TV STAR Ruth Madoc was one of the main attractions at a recent historic caravan rally, although she had to compete with some classic tourers from the 1960s.
The rally near Bristol was organised by the Historic Caravan Club, which was formed in 1993 by a group of historic caravan owners and has since grown in size. The club’s aim is to preserve historic caravans, mostly pre-1961 or, in some cases, a few years later.
The HCC has many different caravans from a varied amount of manufacturers from yesteryear. Owners meet up on rallies organised by the club where in some cases the caravans are displayed to the public.
Ruth, star of TV’s Hi-de-Hi!, was being filmed at the rally for a TV programme due to be screened in the new year. From Bognor to Benidorm covers British holidaying in the 1960s.
The rally proved ideal for the caravanning section of the programme. Ruth and the crew interviewed several members regarding their caravanning experiences in the 1960s, including yours truly.
Caravans from the 1930s were there too
Apart from 60s caravans, a number of 1930s vans were there too. One was the landowner’s own – a 1933 Winchester which belongs to John Wilson. John has owned the Winchester for many years and in that time has kept it in very original condition. So has HCC member Paul Genner, with his slightly older version – a 1930 Winchester complete with Land Rover towcar.
A more modern Cheltenham Springbok was present from the 1960s, as was Dory Van Lachterop, star of BBC documentary Caravans: a British Love Affair, and her early 1960s Cheltenham Fawn caravan and dog Annabelle. Dory’s Fawn was used to do most of the interviews, which was ideal for the TV company’s requirements.
A rare 1968 Ensor Kiwi caravan owned by Sue and Mike Wye was also on the rally. Mike hadn’t owned the rare Ensor caravan long but had given it a slight restoration. In fact it turned out that Mike has 10 classics, including two 1950s Sprite 14s – one of which is due to be restored very soon. Mike has a real talent, as we found out later after a visit to his superb workshops where we saw some of his restored vans.
Friendly owners make for great event
This meet comprised only a small amount of caravans, but the fun and friendly owners make people welcome and it gives the modern caravanner an insight to how caravanning has grown today. Back then, the Winchesters were classed as luxury caravans for the well to do – it wasn’t really until the 1960s that caravanning became more popular and of course more affordable as tourers such as Sprite made the pastime more accessible.