DCSIMG

Ken seeks a snapshot of life at Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses

THE owner of a luxury caravan park is hoping visitors past and present can help him celebrate the complex's 50th anniversary.

Ken Britton, who runs the multi-award winning Seafield Park in Seahouses, had planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the day the site first opened for business by staging an exhibition of five decades of caravanning.

But almost every photograph Ken and his family had of the park has been lost.

So now he's hoping to use the pictures and memories of former guests to highlight the fun holidaymakers have had at the Seafield since June 1, 1960.

"The world has changed enormously over the past 50 years, but the affinity the British have for caravanning lives on," said 62 year-old Ken.

"I grew up here at the Seafield and know the affection with which many people look upon this place, I want them to share the laughs and enjoyment they've had here on holiday in their caravans over the last five decades.

"My father Jack and mother Mary had moved to Seahouses from Durham in 1947 to run a hotel and opened the Seafield caravan park 13 years later."

He added: "Back then, nobody realised just how popular it would prove to be.

"I know we had books of photos we took over the years, but we've ransacked the offices and all our homes and can't find them; we've just got the faded old ledger with the first advert that announced we were open for business.

"So we'd love it if anyone has family snapshots of their holidays at the Seafield anytime since 1960 up to the present day to send us a copy and tell us what they remember about their time here.

"I want to put as many as I can on show here in an exhibition to demonstrate just how far caravanning has come since the sixties."

Ken explained: "Back then people were staying in glorified touring caravans and to be honest the facilities were limited.

"Some people are still a bit snobby about caravan holidays, but we've moved it on here and offer the very highest quality facilities.

"That's reflected by some of the guests we get, people like Coronation Street star Chris Gascoyne, who plays Peter Barlow, he was here recently.

"We also get a lot of footballers, like the former Sunderland and Wigan player Kevin Kilbane who is now at Hull City and some of the Newcastle Falcons rugby players, like the All Black star Carl Hayman."

The Seafield caravan site was launched with no fanfare back in 1960 - just a one-inch advert in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle which promised a limited number of pitches being available 'for caravans of proprietary makes' on the site overlooking Seahouses bay and the Farne Islands.

Back in the June 1960, when sliced bread had just gone on sale in Britain for the first time and a pint of milk was three pence in today's money, holidaymakers could put a caravan on the Seafield for 40 for the entire year.

The park had a restaurant and toilet and shower blocks, but not much else apart from the fresh sea air and glorious coastal views.

These days, the site, which has won more tourism awards than Ken can count, boasts the Ocean Club, a 2.5 million health club with two swimming pools, a sauna and steam room as well as a beauty treatment centre and caf bar.

The site itself has expanded hugely to cope with ever-increasing demand. There are currently 400 pitches catering for motor homes, site and touring caravans, as well as state-of-the-art holiday homes.

And demand from holidaymakers from across the UK and abroad for a break at the Seafield is growing so much that Mr Britton has just sought planning approval to increase the size of the park by another 200 pitches at a cost of 3 million.

"When we opened there was my father and one member of staff, a groundsman called Jimmy English, looking after the place," said Ken.

"Now we've grown so much we employ 55 people and the money our guests spend currently puts 3.5 million a year back into the local economy.

"The British have always loved caravans. We get lots of people who could afford far more expensive holidays, but they keep coming back to stay in a caravan, they love the outdoor life.

"Holidaymakers particularly enjoy coming to Seahouses because of everything that's on hand here, from the fabulous beaches, the country walks, the golf courses, you can go horse riding or simply enjoy the magnificent countryside.

"We now find that people who were brought here as children by their parents turn up a generation later for a holiday with their own kids, which is testament to just how many people have treasured memories of the Seafield."

*If you have photographs or memories of your holiday at the Seafield please send them to Ken Britton, c/o Seafield Caravan Park, Seahouses, Northumberland. NE68 7SP, or e-mail your memories and snapshots to info@seafield park.co.uk

 
 
 

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