Eight years ago, when we launched Naturist Action Group, we had two aims; to campaign for the lifestyle’s wider acceptance and to represent a broad range of views within UK Naturism. We thought we had a reasonable grasp of the issues involved, and we had the beginnings of a plan.
Today though, NAG is announcing what will arguably be its biggest project to date, it is an attempt to learn more about UK naturism, the opinions of naturists in this country to find out how we think collectively. Let me ask the question that must be forming on your lips by now: Why?
In part it is in response to Rayner Otter, who last year wrote an essay [H&E Naturist, March 2017] about what he saw as the future of naturism following his nine-years of observing the European naturist scene. You could say, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, for I argued that naturism didn’t need conclusions based on observation but from robust research [H&E Naturist, July 2017]. To be fair, Rayner responded generously saying he too agreed with the premise. However, as a British-based organisation we are chiefly concerned about UK naturism, so the survey we shall be conducting will be restricted to those living in the United Kingdom, or British nationals living abroad while maintaining strong links with the UK.
The other part is that it’s really time we took a look at ourselves; are we serving naturism and naturists well? Are the things we think we know, accurate. Could we do things differently, better, smarter? And finally, can we describe the British person attracted to the lifestyle in any detail?
These are our goals and while I cannot promise we will achieve all of them perfectly we shall, with your help, make a good attempt.
This survey is for anyone 18-years and over, so married couples or co-habiting partners can complete separate questionnaires, as can any adult children. Once you have completed the survey, please share this post on social media, or by whatever means is available to you, with your naturist friends and family, encouraging them to complete it too. We want as many replies as possible, from the young and old, male or female, Black, Brown or White, computer savvy or not. The more replies we get, from as broad a spectrum of society as possible, the more accurate the survey will be.
UK NATURISM SURVEY— Closing date for replies: 31/12/2018.
If online forms are not your forte then we have a Word document (.docx) that can be used either as an editable electronic document on your desk top or printed, to be used as a paper survey. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Survey” in the subject line and you will receive a reply within 24hours. Or send a self-addressed envelope (DL or C5) with a first- or second-class stamp to: UK Naturism Survey, c/o Reg Barlow, 6 Brunswick Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 4PL and a pre-printed paper survey will be posted to you. Surveys returned by post and postmarked 31/12/2018 will be accepted. Just follow the instructions provided.
Many thanks for your co-operation, and don’t forget to share.
18 November 2018
Have you holidayed in Crete, at Vritomartis perhaps? Then you could be the winner of a writing competition by writing 200 words or more about your experience. The competition ends on 22nd April 2016, so there’s still plenty of time. You can get more details from Vritomartis’ blog, which includes some examples. Just to get you going, here is one by Greg from Virginia, USA.
This update article is for publication – please feel free to pass it on!
John Paine Management Collective
click on the above for details. The meeting is open to all naturists.
John Paine, Management Collective
You may already know that Nudefest is moving to Somerset this year.
Christine and Keith – owners of Newperran Holiday Park in Cornwall where Nudefest had been held – want to continue with a Naturist week and are arranging the ‘Newperran Naturel Event‘. It will be open to all naturists, not just BN members between 26th June and 3rd July. Click on the link for more details.
14 Feb 2016
As with last month, News from NAG – published in H&E Naturist is month – is here to provide links to interesting blogs and websites. If you don’t already subscribe, please take a look and give support to the world’s oldest Naturist magazine, having been in continuous publications since 1900.
Membership New Zealand
Two items published by Stuff.co.nz last December might be pointing to a brighter future for naturism – at least in that part of the world. Canterbury Free Beach Nudist Club told Georgina Campbell that while the over-60s still made up the largest portion of its membership, about a fifth of their group was made up of the under-30s.
Sunbathing at Hikuraki Bay, Fiona Guest told Stuff.co.nz that she found naturism to be: ‘empowering for women to shake off the modern expectation of what the female body should like,’ and in later life she was: ‘free to have a bit of tummy flab.’
