Brought into Southdean holiday camp life in 1962 at the
tender age of 4 by my mother, Kay
Although to be accurate, Kay had worked at Broadreeds Camp in
Selsey the previous year and had sneaked me in to the camp
occassionally, so I was really an old holiday camp
pro. at an early age. If you pardon the
Lived at the holiday camp during the season, then had to
find a local holiday home to rent for the winter. Grew up
with 3 other kids who also lived on camp - Tony, Gary
Can't think of a better place to be brought up, than a camp
that provides every type of sport, entertainment,
playmates and a fresh supply of girls each week!
I was probably an annoying hanger-on who shadowed the
entertainment staff constantly.
I gradually got given jobs to do as I got older - some of
which, I got paid for:
luggage boy - Collecting all the dirty
sheets in the morning and doing luggage duties in the afternoon
as the new punters arrive. Get those tips out! The
morning's most important task was to try and sneak a look at
the Linen Room's list of campers that were arriving that day -
Necessary to see names, ages and room numbers of all
the new girls!
spotlight operator - Like to pose as I sweated
over the hot spotlight and tried to point it in the right
direction for the caberets.
unofficial entertainment gofer! - Helped with
bingo, swimming galas, donkey derbys, camp shows, zoo trips etc
photographer's helper - Made a nest in the
photographer's kiosk and helped with displaying the photos and
even shot a few rolls myself.
night cafe helper - Good old Win Page!
She ran the cafe for years and I helped her setup for the
evening shift occassionally.
cabaret & camp show helper - Loved to
setup the ultra-violet lights for the Cherokees Floor Show and even
had a special glowing shirt to pose in by the lights. Did
various rolls in the camp shows.
baby crying patroller - Occassionally helped
my mum with the baby patrol every 20 minutes or so. Walk
around the camp and listen to the doors with white hankies tied
to the door knob, indicating kids asleep inside.
maintenance staff - Had the very useful perk
of having a 'master key' to all rooms! Girls were very
impressed when I said "I bet I can get into your room" and then
proceeded to do so! The abuse of power by a spotty
film projectionist - for kids cartoons &
weekly feature films. Girls couldn't help but be
impressed by my dark projection room! Unfortunately one
night the girl got much more attention than the projector and I
didn't notice that the film was not being wound onto the
'take-up' reel. At the end of the film there was about
300 miles of film all over the floor like an explosion in a
spaghetti factory! That should have taught me, but
disco lighting operator with Life Entertainment - I worked with
the disco lighting and was a great flasher!
One unbreakable camp rule that I lived my life by as a young
boy at Southdean was: Never go out with staff! Why
would you get tied up for the whole season, when fresh supplies
of campers were being delivered every Saturday
My mate at Southdean holiday camp had broken this
rule and got involved with a waitress and I wasn't about to go
the same way, although, as a young kid (6 or 7 ish) at the
camp, I had become attracted to a blond waitress who was
probably around 18, and I stood outside the dinning room
watching this beautiful creature and even getting a kiss on the
cheek from her one day. This was not a good omen for the
In 1977 my well oiled system came tumbling down when a
camper girlfriend came back to Southdean, or Sussex Coast
Country Club as it now was, as a waitress and brought a friend
of hers. The friend of hers became my waitress friend and
I too, broke the unbreakable rule and went out with a
waitress! In reality, it was much worse than this, as I
then married her and continue the relationship to this
1977 brought about a decline in my holiday camp interest and
I probably stopped working there around that time.
And yes, I still love waitresses! Only joking
(This Peter Sharp page has a huge number of photos below -
Well if youv'e got em, stick em up on the net!)