Tell us about your current role – what do you do?
I’m the Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club. I have the privilege of leading and operating the club on behalf of its members.
I’m very fortunate to have an amazing team to work with across the organisation, and I also work closely with the senior voluntary officers of the club – they employ me to run the organisation on their behalf.
How long have you been with the club? And where did you work before that?
I started my career in a book-keeping role and worked in the finance departments at various companies, usually related to agriculture and the outdoors.
I joined the club in 2002 as Finance Manager and in 2010, was appointed Finance Director. Three years ago I became Deputy Director General and then last year, in February, I was appointed Director General.
Tell us a bit about the club’s history and its current position in the market
The C&CC was founded in 1901 and we consider it the oldest and largest organisation of its kind in the world, for all types of camping.
That’s key, because we welcome everyone, from tiny backpacker tents right up to large RV-style motorhomes and everything else in between. We’ve had some very high-profile presidents over the years, going right back to Captain Scott of the Antarctic – he held the position between 1909 and 1912, when he sadly died on his expedition to the South Pole. On that expedition, Scott was carrying a club pennon with him. TV presenter and author Julia Bradbury is now President and she is a great ambassador for the club.
What memories do you have of camping as a child?
I was in the Girl Guides and our camping trips were always a big highlight. I particularly remember a week in Charmouth, walking across the cliffs at Lyme Regis and scaring ourselves to death with creepy night-time stories.
Recently, I’ve been using Ready Camp tents (a pre-erected tent service offered by the club), which is really convenient when arriving late at night and in the dark.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
The senior leadership team set itself the challenge of visiting every single UK club site – that’s 120 campsites between four people!
We did it and I had the lovely experience of being able to travel to Scotland. The Isle of Skye was just amazing – I’ll definitely be returning there in the future.
Where would you like to go next?
I’ll probably do more site visits next year, so that will give me the chance to see places I’ve not seen before. Longer-term, my dream is to visit the west coast of Canada.
What’s special about the club – what’s its USP?
The Camping and Caravanning Club is owned and run by members and everything we do is for them. Our success and the cash we generate is for their benefit, and we’re not answerable to shareholders, so we can make the right decisions for the long term.
What tips do you have for people who are new to motor caravanning?
Join the club! We offer lots of support (including a tow car matching service for caravanners), and we have an excellent technical help desk. We also operate beginners’ courses.
What’s on your playlist?
Right now, Alabama Shakes is my favourite. I also love early Bowie – I saw Holy Holy last year, a super group made up of people who used to play with him.
Favourite meal or recipe while out on tour?
I like good food, but more to the point, I like a glass of wine – but it has to be at just the right temperature!
Tell us something about you that might surprise people!
I grew up on a farm in Oxfordshire where my dad was estate manager. It was the perfect place to grow up and I enjoyed the freedom of playing out all day – and playing music as loud as I liked.
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The senior leadership team set itself the challenge of visiting every single UK club site - that's 120 campsites between four people!