The article said there were only 100 members of the free beach club. This is less than half of the current membership for Auckland Outdoor Naturist Club, which number about 250. Back in the 60s though it had more than three times as many members and the current caretakers of the club – husband and wife team, Don Boughman and Minca Englebrecht – told Ciara Pratt that they were keen to expand the park and ‘get it back to its glory days.’
Boughman remarked to Pratt that: ‘There’s a saying that the first lie you tell is the clothes you wear – take those away, it’s just you.’
Both these clubs are reaching out to the under 40, what harm could it do if you reached out too.
A Lady Bishop for Nudists
In November, with typical Daily Mail outrage, we are told that the next Bishop of Sherborne is Karen Gorham with the headline: “Bless me! It’s Britain’s first NUDIST Bishop” and the eighth woman selected by the Church of England.
Archdeacon (as I write) Gorham was brought up in a naturist family but the article suggested that she is no longer a practicing naturist, have stopped ‘disrobing in public’, during her teenage years, which isn’t, sadly, all that unusual. However, by all accounts she continues to be a strong advocate for the lifestyle.
Archdeacon Gorham told journalist Jonathan Petrie that: ‘Naturism is often misunderstood, so people jump to the wrong conclusion.’ Not everyone is please with Gorham’s selection, however, with the Rev. George Curry, former chairman of the Church Society stating that her ‘comments made her unsuitable to be a bishop’ adding that naturism was against ‘traditional teaching’.
Naturally, the Daily Mail and Rev Curry were not the only ones to pass comment on Karen Gorham’s advancement. For it reminded Fr. Dwight Longenecker, an American Evangelical minister turned Anglican vicar turned Catholic priest, of a post he put up on Patheos.com in 2009. Using an ultra ego of Rev Humphrey Blyterington, Fr Longenecker tackles in his own way the subject of nudity and faith, and might be worth reading regardless of the depth of what you believe – from non-existent to very deep. Could the Adamites make a comeback?
A book on Christian ethics and social nudity written by Karen Gorham, 15-years ago with Dave Leal: ‘Naturism and Christianity: are they compatible?’ can still be bought through Amazon.co.uk.
Ethics are not just the preserve of the religious. A post on the Young Naturists America website pointed me towards The Humanist Experience, a podcast by Seráh Blain and Evan Clark, and this episode is focused on the issue of body shame how it is viewed in American culture. Although Blain and Clark are work colleagues and share a house, they are not a couple so when it came to seeing each other naked for the first time, they were – not unnaturally – a little nervous. It was a quite charming to listen to really and just as you don’t have to be religious to read Fr Longenecker’s skit-blog, you don’t have to be an atheist to listen to the podcast.
CO beach could be worth Aus$50 million to Queensland Economy
I’ve mentioned before that the State of Queensland, Australia is the only one without an official nudist beach, but not for much longer if the Australian Sex Party – yes you read correctly – has its way.
The ASP has proposed that Alexandria Bay, in Noosa National Park be deemed as a ‘clothing-optional beach’ according to Noosa News.  The Australian Sex Party’s acting president for his Queensland branch, Dr Mark McGovern, said it would only be making official what has been happening there unofficially for the last 70-years, and could be worth Aus$50 million to the Noosa economy. In its submission the ASP said that more than 80 per cent of the local community supported the creation of a legal clothing-optional beach. Although it should be noted that according to the website Beachsafe, this particular beach is only approachable by foot and has hazardous swimming.
Tourism Noosa is committed to Queensland rebranding itself as “Australia’s Nature Coast”, in an effort to entice more tourists, Europeans especially. The ASP submission said that given the greater acceptance of nudism by Europeans, having a CO beach would assist in that drive for more tourists, it also cited The Economist magazine, stating that 18 per cent of Europeans would ‘highly value’ access to a nude beach. The article said that Tourism Noose, themselves, were not available for comment.
For everyone that doesn’t know anything about me, I listen to the radio far more than look at the TV. I find the pictures are far better and have been in HD for decades. Over the holiday season I’ve listened to two programmes that I think you might enjoy too.
Late Night Woman’s Hour is a short series that allows the topical woman’s magazine programme to discuss subjects in a fashion that – at times – can be far more forthright than if it was in its usual mid-morning slot. First broadcast on 30th December the title of this show is: Naked for the New Year.
