Holiday camps seem naff now but they were magical

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

A number of people have bent my ear of late complaining that my piece in the Guardian has “become boring” by concentrating on legal issues.

As such, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of tales or anecdotes that may be even slightly amusing. Given that the holiday season will soon be upon us I decided to reminisce on some of my earliest holidays.

I have never been abroad with my parents. They simply couldn’t afford to take us. Instead, our early family holidays were day trips to destinations such as Southport, Blackpool or Morecambe.

If my father had managed to save enough money we might be lucky enough to spend a week at a holiday camp.

I remember these family holidays extremely fondly, with the best of all being Butlins. It all appears quite naff now, but then they were the most magical days of our lives. We entered everything going as far as entertainment was concerned. From sporting activities to bar games to talent competitions. The fact that we weren’t that good at these games and had little resembling talent was irrelevant.

On the Friday evening there was an awards ceremony where all the winners would receive certificates and medals. Daniel, the Redcoat in charge of the kids club, was most enthusiastic in ensuring that we attend even though we were well aware that we hadn’t won anything.

At the end of the ceremony, when most of the winners had collected their awards and left, Daniel announced that there was now a special prize. He asked for the ‘Dodd boys’ to come on stage and we were each given a certificate for “Trying Hard.”

Looking back, I could take that as being more than a little patronising. However, at the time we were chuffed to bits and I’m sure that my mum still has the certificates in her important papers tin.

We thought that the Redcoats were brilliant, and all vowed that’s what we would be when we grew up. Given the way the legal profession seems to be going I often think that I should have stuck to that early career choice.