Mark Thomas' website
Mark Thomas, Blue Badge Tourist Guide for Wessex and Cornwall
I am really sorry to say that I will not be offering guiding services for the foreseeable future
I regret that I am not taking bookings for the foreseeable future
At the start of 2020,only days after taking a lovely coach panoramic tour of Portsmouth, I got the shock of being told that my slightly annoying persistent winter cough was in all probability due to secondary cancer in my lungs. It was then confirmed that this was a rare type of cancer (thymic carcinoma) which had become incurable, it having spread significantly to lungs and liver.
Writing this towards the end of July, I have completed a course of chemotherapy which initially had the desired impact but was less effective in its later stages. I am now starting, immediately, a different chemotherapy course which we hope will buy me additional time at least for its expected duration of three-five months. Thereafter my prognosis will most probably give me just a few months.
When I started training in 2015 and then started working as a Blue Badge Guide in 2016 I thought I might enjoy it but the reality exceeded my expectations. Further training and then expanding my working area to include SW England from 2018/9 was a great addition. I am so grateful for these in addition to other many excellent memories from my 61 years.
If my fortunes turn out to be, much against the odds, better than my doctors currently advise, I shall be delighted to wear the badge again and show you the wonderful places in Central Southern and South West England, and especially North Devon, where I now live. In that event, I will set up a new website at www.bluebadge.guide. (This web address will, unfortunately, lapse in 2021, due to the UK's exit from the European Union, which will preclude people who are both citizens and residents of the UK from using the 'eu' suffix).
And I didn't mention Covid 19 once!
I have left the text of the remainder of the site as it was, so you get an idea of what I offered when I was working.
The Wessex area is a beautiful, varied and vibrant part of the country, full of ancient and modern heritage which tells fascinating stories about the local area, about the nation, and about Europe as a whole, from the Stone Age right up to the present day ’phone age’.
Wessex was an English kingdom which more than 1100 years ago prospered and grew. With attacks from the Vikings eventually rolled back Wessex became the hub of what emerged as the English nation and an English identity for the first time, a nation that is diverse, historic and beautiful.
I was born and grew up in different parts of this area. As a Blue Badge qualified Tour Guide it will be my pleasure to show you its wide variety of great attractions and scenery. This includes some of the UK’s best known sites, as well as some other less well known gems. Amongst these highlights are:
Wessex is larger than just the area around Dorset and Wiltshire written about by author Thomas Hardy in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Its original capital was Dorchester-on-Thames near Oxford, before moving to Winchester. It stretches from Winsdor in the East down to Plymouth in the South West; I am also guide beyond the area of ancient Wessex in exquisite and independently minded Cornwall - where the Anglo Saxons never conquered!
My area covers the counties of Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Hampshire, Somerset, Bath, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and The Isle of Wight
I am a member of:
# The Institute of Tourist Guiding (ITG - the accreditation body)
# The Association of Wessex Tourist Guides
MITG MA(Oxon) FIET