Phil McKernon

Recently re-discovered in
New Zealand!
Welcome back 'Uncle Phil'!















The tarzan contest, a weekly event along with Miss Sussex Coast competion (Phil - Probably No. 26!)



I started at the camp (Southdean) as a waiter in 1969, at the tender age of 19, I remember George and of course Bridgette, she ran the staff dining room. 


After a few weeks Kenny Essex asked me if I wanted to join the entertainment team!!  Team?? Just he and me!!  Long hours, but such fun times, that's why I was so pleased to see this web site.


Phil McKernon at Southdean holiday camp














I then did around another 5 seasons (Erik Jack did one, when I was on the cruise ships).
I had my holiday camp season in 1976, that's when I met Barbi, and yes I understand the fetish with uniforms, as she was my waitress, we have been together since and got spliced here in 2005. 
We bought a B/B, kiwifruit orchard six years back, have a look at the website below and you'll see why.

Phil Ken Iris Erik Southdean













Kenny, Iris,Eric me and can't remember other chap??


Anyhoos back to the camp, Peter Smith was the GM (General Manager) when I got there, he ended up buying the Beresford pub, and then the Spur, we saw him a couple of times as we were in the trade, ran pubs/clubs all around.
Joy Long took over as GM  I think she was working for Peter prior to that? 

Phil Donkey Derby Holiday Camp

(spot the donkey!!??
The donkey derby - a good fun day for all the family)


So many memories that I could go on forever!!    I still keep in touch with Dave Fry, (catering manager at the camp) he is now in Devon.  Barbi and I bought our first property at Cedar Court next to the Elmer!!
Phil the photographer ( Mortimer might be his last name??) last we saw of him was when he and his wife Barbara( it does get confusing doesn't it?) came to Brighton we were running a big place there, they were last living in Deptford. 

Phil Hippy Night Fancy Dress

One of the fun nights was 'Hippy Night' even though I looked like a plonker!!




Another guy I remember is Carl Geri, he used to do charactures of the guests, was a very good artist and did a really sad cabaret act with a puppet clown with a balloon, all under a spot light ( controlled by Pete)

Phil Ken Sisters Act Camp Show

 'Sisters' Song


Phil Cherokees Cabaret

(the poor volunteer camper & me having knives thrown by Jeff Winship's Cherokee cabaret)


Phil Reunion Weekend




This is Phil and me singing at the gala weekend. 

We started our singing sessions in the Mariners bar during the bands break in the ballroom.

It was one of my favourite times, Peter (from Birmingham), Christine, Phil and me singing Sloop John B,American Pie, and Phil's rendition of Ebony Eyes, used to fill the eyes of the packed singalong session in the  mariners bar.

Phil Ken David Porter Sussex Coast

This is Kenny Essex, me at the end of season reunion.  David Porter one of the directors shaking Ken's hand


Phil The Poofy Pirate Show

The poofy pirate in The Pirate Show
(pc is a new concept!!)


Phils Waitress View From Chalet
This is a picture (taken from my chalet window) of three lovely waitresses , Barbi is the one in the middle, with Sally & Anne her two twin sister best mates.
They came from Ipswich and had applied for work all over the world, Italy, Spain etc.
Imagine their thoughts when they were accepted in a holiday camp just outside Bognor!!!





Phil Iris Camp Show

One of the acts on show night, 'If I were not upon the stage'
I was a boxer, straight right left hook lay em on the floor.
Next to me was a gymnast doing arms stretch knees bend run around all day, my left hook passing over her head!! on one occasion her timing was out and I punched her right on the back of the head!! whoops

(If I were not upon this stage, somthing else I'd like to be,
If I were not upon this stage, a boxers life for me,
You'd hear me all day long,
and this would be my song...
...  Sketch)

Watch how this sketch went here


Getting Ready To Start Another Holiday Camp Season
Some more thoughts!
Imagine the smell of fresh paint, the dinning room, ballroom, chalets all waiting in anticipation for the forthcoming season, bringing laughter, drama, tears??  The atmosphere at the holiday camp prior to the season's kick off was all the above, a slight chill, still in the air in the early spring morn.
Chairs being taken down from their tables, dusted and placed into position ready for the hungry diners.  Backstage, boxes, numbered for reference to their content for use in whatever fancy dress or show requirements. 
At the back of the kitchens, the large half filled with water, tin marmalade pot strategically placed to trap the endless wasps that strafe the kitchen staff throughout the warm summer months. 
Music, Carol King or Neil Young drifting from the staff rooms above the dinning room.  Store rooms filled with the endless tins of pears, awaiting the drizzle of chocolate creating desserts for the many, scone mix, onion gravy boxes, almost aware of their fate to be mixed with jam and poured over sausages & mash respectively. 
The bleachy smell of the swimming pool, being cleaned after it's winter solace, blankets, sheets pillows, all aired and knowing of their use to cover sleepy guests, still singing 'good night campers' as they drift off into holiday dreams.
It was at times like this one can imagine that buildings can have some sort of spirit, or is it our minds filled with the expectations and memories that create this illusion??
I remembered the names of the reception staff, Carol, Madeleine, Joan, lovely ladies, who always seemed to be amazed at some of the antics Dave Fry & I would do.
Hope life is good  -  ttfn

Do pop in if you are passing!
B&B Panorama Country Lodge

Tel: 0064 7 549 1882
901 Pacific Coast Highway
Bay of Plenty
New Zealand


Vote For Uncle Phil!