Written By: Pam Sornson
For some people, camping is much more than just a day in the park. For the 14,621 members and guests of England’s Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC), June 4, 2012, was a day to wear paper crowns in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. The cardboard coronets were donned by campers and caravanners located at various campsites in all 13 of the CCC’s districts, and together they set a Guinness World Record.
Camping and Caravanning Club offers the great UK outdoors
Each year, the CCC hosts National Camping and Caravanning Week to raise interest in all things camping and to encourage more people to engage in camping adventures. Across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the club is a network of 110 campsites that offer consistently high-quality camping locations and amenities. For a small membership fee, members get reduced rates for campsite rentals, special deals for families and seniors, invitations to weekly and monthly group “meets,” connections to 150 campsites across Europe, discounted insurance rates and exclusive club benefits not available to non-members. Also, there are nine special-interest sections, including photographers, sailers, canoers, folk dancers and others that meet on a regular basis for members to enjoy their special hobby or craft with like-minded outdoorsy people.
CCC uses a royal pitch to invite the public
For the Jubilee celebration, CCC added the crown attempt to the National Camping Week agenda and pursued a couple of “firsts”-for example, their first dedicated social media campaign. Although they did have videos uploaded onto their website, the CCC had not previously tried to gain publicity through a dedicated social media push. Undaunted, they created the “Pitch Like a Royal” YouTube campaign, which featured a royally attired David and Victoria Beckham lookalike couple setting up their tent on a lovely countryside pitch, corgis at their side.
Their first attempt at a world record-the “crowning” of campers-required the coordination of more than 14,000 campers and caravanners from the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall at over 100 different campsites. The counting and recording of crowns had to follow exact guidelines and specifications in order for the achievement of the event to be declared an official Guinness World Record.
Both endeavours were successful
The world record itself was confirmed on June 6 by Guinness World Record representative Annabel Lawday. “This is a fantastic new world record with a very high number, which will be difficult to beat for years to come,” said Lawday. “We welcome everyone who successfully took part to the family of Guinness World Record holders!”
Truly a week-long event
Along with the “anointing” of the campers, the CCC also planted a commemorative tree on site at the event headquarters in Sandringham to honour the Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods project. Additionally, a number of Jubilee Big Lunches were held at some Club and Camping in the Forest sites across the UK on the following Sunday.
Before their success with this event, the CCC also hosted the World Tent Pitching Championships in London in November 2002. At that competition, the winning twosome were able to pitch four tents (two-, three-, five- and six-person tents) in only 19 minutes, 13 seconds. It is not known if these two young men also participated in the CCC’s “crowning” event, some ten years later.
The 2015 National Camping and Caravanning Week runs from May 25 through May 31.