I must admit, I have a little soft spot for Saga. For a start, they operated a commercial radio station for the over 50`s at one time. And because of my background in radio, although quite a few years ago now, I have a little story to tell. Nothing to do with their own radio operation a few years ago. This was somewhat earlier.
In the 1980`s, when I was a twenty something working as a professional radio presenter, I was delighted to be invited to take part on a Saga Holidays press trip.
The radio station I worked for was Radio Tees (Tfm) in the North East and at the time of being invited onto the press trip, I was the late show presenter. The stations output included a much listened to weekly holiday programme called Trains and Boats and Planes which was presented by the subsequently very popular BBC Radio Two presenter, Alex Lester.
I couldn`t believe my luck at the time. Here was I, a fairly new freelance presenter on the station, being invited on an all expenses press trip to the beautiful resort of Dubrovnik in the former Yugoslavia. I felt like Alan Wicker. (This was before Micheal Palin remember).
I remember being on air, presenting the late show, the evening before I was due to take the train to London Heathrow to meet the other guys from newspapers, magazines and radio stations from all over the UK, who`d also been invited on the trip. And also to meet up with the guys from Saga before taking the flight to Dubrovnik.
The trouble was, on that evening, as my show went on, I began to feel ill. Very ill. And the next morning, the day of the trip, I felt awful. Aching all over, feeling nauseous, hot sweats, the lot. But there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. I made the best of it. But by the time I`d reached the hotel in Dubrovnik, one of the resorts best, later that evening, the nausea had turned into the runs. Put it this way, I remember having to wash the sheets of my bed in the middle of the night in the sink in my room. That`s how bad it was.
However, I persevered and as one day turned into the next I began to feel a little better. I conducted my interviews with resort reps, the Saga personal and the hotel manager and in the end turned out what I believed to be a pretty good feature report for the programme.
Of course, it`s now gone into the ether. I doubt there`ll be any archives anywhere unless a radio anorak has a copy hidden somewhere. I certainly never saved a recorded copy and this was before the internet had taken hold and all the digital technology we have now. I do remember one thing though. The opening line of my script which I delivered in a sort of mimic of the late Alan Whicker "...They call it the Pearl of the Adriatic.". They did. And it was.
My next assignment was for a hotel chain ....in Swindon!
Anyway, this is what it says on the Saga Volunteer Travel page on their website...
What sets us apart?
We are unique in that our volunteers are all aged 50 or over. This means they have a wide variety of experiences and qualifications and that their help is of genuine lasting benefit. We spend time matching each project’s needs with the skills of our volunteers, and aim to place volunteers so that each is able to pick up where others have left off.
Our overriding principle is that the local projects must have the final say in whether a volunteer is suitable, and what the placement will consist of. We are driven by the needs of the projects and communities as well as the demands and skills of our volunteers.
Why not pay then a visit here.