Chapter 13


Doing something Different


I agreed to join Burtree full time and was given a Head office appointment starting September 1986 as Manager Parks. Burtree had Caravan parks at Seaton Carew (Residential) Stanhope, Barnard Castle, Ripon and Bridlington I got straight into the workings of the Caravan Parks and soon got to grips with the problems Iíd inherited, especially Seaton Carew which was a residential park. Technical problems associated with infrastructure were my bread and butter. Burtree had depots at Washington, Seaton Delaval, Middlesbrough and Darlington all bringing up problems from time to time.


Whilst looking through the companyís records it was pointed out to me that Trevor Ford the famous Welsh centre forward was at one time a director of Burtree Caravans this was Iím told a means of paying him extra income when he played for Sunderland


In late 1987 I travelled down to the Earls Court Caravan Show and got off the train at Kings Cross with my companion Neville Barnaby who was the workshop manager and travelled by tube up to Earls Court, We put in a great day at the show and sampled a lot of the hospitality on offer. We decided to return home on the 5pm train and headed back north not knowing the horror that was unfolding at Kings Cross. A fire had engulfed the underground and people were loosing their lives trying to get out. Violet had seen the breaking news and thought that I might get caught up in it. We knew nothing about the incident even when we got back to Darlington. I caught a bus from Darlington back to Wheatley Hill and only found out about the disaster when I got back home.


Burtree had over the years built up a network of contacts with Independent privately owned caravan parks and sold onto those parks caravans which were franchised to Burtree. Leading names like Atlas, Willerby and Cosalt Caravans were now being produced with full mains facilities and therefore parks needed to be updated. Non mains caravans were a thing of the past and all parks wishing to move forward needed new infrastructure to cope with demands. The potential was enormous. Besides overseeing the caravan parks I had a team of three men who were all very good skilled workers they travelled around the parks putting in utilities etc. I did all the working out and placed orders for materials and plant hire, we even had our own tractor digger which we moved from site to site.

Bob Douglas, his son Alan and Wilf Watson. Did some great development work?

Our Paul married Andrea Duffy on 10th June 1988 at Thornley and the reception was held at Wheatley Hill W.M.C. club it was a great day for everyone. Paulís Boss Denis Kelly supplied a vintage car from his business and the newly weds moved straight into 4 Sandwick Terr, just down the road. Now there was only Violet and me at home.

















Our Gemma was born 28th April 1989 we were delighted we were proud grandparents. She was spoilt rotten and we used to love it.


I soon found myself being used as a Consultant by Burtree and contracted with private parks to put in their infrastructure. We were able to make profit putting in infrastructure and also make money on the sale of the caravans. Our own parks made ever increasing profits, from rents, and caravan sales. Brian Fairey was delighted with the progress we were making and everything in the garden seemed rosy, but all good things come to an end I learned that the Martin family intended to sell the business and Brian Fairey began looking at the possibility of raising the money to buy it out. Annual visits to caravan shows were part of business with Earls Court Being the highlight of the year and usually held in October.