- Corporate body
The Southern Pathfinders (often called 'Sopats') were a Croydon-based rambling club, founded in March 1931 by Victor Morecroft of Addiscombe. Early members were recruited through a letter published in the Croydon Advertiser, and at the end of the first year there were 111 members. The club disbanded during World War II, but was revived in 1946. Regular rambles, generally in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, were organised; and there were also night walks, tours lasting several days, and (until 1969) purely social events. The club is still active in 1997.
The Club was affiliated to various national countryside bodies, including the National Council of Ramblers Associations (afterwards the Ramblers Association), and the Youth Hostels Association. It was at a meeting organised by the club in December 1933 that the Croydon YHA, the first independent branch of the national organisation, was initiated.
Victor Morecroft (1899-1984) was the founder and first Hon Secretary of the club. He left in 1934; but returned in 1953 to become Chairman, then Vice-President from 1955, and President from 1977 until his death in 1984. Herbert Gatliff (1897-1977), a high-ranking but eccentric civil servant with numerous country interests, served as the first Chairman, and later as President, until his death in 1977: he devised the club motto, 'We wont go cosy'. Another important figure was Harold Ockenden (1908-1988), who succeeded Morecroft as Secretary in 1934, became Treasurer in 1946, and Vice-President from 1969 until his death in 1988: for most of this period, he also continued to act as Secretary.