When I was young I went with my parents every year to stay at a Pontins Holiday Camp for a week or two. Pontins (for those who don’t know) are family holiday camps where you stay in chalet type accommodation, either self-catering or full-board. There is a ton of entertainment provided by ‘Bluecoats’, and all entertainment is provided ‘all – included’ in the cost. Swimming, golf, tennis, bicycles, table tennis, evening shows, a childrens club etc is all on site, and in the 1960s and 1970s when we didn’t have a car it was the perfect holiday as you could happily spend the whole week in the camp.
Our first holiday was in 1966, we went to Little Canada, on The Isle of Wight. Not a million miles from our home in Brighton, but it seemed as if we were travelling a very long way to me. Here is a postcard of the entrance to the camp, there is a totem pole at the front:
We stayed in just one room, pictured below. The chalets were wooden, to give the feel of a Canadian wooden lodge. So we had no bathroom, toilet or kitchen, which meant going out to the nearest wooden built outside toilet block. Drinks and meals were taken in a large canteen type room.
I bought a cowboy hat to fit in with the theme, which was sort of cowboys and indians. The photo below was taken just outside our log cabin.I was a very shy child, so not too keen on joining in the childrens club activities with all the others, I hung out with my parents all the time. We played golf, and tennis. There was a table tennis room, and I spent a lot of time sitting watching my parents playing in there.
The photograph above is a scan of my autograph book, I got it signed by the Bluecoats and band members, and the first one in the book is on the yellow page, and was the gentleman sharing our dinner table at every meal. It says ‘Be a good friend and you will always have good friends’ which is a lovely note.
All in all I remember it as a very happy and exciting time, and it set the tone for our future family holidays.