Caldervale and South Yorkshire Area
of the British Caravanners Club

About Us - The History

Very kindly written by one of the longest standing members, Mr Albert Hall

Caldervale and South and South Yorkshire BCC was formed in March 1976 by a split of members from the East and West Yorkshire Areas, after numerous complaints saying that the area was too vast, and with so many members, getting sites was becoming a problem and regular members could not attend. Under the Camping Club rules the Caldervale and South yorkshire club had to exist on its own for one year before becoming officially recognised as an area. Which was achieved and recognition given in the spring of 1977.

Mr Ron Tierney with his wife, Joan, was the first Chairman and he held the post for the first three years. At this point, being a new club, we were without funds and equipment of any kind. Everything was borrowed or donated. We ran raffles etc to try and raise enough to keep the club afloat. Generally between 20-30 vans can out most weeks and always plenty of children!

Games were played on the fields to them happy and entertained as back then a "car-boot" was where you kept your luggage! and televisions? you were lucky if you had radio! Milk was collected in large churns from the local farms and stewards dished it out along with the daily papers.

The second Chairman was Jack Laughing, with his wife Madge, he looked after it for four years. It was during this time we decided to start buying equipment, but as we had no funds, it was suggested that, if you could afford it, to loan money to the area and most people did. It varied between £10 and £50 and I remember one of the first things we bought was a music center and records!

Under Jack Laughlin's Chairmanship it was also decided that we should run a meet for all the Yorkshire areas and call it the "Bonanza Meet", hoping to raise enough money to pay off all the loans and eventually we raised enough money to re-pay all the lenders. All the other areas thought that this Bonanza Meet was a good idea and they wanted a share of it, and so the Bonanza meet started to travel around the Yorkshire region each year held at a different location and became known as the "Yorkshire Bonanza". Over the years Caldervale and South Yorkshire BCC ran about three of the Yorkshire Bonanza's but sadly as time passed so did the interest and charm of the meet.

The next Chairman was Mr Stan Heaton and his wife Kathleen who took the club from strength to strength although due to an unfortunate mix up, the Bonanza he ran actually lost money. Stan Chaired the club for about 3 years before Mr Roy Silkstone took up the reins with his wife Denise who chaired for the next three years and gave very good service to the club.

Another enjoyable time I remember was the Christmas meets, they were always very successful. Infact you had to book well in advance of October to ensure you got a space or else it was just fully booked! The First one was in Holmfirth, near Huddersfield, and we never missed one for nearly 20 years!

Mr Albert Hall (May 2005)


The Story Continues ...

Iris Neale Chairman  from 1987 To 1991

I was elected in June of 87 my term of office started officially in November but due to work commitments of the present chairman I had to stand in for him . My first meet was at Eckington Show , thrown in at the deep end so to speak I was asked along with two of the BCC,s Management to judge the arts and craft, with knees knocking I went to the marquee, the trouble was I liked everything, but agreed with the others on the winner. There was a turn out of over 50 vans and I had to take coffee morning on Sunday. My nerves were in a right state but I did it and it was a good start to a wonderful time of my life.

The winter months of 87 were very busy as Caldervale were hosting the BCC AGM &FEAST OF LANTERNS 1988 .I had asked Jack Robinson if he would chair the committee for this meet and he kindly agreed .Jack and Muriel  Ivan and myself lived in each others company for the winter months, Ivan and Muriel had a lot to put up with while Jack and I got our heads together planning. The miles we travelled re checking and booking everything that was needed were many,but by the time the season started and thanks to Jack, s hard work and help we were ready for the rest of the members to get involved. I wanted, when I put myself forward for A.C to bring the members together as a united group not a them and us area some of the members would I am sure say it wasn’t but it did feel like it. Now I had the chance, the tent went up most weekends and we all got together and worked together to make Pontefract AGM FOL one of the best and most talked about meets and we did it .This is were the red white and blue theme came from, it was the easiest to put together and wear that I could think of I must have been right because we still use it.

If someone asked me what was my most precious memory of my term as AC I would have to say  Standing on the stage at Pontefract at the end of the finale of a good CV&SY show we finished with ”Land of hope and glory,” over a thousand members waving Union Jacks.Caldervale members filling the stage and in front of it ,all in red white and blue, what a proud moment for me ,the look of joy and emotion in all those faces will be with me forever I have only to hear that tune and I can see it all again and I am sure I am not on my own. I have many memories from this meet. The way the members did everything that was asked of them and more. I had noticed the flags had not been put on the marquee poles when erected the next thing I saw was Les Hargreaves climbing the canvas and up went the flags, we had a big problem with the water, the next thing we were fitting a special tow bar to Peter Longley’s Land Rover and away he and Simon went and all weekend towed bowser after bowser of water round that site. All the members and management saving the marquee from disaster in a heavy storm, by hanging on to guy lines and pushing water out of the top all this after I had got them out of bed at 6.30 AM by blowing my whistle as loud as I could, there are too many to mention I could go on and on.Thankyou one and all.