Hosted by Lauren Laverne, it features:
Inna Shevchenko from leader of FEMEN;
Miss Glory Pearl – the naked stand-up;
Vikke Dark, ex-model and now feminist academic who campaigns against the ‘glamour’ industry;
Shahidha Bari, lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary’s University, London, and;
Natasha Porter, a photographer under the name of Natansky and one of the collective organising the London leg of the WNBR.
The other show I’d like to draw your attention to: Desert Island Discs, a long running radio programme, first broadcast on 29th January 1942. This is an episode of the re-run series, Desert Island Discs Revisited broadcast on Radio 4 Extra on 27th December 2015 featuring American folk singer Peggy Seeger, and available for 26 days (from 31-12-2015). Quite early on, Peggy confirms that her parents didn’t believe in clothes unless they were necessary, a brief insight into early family naturism in America. True, not much of a connection to naturism, but a wonderful listen just the same. Originally broadcast in July 2001, Seeger moved back to the US following the death of her husband, Ewan MacColl, but according to Wikipedia, she came back to live in the UK in 2010, to be closer to her children.
The closing date for Photo 2015 is 25th September, plenty of time yet but you’ll need to hurry. Enter three pictures for just £6 and support NAG. More details are available from our website.
There is still time to enter Photo 2015.
There is a fantastic prize for the winner, a one-week holiday for two either in Canada, Greece or Thailand. The choice is yours. All you have to do send us your pictures that best describe Living Naturism.
There is a fee, £6 Sterling for three pictures and a further £2.50 for every additional picture above that, with all proceeds goes to Naturist Action Group in the UK.
More information with competition rules, entry form and model release forms can be found on our web page.
Closing date for entries is 25th September 2015.
The Brighton leg for the WNBR caused a bit more of a stir than usual this year, as it was alleged that a girl – thought to be eight or nine years old – took part, naked.
Chris Holmes, who complained about it to The Argus, said: ‘The fact there was an eight or nine-year old girl on her bike completely naked shocked me beyond words.’ The quote continued: ‘I spoke to the organisers, who seemed to think this was fine.’
While on the other hand, Sarah Bush was quoted as saying the: ‘ones in the wrong aren’t the parents or organisers but anyone picturing [the child] for unhealthy reasons. Let the kids enjoy their innocence while they can.’
Co-organiser for the Brighton WNBR, Duncan Blinkhorn told The Argus that the ride was about being body-positive and that applies to children as much as adults, adding ‘Why can’t children be naked if adults are naked?’
And that’s the point; WNBR is a protest where nudity is used to show the vulnerability of bike riders and to gain publicity. The adult would be saying ‘do as I say, not as I do’, if they were naked but banned the child from doing the same.
As a society, we do seem to have this odd reaction to when it comes to children. We tend to over empathise with the child and by doing so we project our own feelings and fears on to them, for the child’s sake. In an article on a different topic for The Telegraph, Rowan Pelling wrote: ‘A few years ago, when my children were young enough to enjoy the local paddling pool, other parents would frown when I let them run around naked, obsessed as the world is with the notion paedophiles are tracking your offspring’s every move.’
That is so true. We are obsessed with the perceived dangers that lurk in our streets. Whatever happened to the advice ‘Don’t talk to strangers’? Whatever happened to the old maxim ‘A little bit of dirt in your diet does you good’? That should not be taken literally of course, but a child must be allowed to take controlled risks in order to learn from them.
What that child has learned by taking part in the WNBR is what it is like to be naked in a public setting. Next year, she may still choose to participate but not naked. Or she might not participate at all, that will be her choice and an informed one from the earlier experience. We demand all kinds of information about things we are not expert in to make an informed choice. Being a good parent, in my book, means giving children the tools to make better choices in later life.
Incidentally, just as a small digression. The Brighton WNBR is a marshalled event so police officers were in attendance and could have intervened at any point, if they thought the child was in any danger. A Sussex Police spokesperson told The Argus that they had not been approached about the naked child or received any complaints. So, was The Argus guilty of sensationalising an incident that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, or was Chris Holmes just grabbing his 15-minutes of fame? I leave you to decide.