TV personality and sports pundit Annabel Croft entertained a packed crowd at the Inspiration Theatre at the NEC Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show where she was interviewed about her passion for motorhoming, her van conversion and her role as ambassador at the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC).

Former tennis star Annabel bought her van, Mercedes Sprinter LWB, with her husband Mel in January 2021 and he converted it into a campervan (over three months during lockdown), which they named ‘Vannabel’. Sadly, Mel died of cancer in May 2023.

Deputy editor Paul Critcher caught up with her to ask about her role and her plans for the future and her passion for motorhoming.

“I’m an ambassador of the CAMC and feel like I’ve been welcomed into the club with open arms into the most wonderful family. Every time I come to the shows I’m always blown away and excited to see the motorhomes and compare layouts. There’s always something new. It seems to move on all the time – like today I was seeing vans with showers with revolving doors and I haven’t seen that before. It also gives you lots of motivation to go and visit places – I love it.”

Following her bereavement, Annabel has had little chance to use the campervan – she was competing in Strictly Come Dancing (where she reached the semi-finals with dance partner Johannes Radebe), which was followed by the Strictly live tour. But now she’s keen to do more.

“There’s still lots to explore in the UK – my husband was keen to go into Europe and so I feel I should take one of my family members and just go, but there are still places to explore in the UK. It was heart wrenching to go in the van after Mel died but my daughter Lily is keen to take the van, and I’ll be doing some filming with the van for This Morning – we are going up to Yorkshire for a week exploring.”

“I introduced Johannes to Vannabel while I was on Strictly and he was blown away by it. It has a double bed which extends, a kitchen, a seating area. It has a yachting theme to it as my husband was a yachtsman.”

“When Mel and I used to take her out we’d pick an area but we didn’t make too many plans and I always enjoyed speaking to local people and finding out what was good in the area. They often offered up amazing advice. We went North Norfolk Coast, Holkham Hall, Pembrokeshire, Northumberland, Scotland – I have lots of lovely memories of spending time with Mel out in the van. There’s lots of places I want to go in the future but I’m so busy with work.

When asked about the prospect of some sort of TV programme with Johannes, she says:

“You never know – there’s lots of ideas being thrown around!”

During her interview on stage, Annabel shared some photos from her travels including a photo of St Govan’s Church in Wales and spoke about the positive effects of being outdoors and the campervanning life.

“I was able to share this little gem with the audience – you’d never find it unless you knew about it – it’s a 13th century church hidden in the rock face. I love walking and getting away from the tekkie world – walking is my favourite thing, nothing beats it.”

• Annabel is a member and ambassador of the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this review, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.