We had purchased a new tent, lighter and brighter than the other. When we used it I made sure it was looked after, no walking on while putting up and taking down, all dirt cleaned off... I must have been cursed by the men.  We had some good times in it .We were going to the C&CCs FOL as well as hosting our own so a lot of work had been done in it We were going in the Mardigrar at the National and our costumes were plastic globes of the world all to be made and painted. Guess who picked up a jar of paint by the lid and of it came, dropping the jar to the floor and the paint in all directions; I was cleaning the tent for the rest of the day. It was worth it in the end because we won our section of  25s &under. I had to go up on the stage to collect the trophy from Frank Grant C&CCs Chairman as I walked down he was shouting” Come on Iris have you brought your whistle”.

It was not all plain sailing in my years has AC.  I was a woman in a mans world and some members thought I would be a mouth piece for someone else I soon proved them wrong I was my own person and stood up for myself. There were highs and lows and I had to fight my corner but the highs made up for the lows. There were disagreements with members, we would have our say to each other and sort it out and then get along together, except  for one , when I blow my top.

It was after a planning meeting for the 1991 Bonanza I decided to chair this event myself after having a good teacher in Jack for the AGM all went well as I had thought, I had got volunteers for taking charge of the many aspects needed to bring this meet together, some of them I had to ask for more than once but we got there in the end and went back to our vans to sit out and have a cuppa. Before I got mine I was asked to go to a members van, on going in his wife let rip at me ” I had upset her and all the other members felt the same also one member had gone home because of me”, I could not believe what I was hearing. I walked out and the poor members took the flack I walked round that field and in temper told them all what they could do with the Bonanza and the ACs job. They were flabbergasted it took some time before my family calmed me down. Nobody knew what I was going on about they all thought I had done a good and satisfactory meeting, the member who had left had something to go home for. The following weeks coffee morning I apologised for my outburst. But I never forgave her for the harm she had done to me and the members. 

I could not have done all I did without the backing and understanding of Ivan, he never saw me on a Friday night I visited every van to say hello and were there any problems, we had a good turn out of vans so I was out a long time. Bless him he used to fetch and carry everything I needed , he christened himself my Gofer. We had a good Bonanza in 1991 a good hard working team again. I was very proud to represent the members at all times. As I have already said a wonderful time in my life

I enjoyed coffee mornings I tried to make them fun as well as keeping everyone informed business wise, I told many a tale to them. About the cockatiel we managed to loose in Blackpool and running around the sea front trying to get it back in its cage without success. About Mr Patel who phoned many times to ask about bringing a very large family to the Pancake Meet, each time he phoned the family got larger, I had to be polite but my temper was getting frayed I did not know how I was going to explain to everyone about them all being in one unit.Then the penny dropped it was our Duncan. I could have killed him. 

I retired in November 1991 and Mike Moody took over. I took on my new role as Councillor and did that for the next nine years.

Thank you members and family for giving me your support. Special thanks to Ivan without him all of this I could not have done.
Good Luck to all future Chairpersons.

The icing on the cake came in 2004 when I was awarded The Chairman’s Award. I was speechless; I could not believe it was my name that had been said. And to be presented it by Don Geeson was wonderful.

 Iris and my Gofer Ivan.


Past Chairmen of Caldervale and South Yorkshire BCC

Mr Ron Tierney and his Wife Joan - 1976-1978
Mr Jack Laughlin and his wife Madge - 1979-1981
Mr Stan Heaton and his wife Kath - 1982-1984
Mr Roy Silkstone and his wife Denise - 1985-1987
Mrs Iris Neale and her husband Ivan - 1988-1990
Mr Michael Moody - 1991-1995
Mr Keith Suttle and his partner Hazel Neale - 1995-1999
Mr David Webb and his wife Lorraine - 2000-2002
Mr Keith Suttle and his partner Hazel Neale - 2003
Mr Robin Blackburn and his wife Janet - 2004-2007
Mr Duncan Neale and his wife Sandra - 2007-2010

Current Chairman

Mr Charles Wroe and his wife Kath - 2010-

Many thanks to them all for their hard work and dedication to
The Caldervale and South Yorkshire Area of the British Caravanners Club


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