4:46 PM August 1, 2022
8:30 AM August 2, 2022
Some families can spend weeks deciding where they go on holiday.
But for 84-year-old Gloria Colledge, there is no such worry as she celebrates her 63rd year in a row enjoying the family-friendly atmosphere of the White House Campsite in Repps with Bastwick.
Starting off the tradition in 1959 as newlyweds with her late husband Roy, Mrs Colledge’s first few trips to the campsite near Great Yarmouth were made by motorbike where she would carry a knapsack and tent on her back.
Mrs Colledge has since brought her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the place she calls her second home.
“It’s always so peaceful here,” said Mrs College.
“Over the years, it’s become my home away from home.”
“The owners couldn’t have been nicer. They are family to me.”
Since the 1950s, Mrs Colledge has made at least one trip a year to the Repps with Bastwick campsite from her home city of Coventry.
And now her son, Gary and daughters Julie Mabbett, 57 and Kay Aylett, 53, are continuing the tradition.
“We find the people here so friendly, open and warm,” said Kay.
“It’s a different pace of life.
“We’ve been washed out in bad weather and been brought hay bales. No matter the weather, we always feel welcome.”
Mrs Colledge said she has treasured memories at the campsite, including her final holiday with her husband before he died at the end of 2004.
“When he was diagnosed, he said he wanted nothing more than to come back one last time,” she said.
“It meant the world to him.”
Even during the pandemic, the family had managed to find a way to enjoy a holiday when domestic travel was permitted. The family brought their own separate bathroom and shower facilities just to keep the tradition alive.
But when asked what it was about the campsite specifically that always brought her back, Mrs Colledge said: “It’s the peace and quiet, and the fact that no matter what, we always feel welcome.
“Even going back to when the original owner was alive. We would often see him leaning by the gate with a smile, ready to welcome anyone who entered.
“Since then, the layout of the site has changed, but its atmosphere never did.
“And that’s why we’ll be back for many years to come.”
The White House Campsite over the years
The White House Campsite opened around 70 years ago when owner Harry “Peddler” Thain let out his field to campers wanting to take their boats out on the nearby Broads.
These days, the site is operated by Harry’s grandniece, Bronia Williams, and her husband Jim.
The couple shared stories of how basic the campsite was in the 1960s and 70s.
“In those days, equipment was basic and there was no electricity,” said Mr Williams.
“It was a common sight to see men having their early morning shave with just a hand mirror and cold jug of water.”
The owners said many of their guests are frequent returners – with many families from places such as London, Sheffield and Coventry becoming more like friends rather than just customers.
“We still have some people returning most years after four decades,” said Mrs Williams.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to beat Gloria’s record though.”