do it again the following year, once again with the Red Arrows performing. Once again the event was a success and even better than before as we obtained sponsorship from Peter Stuyvesant who parked a large hospitality vehicle on the Esplanade.
In the early 80’s near disaster hit Shanklin. A European tanker broke down in the Bay and to make matters worse it was still full of oil. The authorities decided to drain the oil but our fear was that should anything go wrong and the oil leaked, our beaches would be ruined for some years. A party from the Committee was sent to London to engage the services of a Q.C. We wanted assurance that a boom was erected around the ship before transfer of oil started. We won our case and the transfer of oil was held up until the boom was in place. Disaster averted. The cost was high but we received payment from South Wight Council to cover this.
The 80’s/90’s were indeed a busy time for our Promotion Committee. Over a period of three/four years we worked with the I.V.V Committee (International Federation of Popular Sports) to arrange walking festivals on the Island, based in Shanklin. Walkers in their dozens came every year to compete in this event. Overseas walkers came in parties and we even had representatives from the USA. Our Committee arranged all of the accommodation requirements and the evening entertainment. The walks varied in distance, the longest being 25 miles per day, (sore feet). At the end of three days each walker received a medal showing their achievement. This was a great show for Shanklin and a great success for the Association.
Between 1981 and 1984 Shanklin hosted two World Town Criers Championships and two European Town Criers Championships. These events were organised by Shanklin’s own Town Criers, Mr. Peter Simmonds. The Organising Committee was formed and included members from the council and council officers and members from our Association. Our Chairman of the time became PR/Press and Publicity Officer. The Association handled all of the accommodation requirements and arranged evening entertainment. Shanklin was indeed a very colourful place as the competitors wore their uniforms and on the World Championships over 100 competitors were in Shanklin for the week, some from USA, Canada, Australia and many other European countries. Another great success which led to our Chairman going on to become the PR/Press and Publicity Officer in the Committee of the Ancient & Honourable Guild of Town Criers.
Since the major events listed, SHAA has not rested. We obtained half price rail fairs from British Rail and formulated a package holiday which we called “Passport to Shanklin”. We had an office in the town where members could obtain tickets and for some time this worked very well. Cliff Michelmore came to open the office and cut the tape in a special ceremony which we organised which gave us excellent publicity.
We also took on the job of building and planting the garden on the pier apron and weeded the station garden, which we then planted with shrubs and flowers to welcome our visitors.
Today S.H.A.A is a busy Association with a very hard working Committee. It is in fact the only Hotel Association still operating on the Island.
Written by Derek Pegram, Life-President of SHAA