As a child, we used to spend a week every Summer in a caravan, usually on a Holimarine Holiday camp.
I’m not sure why we chose this particular company over all the other rival holiday camps. I know though we were a family of limited means. In the late 70’s my Father quit his stressful sales job and took up a position as a village milkman, which meant he couldn’t bankroll expensive foreign trips. Instead, we would spend a week in a metal caravan in either New Quay, Wales, or Hopton on Sea, courtesy of Holimarine.
We went there every summer of the early 80’s, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was at Holimarine in Wales that I bought this collectors badge, from the children’s entertainer. What I can remember about Micky is that he had glasses, a mop of curly ginger hair, and a gigantic puppet rabbit that he used as part of his act. ‘You seem to remember a lot‘, I hear you cry. Well, there’s a reason. I have a photo.
That is quite some puppet, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s worth noting that I’ve cropped the picture to the left to remove myself. As a 10 year old I stood proudly next to Micky. You may notice that not only is Micky wearing a ‘Micky is Magic’ badge, but so is the rabbit.
Micky also judged a fancy dress contest that week, where my intepretation of a seagull (fashioned from toliet paper and pieces of cardboard) earned me second prize. I have a photo of this as well, which I’m not uploading, only if Micky asks me directly. I have to wonder what he (and the rabbit) are up to these days – whether he’s still an entertainer, or followed a more sombre career path. Google has no idea, so I guess I’ll never know. Needless to say, I wish him health and happiness.
In later years we went to Holimarine at Hopton on Sea. I was so happy there. My parents would sit on the beach all day and I was given free range to roam the site, playing in the arcades and generally making a nuisance of myself. Me and my cousin would rent a Surrey Cycle and pedal round camp. Here is a photo I found on the internet of the Hopton site, which is exactly how I remember it.
In the evenings, we would go to the entertainment complex. We’d sit as a family unit, trying to make our drinks last all night, hoping to get a bag of crisps or some whelks from a man who would pass from table to table. Some nights, there would be a ‘Razzle Dazzle Disco’, and we would dance to ‘March of the Mods‘, very much like in the video in the link. I have a vivid memory of a dance floor festooned with balloons, some of which had two pence pieces inside. I stomped around, trying to release their treasure for the arcade next door.
The entertainments were hosted by a man called Spencer K Gibbins, and I’m pleased to discover from Google that he’s still very much alive, and in show business to this day. It’s a mark of his powers that I still remember his name. When the holiday was over I used to lie on my bed, looking at the leaflets I’d collected during that week, wondering what Spencer was up to on stage back in Hopton. I thought he was the most amazing performer, lively, funny (but never blue), and utterly charming. What shocks me is how young he must have been, barely in his 30’s, not much older than my Dad at the time. Google tells me that when not at holiday camps, he used to tour with Sooty. Lucky Sooty.
We stopped going to Holimarine in the mid 80’s. By then I’d gotten too old for the arcades and entertainment. One year, we went the same week they showed sci-fi drama V on the television, and I stayed in the caravan every evening glued to the telly, much to my family’s dismay. By the time I was at sixth form, my parent’s financial fortunes had changed, and they went abroad for their holidays, without me and my brother.
But those Holimarine holidays were magical. The company doesn’t exist anymore, bought out in the 90’s, and there is little trace of them on the internet. There is this wonderful advert, but little else.
I’d be surprised if I paid for the ‘Micky is Magic’ badge. I imagine it was bought for me. But it is a great momento of a happy children holiday, and for that reason, I can’t imagine a reason why I’d ever throw it away.
15 thoughts on “Holimarine Holiday Camp ‘Micky is Magic’ Badge”
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Thats a fantastic story. I worked at the Newquay site in 79 behind the bar. Usually the balcony bar. And yor story brought back so many memories for me too. Thankyou for sharing. It was the best time of my life. Take care
Thank you so much for your kind comment Phil, yes, many happy memories myself of holidays in New Quay, excellent times.
Did you ever go to The Ponderosa at Hopton in the 1980s?
Just Holimarine, my parents were devotees to the brand, it was the only holiday camp we went to.
Just read your lovely piece on Holimarine. Memories for me are the same as you!! Michael Clarke
Great stuff, thanks Michael!
Hey man hope your still going good. Do you remember how many sites Holimarine had and where they were?
From the late 70s into the mid-80s, we went to Holimarine pretty much every year, either New Quay in Wales or Corton (just down the road from Hopton). I loved it and have very fond memories. Great post, a nice blast of nostalgia!
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Mark, I loved Holimarine. Do you remember how many sites they had and locations?
Funny to think that we could have been doing the March of the Mods on the same dance floor, thanks for your comment!
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How cool would that be? Like your blog a lot, I’ve added it to the blog roll on mine, some good shared memories! 🙂
Hi does anyone know of what singing groups were at Holimarine? I remember going when I was about 8 and we saw a sad marionette show and there was a group who sung various songs they were quite young themselves and I remember the youngest singing fame and I loved the song since that day but I didn’t get a chance to have a photo as they has run out and my mum wouldn’t take me the next night (which was there last) think it was about 1981/2
Don’t personally know, but what I do know is that Holimarine did release records towards the late 70’s called ‘HOLIDAY MEMORIES’ – take a look on Discogs. Acts used to often stay loyal so the group you refer to could potentially on one of those. I did buy one off Ebay (for a pound no less) – they are hilariously awful.
I used to go to holimarane new Quay as well. The best holidays I ever had. When I used to go (1976 ish) the children’s entertainer was called uncle Roland. He was great.