On a pleasant sunny day our group of sixteen members were given a guided tour of Godalming by our Chairman, Nick Swan. A historic market town, civil parish and administrative centre of the Borough of Waverley in Surrey, it is four miles south west of Guildford.
Nick told, in much detail, of the early Saxon settlements in the area leading onto the Norman times with events such as hangings and the story of the rabbit woman from nearby Farncombe. She fooled medical experts by producing live rabbits in front of them; it was of course a scam.
It was at one time a coaching road from London to Portsmouth, having many hostelries. A tale was told of Peter the Great staying in one and not paying his bill!
Mallory of Everest fame came from Godalming. The story is told that when his frozen body was found in 1999, a picture he had of his wife and his camera were missing. He had promised his wife that if he reached the summit he would leave it there, leading to the idea that maybe he and Irvine had achieved this in 1924 before Hillary and Tensing in 1953.
We also saw a building dedicated to Noyce who was a backup member in 1953 but did not ascend to the summit. He was educated at Charterhouse and became head boy, then later a master.
The visit ended with a delightful meal in an Italian restaurant.