Claire Littleford and family, Berkshire
What’s the best thing about Boundless?“The sense of community you get on these rallies – we all keep an eye out for the kids and you can easily get to know everybody here, if you want to.”
Top tip for other members?
“It’s worth giving this a try, even if you’ve never been camping before. Sam came along with her family for the first time two years ago and now they’ve got their own caravan!”
What are you doing next?
“We haven’t been on a rally abroad together yet, as those tend to be in term time. That would be fun…”
It’s obvious, sitting outside Claire Littleford’s caravan with a mug of tea and chatting with her family, that they’re a close-knit bunch. And that they know how to have a laugh.
Claire, her husband, Jon, and two children, Eloise and Evan, have joined her parents (Di and Mel), her brother Tony, sister-in-law Becky and niece Brooke at a Berkshire Group rally in Buckler’s Hard, the New Forest. Her cousin Sam is here, too. “We came away with Mel and Di a couple of years ago and were hooked, so we got our own caravan,” laughs Sam.
Mel and Di joined Boundless when Claire and Tony were young. “It was really prompted by taking the kids out for weekends and holidays,” explains Di. “Money was a bit tight and it was ideal.”
“I remember we built a couple of campervans before we had a proper caravan,” recalls Claire. “Those are great memories.”
“What, holding on to the roof going over the Severn Bridge to stop it popping up, and sitting in the back corner because the wheel bearings had gone?” interjects Tony, laughing.
Caravanning is clearly in the blood. They’ve all organised, marshalled and generally helped to keep the Berkshire Group – where Mel is chairman and Claire is secretary – busy.
“We all love it,” says Di. “I call some of the other regulars my caravan family – we’ve been caravanning with them for 30-odd years.”
“Some of these people remember me as a child, and here I am with my own children – that’s bizarre!” adds Claire. “Now they have the same relationship with our kids as they did with us – and that’s great.”
Generally, the whole family aim to get on as many Berkshire and Portsmouth Group rallies as they can – usually it’s around ten a year, although Mel and Di do more than that. The family agrees that it’s when they’re all together camping that they catch up properly.
“Normal life’s just a bit hectic, isn’t it?” observes Becky. “When we do this, we all spend the weekend together, the kids are with their cousins and we really spend some quality time with each other.”
“The Abingdon rally is great because it’s very family orientated,” Claire adds. “Last year we managed five generations at a rally when Dad had his 65th! Fort Widley’s great for family time, too.”
“It’s nice to be in the outdoors and do lots of fun things,” adds Becky’s daughter, Brooke, and Eloise and Evan agree: “It’s an adventure, there’s always something new.”
The family has a seemingly endless supply of camping-related anecdotes and memories – there’s much reminiscing and teasing about various exploits, mishaps and fun over the years.
“It’s getting to the point where the younger generation is starting to take up the baton,” observes Claire. “If we don’t, it will just die out so you have to take a bit on – the older generation did it for us and now it’s kind of paying it back. We want our kids to be able to enjoy the experiences that we had.”