Eighty years old – and 41 years of visiting Ragdale Hall!

Apr 11, 2017
Posted in: Ragdale Hall News   Posted by: Joni Appleton


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!


12 responses to “Eighty years old – and 41 years of visiting Ragdale Hall!”

  1. David Hume says:

    What a lovely story. We met Jill at the loyal client drinks a few weeks back where she recited some interesting stories about her times at Ragdale.
    We’ve been regular visitors to Ragdale for over 15 years and, who knows, we could make 41 years just like Jill !!

  2. Carole Briggs says:

    Myself and friends have been regular visitors for at least 15 years how do you get invitations to loyal clients drinks event?

  3. kim rice says:

    Really nice Birthday Present from Ragdale.
    I have visited Ragdale now for 44 years also when Ragdale belonged to Slimming magazine.
    Katy Boyle was a guest when I visited and Clyton Farlow the Queens makeup artist who did our makeup.
    How many changes.
    Never been invited to a loyalty anything would be nice.
    I am coming again soon for aday and to celebrate my 60th in Jan.

  4. Rebecca Nelson says:

    We’ve been coming for 26 years started with a Rosemary Connoly group still love the place and booked our next visit for July

  5. Marilyn Hughes says:

    Hmm- rather more of a celebration and response from Ragdale to when I brought 17 friends to my 60th in 2008
    ( many of whom have returned). I had attended Ragdale in its year of opening in 1973 and have been every year since.
    Ps – loyal client drinks- never knew there was such a thing- I wonder what I would have to do to qualify!!!

    • Susan Bowen says:

      I never returned to Ragdale after the lack of consideration to Marilyn, when so much excitement and effort was put into her special birthday by friends who came with her. Not a peep from Ragdale Hall and not even a candle on her salad !

  6. Patricia Ann Woodward says:

    I also visited Ragdale when it was owned by Slimming Magazine I think it must have been about 1979, but it was the magic of Ragdale that always drew you back. There was no swimming pool they were just fitting a jacuzzi. Now it is the wonderful atmosphere, fantastic food and warm welcome that makes us return. Can’t wait for my next visit in June

  7. Patricia Wilson says:

    I also visited Ragdale when owned by Slimming Magazine, probably around 1980, the swimming pool was being built. My memory of breakfast will never leave me, a dry biscuit/rusk which took quite a time to digest !! I still visit, as do my family and friends, looking forward to arriving in June.Loyal clients drinks ?!

  8. Dawn Bates says:

    What a lovely story, after visiting and staying for two nights each time at this wonderful tranquil hall I can truly understand this lady visiting for so many years, pure bliss is Ragdale Hall.

  9. NOREEN KERRY says:

    Myself and 5 friends are coming to ragdale at Easter.This is my 19th year but not sure of how many visits.I have never tired of ragdale and I don’t think I ever will

  10. Caroline Foreman says:

    It’s seems a shame no one from ragdale has responded here as there are a lot of loyal customers who don’t know anything about the loyal drinks event, I’ve only been going 7 years so I a, sure that won’t qualify , but I think it’s such a lovely story and lot soft other lovely stories and really ragdale should respond here ,as they have clearly uncovered a blind spot in their communications . Come ragdale post a response …

  11. Thank you for all your lovely comments, reminiscences and questions, and apologies for the delay in replying.
    We hold loyalty drinks gatherings hosted by the Guest Liaison Team most Tuesdays and Fridays and those guests with more than 10-15 visits are invited.
    We asked in a recent Friends Newsletter for loyal guests to let us know if they were planning ‘big’ birthdays or special celebrations here – we love to be able to make the occasion more memorable, if we know about it.

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