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Billericay caravan club attracts 1,000 visitors to London 2012
EXCITED Olympic visitors have made Barleylands their temporary home as the Caravan Club hosts more than 300 caravans.
The Caravan Club, which has 160 sites in the UK, has a base at the Billericay attraction for the duration of the Games. More than 1,000 people with tickets for London 2012 events have pitched up and are sleeping at the site after travelling to the capital to watch the sporting achievements.
The site is only 2.7 miles from Billericay station, which has a direct line to Stratford, home of the Olympic Park, which is just a 25-minute ride away. Sporting fans from Sweden, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Great Britain and more have gathered at Barleylands.
The Caravan Club has put on activities for those on the site, including lessons from the Mayflower Archers. Two Olympic diehards have travelled down from Nottinghamshire to be closer to the action. Derek Stewart, 63, and wife Marion, 62, arrived last Friday for the opening of the Games.
They have got tickets for the finals of the 400m hurdles, steeplechase, and women’s football and were present at the individual time-trial on Tuesday when Bradley Wiggins scooped Team GB’s second gold medal.
Marion said: “The camaraderie is absolutely wonderful.
“We have Italians and Spaniards around us and were chatting with Germans on Tuesday at the cycling.
“We wanted to see the Olympics and we thought this was a great idea. It’s so accessible for the public and everyone is so friendly.” Although 300 fans are already set up on the site, the chairman of the Caravan Club, Grenville Chamberlain, said he thought there could be as many as 400 before the end of the Olympics.
Mr Chamberlain said: “It is great to see so many people on our site.
“You look around and there is not a single vehicle moving. The public transport has been used a lot by our visitors and it is rare to see people during the day, as many are at venues watching Olympic events.”
Buses stop outside the temporary site every 15 minutes to drop people off at Billericay train station and Mr Chamberlain believes the site’s location is perfect for those who are regular visitors to the Games.
He added: “We have people here who may only have tickets for one event, but we also have Games Makers who are more regular visitors to London. “The atmosphere has been marvellous.”
The site costs £18 per night for a basic pitch and £22 for a pitch with an electric hook-up. They will be available until Sunday, August 12.
Spectators for the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Biking event, on the final weekend of the Games, have been advised to park and ride from Barleylands Farm, due to parking restrictions.