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Tom Simpson Remembers Growing Up at Butlins Back

I was born in 1950 and started going to Butlin with mum and dad as a young child. My earliest memories are being in the Gaiety theatre on the front row, mum was disabled, when one of the acts wanted some children on stage. Seeing me he selected me as well as other children and put me at the end of the queue. He then walked me to the start of the queue and back again, then made the first child in the queue an animal out of balloons. He then led me from the end of the queue to the start and back again before making the next child a balloon animal. He did this until I was the only child left. He then made me a load of balloon animals. When we left Butlins I would not let dad deflate the balloons so they were put in the boot. On the way home (no motorways then) there was a loud bang and several cars near us stopped to check if their tyres had bust, but none had. Sure enough when we got home we found a lot of the balloons had burst together. Other memories are comming 2nd in the fancy dress and winning a weeks holiday at Butlins, and as a member of the Beaver Club doing a performance for the mums and dads to '76 trombones' ending with the Butlins B.

When I became a teenager I went to a Pentecostal Chruch, part of Assemblies of God. Each year they had an annual conference at Butlins in May the week before the camp opened to the general public. Butlins opened the various facilties for us but instead of entertainment the theatres and ballrooms had guest speakers. Everthing finished at 10pm and we had to go back to our chalets.

In 2005 I met a man and we are now in a Civil Partnership we visited all the three remaining Butlins centres and there have been big changess such as the skyline buildings. At Skegness we went on a spa weekend being pampered. I found I have now outgrown Butlins but it is still the best holiday for families with children.

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