Beds, Herts & Bucks

A Bedfordshire naturist tells the naked truth

Image caption Many people admit to having sunbathed nude

A Bedfordshire naturist says there is a common misconception that all naturists are exhibitionists.

Roni Fine, who was first introduced to the lifestyle by her husband Deane, has been a naturist since 2004.

The couple regularly practise their pastime at the Blackthorn Sun Club near Sharnbrook.

"It's a wonderful feeling of freedom, to be outside on a warm day and feel the air on your body" said Mrs Fine.

According to figures from British Naturism, the UK's national naturist organisation, about 1.2 million people describe themselves as a naturist, with between 10 and 20 times that number admitting to have sunbathed nude or "skinny dipped".

Mrs Fine said there was a steady growth in the number of naturists in the UK, as more people accepted the lifestyle.

"Some people try it on holiday and when they come home are more open to it," she said.

All ages

Founded in 1959, the secluded Bedfordshire club has been developing its current site since 1969 and now has more than 114 members.

"Our members are all ages and come from so many different walks of life. We have plumbers, doctors and even a 94-year-old who have joined.

"It's a good mix of people who come together who wouldn't necessarily normally meet up," she said.

Safe atmosphere

Mrs Fine said clubs provided naturists with a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

"Where else can you strip naked and feel at total ease?" she said.

"We are all there for the same reason and the correct one - to relax in a naked state without upsetting or offending anyone.

"We also welcome friends and relatives to evening socials when we are dressed and hope they see the normality of naturists and overcome their initial doubts and fears.

"There's a common misconception that all naturists are exhibitionists. We are not, we are normal people, but if it's warm enough to undress then we do," she said.

World Naturist Day is Saturday 18 June.

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