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Did you go caravanning in 1953?

Posted on 05 Jul 2013

Russ Swan

Does this look familiar? The first John Fowler caravan in 1953
Does this look familiar? The first John Fowler caravan in 1953

A West Country holiday park chain is trying to find its earliest visitor, with a prize of a free holiday plus £1000 cash.

John Fowler Holidays began when a merchant seaman used his £300 pay-off to buy and refurbish an old caravan, and locate it on a farmer’s field near Newquay, Cornwall. Using the village phone box as his office and relying on a single advert in a Midlands newspaper, John started receiving cash bookings and quickly had the beginnings of a small holiday business.

The shrewd decision to plough the income back into more caravans – a policy the company says it follows to this day – enabled the business to grow. Today John Fowler Holidays has 14 holiday parks in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset can accommodate up to 15,000 guests per night.

As the firm celebrates its diamond jubilee, it is hunting for holidaymakers who stayed with John in the year it all began – whether they made the booking themselves or came along as a child. The earliest guest from 1953 that can be found will receive a luxury John Fowler Holidays break, plus £1000 in cash.

Two further 60th anniversary competition weekends at Ilfracombe Holiday Park, this autumn, will seek Britain’s best holiday entertainer in an X-Factor style quest, and most appealing car preserved from 1953 in a classic car convention.

To stake your claim, email Suzy Steer-Fowler (please mention

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