About JB IV50 in the words of Martyn Bowden Managing Director of Select School Travel:
At the beginning of August, I lost my father, John Bowden, who was the founder of Select, among other school travel companies, and was truly one of the pioneers in the world of school travel. The boy born in South Wales in 1947 did good, achieving simply through his pure grit and determination. His passion for travel was infectious; he wanted every person to have the opportunity to experience it, no matter their background. Skiing was especially close to his heart: being in the mountains with the bright blue sky and the sun shining on his face, searching for the ever perfect piste. John’s first school ski trip as a child was to Zurs in the 1950s with Caerphilly Grammar School, something he never forgot. There is no better tribute than to experience a place that was very special to him; Austria.
In January 2020, to mark my father’s memory, we took a special ski trip to Austria called JB IV50. We invited party leaders from the past, present, and future, to experience the hotel Felseralm, Obertauern. This property is owned by Barbara who knew my father for over 20 years, so it was fitting to create a special ski weekend there. It was a poignant way to mark my father’s legacy and to bring school ski staff and party leaders together, working side by side to bring great life experiences to the next generation. The weekend was spent reminiscing, skiing, enjoying a special gala dinner, and was a general coming together to remember and celebrate John Bowden’s achievements.
Since his passing, I have heard many stories about my father, particularly his pursuit for excellence and the generous things he did that slipped by unnoticed, one of which I would like to share with you. A school group was stranded just before Christmas; the flight was cancelled with no other options available. My father decided to charter an aircraft specifically to bring them home to their parents, in time to share the special day: the alternative was simply not acceptable in my father’s eyes. He truly was one of the greats. Every day I will be reminded of his achievements, of his intense attention to detail, knowing schools and party leaders by name, not by number, something at the heart of Select.