We were very touched that one of our regular guests recently chose to stay with us as part of her 80th birthday celebrations – and she was joined for the occasion by many of her family.
Jill Blanchard first visited Ragdale Hall in 1976 when it was owned by Slimming Magazine. Despite being measured, weighed and put on a strict daily calorie intake of just 500 calories, Jill enjoyed her visits to Ragdale Hall (although she did tell us that on one occasion her sister did sneak out into Melton Mowbray for a pie [of course] as she was so hungry!) She regularly made the then eight-hour journey from Devon with her group of girlfriends and has continued to do so ever since – for 41 years in fact!
Thankfully, the journey is much quicker these days, and we like to think Ragdale Hall is a far more pleasurable place to spend a few days than it was back then. According to Jill, it is the atmosphere and welcome of Ragdale that’s as important as the spa and facilities.
“Everyone is welcomed into the Hall and treated in the same way”, she told us. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, you put on your white robe and you’re all part of Ragdale – and the staff treat you amazingly well.”
Jill was joined for her celebrations by her family (pictured, above) including son David with his wife Carmel, and her daughter Juliet. She even convinced her husband, John, to join her here to celebrate her milestone birthday (and we’re very pleased to say he enjoyed it so much he’s already planning his return visit.) She was also treated to a major surprise when her daughter Susan arrived to join them, flying in from Bratislava!
Jill has kept much of her Ragdale Hall memorabilia from over the years in a scrapbook and it made interesting reading, including menus complete with calorie breakdowns, and a treatment list which is unrecognisable from what’s on offer today. Her Ragdale teddy bear has even made it to Mount Cook in New Zealand, and Jill had the photograph to prove it.
We hope Jill’s scrapbook continues to fill with more happy visits here, and we know her children – and grandchildren – are keen to keep up the Ragdale tradition.
Happy Birthday from us all!